I guess you’re the new Office Assistant. Welcome to the team! Okay, that’s a weird thing to say since I’m not on the team anymore, and I’m sure everyone else is making you feel very welcome– they’re a great bunch! The dedication and skill of the people you’ll be working with might knock your socks off. Gary and Keith are (almost) endlessly patient and will be very kind about explaining things if you get confused. There’s a lot to learn, so don’t feel bad if you need to ask a lot of questions! I still had to ask questions three years in! It’s fine! It’s expected.
I think you’ll find that the job is very challenging but also very rewarding. Getting to help people in the ways that you’ll get to help people will probably be as great for you as it was for me. Everyone will be very supportive while you’re learning, and soon I’m sure you’ll fit in wonderfully.
You’ll get to know our clients’ quirks over time. Some of them you’ll groan when you see their names on caller ID, but others you’ll be excited to talk to. One of my favorite things is getting to shop for people– sometimes you’ll bear back how much Joe liked his winter coat or Jane liked the poster you got for her. That feels great. Other times, you’ll be drafting correspondence from templates, making calls to Comcast, or filing. Those things are less fun, but if you keep in mind that it’s all in service to the clients, it makes it easier.
Just never get injured. Never get sick.
I don’t mean “don’t sprain your ankle.” Or “don’t catch a cold.” I mean don’t ever get anything chronic. Don’t ever get hurt hurt. Because if you get hurt you’ll be told that you shouldn’t talk to the team about it because it makes your coworkers uncomfortable. You’ll be told that it’s not a good excuse for fucking up. You’ll be reminded about how hard it’s been on the team that you got your life messed up by something out of your control. Management will make it very clear to you what a problem you are now. And they will push you out like they pushed me out.
They’ll act like every ADA accommodation is a favor they’re personally doing for you. They’ll tell you how hard it is on the team when you need to take time off because you can’t walk straight or feel like someone’s hammering a nail into your forehead. They’ll celebrate your birthday and your work anniversary but you’ll never get a “get well” card. You won’t be able to mention your illness in your yearly review, because “that’s not what they’re for.” If you make a mistake, they will condescend. If you make a real fuck-up, they’ll punish you as much as they can without the union making them stop. You’ll be told over and over that what happened to you, the limitations you have now, don’t matter, aren’t a factor, why can’t you perform like you did before the horrible thing happened to you and liquefied parts of your brain.
They will treat you with pity and call it compassion.
They will make it hell for you to stay.
So enjoy your time here and never, never get hurt or sick.