There are days I make coffee for people. There are days I create a make-or-break presentation. There are days I add layer upon layer to a map to find a radius of land. There are days I shop for copy paper and diet soda. There are days I am crawling around on the floor troubleshooting IT equipment, praying that I don’t snag my tights or flash my co-workers. There are days I am composing letters of persuasion or support, or new employee bios.
There are days I surf the net.
Yesterday I met with the new property managers for the building and covered the necessities of burned-out light bulbs, suite and building amenities, and executed documents. I have a hard time keeping a straight face about executed documents. I prefer to say signed. Executed brings to mind images of rolling heads and zapping bodies. None too pleasant, yet giggle inducing in an extremely unprofessional way. I’m not one with a high acumen for professional behavior, but I know what acumen means. I’m the one who holds the award for most consecutive f-bombs in a single fit.
My mother must be proud.
I left the meeting, brushed blueberry muffin crumbs off my checkered dress, slammed the remainders of my coffee, and grabbed my camera and keys and left for an hour and a half road trip. First stop – inventory contents of a storage unit, or crawl around squirrel-like in the dust, dirt, and cobweb-covered contents of the garage while taking pictures and notes and not dying. Second stop – lunch with one of our field guys.
I returned to the office, shot off some emails, downloaded the images, and printed off a stack of executed documents (off with their heads!) and left to drop off papers to start the final steps of a project I have been running for three months.
Today I will take one of our fleet cars to the dealership for service, taking advantage to whore my back out to the heated seats, send next week’s office schedule to the team leaders in the home office, remind one of my bosses to send me his expenses, and pull some research points from a database I built and maintain.
None of it is glamorous.
No matter what I am doing at any given moment on any given day, I am available to give someone peace of mind. Be it to pick up or drop off something that cannot wait for an overnight delivery, but can wait the four hours it will take to make the drive, or set up the conference room for a particular kind of meeting while I place the order for coffee and pastries for ten. I empty the dishwasher and refill the copy paper. I coordinate office events from birthday lunches to community service days. I check the mail and sign for packages. I shop for napkins, hand sanitizer, and sugar-free vanilla creamer.
I am there to do it so everyone else can function in their work. I am behind the scenes. I am the answer to “how are we going to get that done there?”. I am using two pieces of punctuation because I don’t know what’s right.
I do so much, yet I don’t do anything at all. I’m not negotiating for the future. I’m not managing any portfolios. I’m not doing a whole lot in service to the business of my company. I am doing a whole lot in service to those who are the business of my company. It’s clearly a different role than the rest of the office. After fifteen months, I’ve grown to enjoy my position on the outside. It suits me to sit on the edge of the action, but like a sheepdog moving the crowd of business around the pasture so it thrives.
We need chargers for the dinner tomorrow night…call Melanie.
We need a video conference set up for three locations…call Melanie.
We need the new phones installed in the Atlanta office…call Melanie.
Why the hell isn’t this printer printing?…Melanie!
We need pictures…call Melanie.
When the airprinter doesn’t work, it falls on me. When it does work, no one notices. But that’s not to say my efforts are not acknowledged. They are. When I hear how nice it is to come in to the Atlanta office and have it work and function as it should, like an extension of the home office in Missouri, I know my efforts were successful. That and the kick-ass Christmas party.