On Black Friday of 2007, I awoke to a text message from a coworker that contained a photo of our office building. It wasn’t much of a picture (cell phone cameras weren’t great then), but I could make out smoke damage and broken glass. In the early hours of that morning, a man driving a truck lost control, swerved off the road, and crashed through our building. This crash caused a fire, which in turn triggered the sprinkler system. Firefighters responded to alarms and broke down the doors to get at the fire.
The next day, I was allowed briefly into the remains of the building to collect what I could salvage. There wasn’t much that hasn’t suffered heavy smoke and water damage, but I saved a few things.
When you work in a call center, life has to go on. For my coworkers and me, that meant a week of riding charter buses over three hours each way from our office in Victorville to another center in Oxnard, followed by a week of living in hotels in Oxnard Monday through Friday. By week three, a makeshift call center comprised of portable buildings had been constructed in our Victorville parking lot, and we worked there until May of 2008 when our main office was finally repaired.
I share this story because today, building destruction of sorts occurred at the office in Everett where I work. A water main broke early this morning and flooded the basement, taking out phone and Internet service. Water to the building was shut off to prevent more damage, but no running water equates to no bathrooms. By 11am, we were sent home. Any who wanted to be paid for the rest of the day had to use vacation time.
Phone and Internet service has been restored, so work resumes tomorrow. We will be provided with bottled water and portable bathrooms until the water is back on. It’s inconvenient, sure, but it’s certainly nothing like riding a bus for three hours, working an eight hour shift, and then riding a bus for three hours to get home. We will make do. Sometimes things just happen.
I share this story tonight in hopes that any coworkers reading it will keep in mind that this is a temporary inconvenience and not the end of the world. Yeah, I’m as grossed out by port o potties as the next girl, but I’ve definitely faced worse. At least no one is forcing us to spend six hours a day commuting to another location. It isn’t ideal, but such is life. I hope that my saying this might give people a different perspective on things. One day of having bathrooms in the parking lot is better than six months of having our entire office in the parking lot. We will make it through and all will be, if not glorious, at least back to normal.