I was assigned to a large
office that was the headquarters of a construction company. The office
contained the senior management of the company, as well as a group of project
managers and associated support staff. My first assignment was relief for their
regular receptionist. Their phone system was simple and their call and visitor
traffic was light, so I mastered things quickly. I also handled their mailroom
Their reception area included a large plasma television, which they kept on some CNN subchannel. I quickly grew to hate the advertising. The office was located at the top of a building noted for it’s design, but one of the features I found most surprising was their lunchroom. It was a bar. Designed to look like an Irish pub, it came complete with beer taps, the taps were not active, but the bar’s refrigerator did have a stock of beer, as well as soft drinks and chips available for purchase.
A week or so later, I returned to the same office for a different assignment. The office was preparing for a party, and they needed assistance with a variety of chores. I reported to someone who appeared in an executive administrative role, who directed me to make a series of nametags for the guests. It was going to be a St. Patrick’s Day party, and they wished to Irishfy the names, which I was able to do so using mail merge. I also prepared a bunch of Guinness glasses.
I had several conversations with the woman who directed me, and at one point explained to her that my car contained fresh wood from when my son split boards in a Tae Kwon Do tournament. She was amused at my appreciation of the fresh wood smell. She invited me to the party, and instructed me to make a nametag for myself. I felt kind of awkward about that and didn’t make one.
St. Patrick’s Day found me temping in a nearby office. I was apprehensive, but decided at the last moment to go ahead and stop by. After all, they had Guinness. When I came in, the office was fully decked out, mostly by a professional catering company. I found that a nametag had been made for me, which made me feel more welcome. I also was given one of the decorative glasses I had so carefully prepared.
The lunchroom was in full bar mode, with the tap flowing, and a large crowd. I ate corned beef sandwiches and had both Guinness and Harp. I knew next to nobody, but still felt comfortable. Then came the floor show, which was a 20 minute mini play. After that came the singing contest.
I had heard about the singing contest while working, and had even jokingly implied that I could sing a bit, and maybe even warbled “Danny Boy” once. The lady who had directed me signed me up, and I was the first participant. Much to my horror, I was expected to sing the entire song through a karaoke setup. The words were on a musical score, which was good because I had no idea the song was so long. Good thing I read music.
Just before I left, I was presented a gift certificate for $100 at an Irish pub in a nearby town. Several weeks later I took my wife and squandered it on a nice dinner and some excellent single malt Irish whisky.