The Runaround

// June 25th, 2006 // writing

Each day has been a new Corporate Hoop, which has given me a chance to “bond” with co-workers. Some of the bonding is actual, some of it is the same bonding you might get while you experience a disaster together. Today was one of the “best” and when I say “best”, I mean it’s fun to rant about it later. And in actuality, compared to freelancing and begging for work, this is a piece of cake.

I was finally given an access card to allow me to enter in the building. Prior to this, a co-worker and myself “shared” one. By share, I mean that every time I left the office to get a snack, something to drink, lunch, etc., I had to bother them to borrow the card… or call them from my phone to tell them I was locked out. So today, nearly a week and a half later, I get an access card to allow me to get into the secure areas of the building.

When I went out for some coffee, I tried the card. It didn’t work! Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought clearly and I was now locked out…. and the bathrooms were on the other side of the door. There are bathrooms on the locked side, but they require a secret code.

When I finally buzzed back in the office, my supervisor told me to call an 800 number to have them activate the card. The logic of this had escaped me. Why had I been given a card if it hadn’t been made active? Anyone can give me an inactive card! Heck, I could have made one with some paper, some markers and some scissors (which I proudly had in my desk, behind the secure access door).

I called the access # and listened to the entire menu (because their menu options may have changed) and got a recording from Lisa. This is a different Lisa than my wife. But she wasn’t in and I was told in a very clear and detailed message that if I was an employee to leave my user id and if I was a contractor to leave four digits of my social security number. I fully intended to leave all my pertinent info on the message, even my passport number, if that would help. Except that her message mailbox was, ha-aha. FULL. Yep! It was FULL. Either Lisa is one popular person, she never clears her messages or (I’m betting) a lot of people have this problem. Maybe it’s all three. So I called back, listened to all the messages again (in all that time, the menu very well could have changed) again and this time I got her directly. When I read the # of the card, she said, “It has to be activated.” Shrewdly, I said, “Ah!” So she activated it and said that it would be 24 to 48 hours before it would be active.

In the meantime, I’ve been told by others in this group that a week and 1/2 is a FAST turnaround for a card. Because they still have their old “pre-merger” IDs. “What’s a long time?” I asked. 3-4 weeks is the usual time! I smartly told them that I hoped that my photo ID would still look like me when I got it!

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