Going back to the office has been an interesting experience. My first day back was almost exactly two years and six months after the Friday that my boss told everyone “Take your computers home just in case…” Then on Saturday we got text messages telling us we’d be working from home until further notice. Well, further notice couldn’t be put off any longer. Parking turned out to be easier than I thought: I submitted our car’s make, model, and license plate and was told to scan my employee ID—the same one I used to use when boarding the bus—when I entered the parking garage. When I got to my desk it was piled up with some old mail and a lot of swag—t-shirts, masks, a few calendars that are now more than a year out of date, a coffee cup. All that reminded me of one of my first jobs when I worked in customer service for several trucking companies. The truckers carried a kind of credit card they could use to buy whatever they needed on the road and pick up their paychecks and if anything wrong they called, well, me, or one of the twenty or so other people in the little room where we sat at computers. Most of the time it was a minor thing that could be fixed easily, but once in a while a truck driver would get really, really, really angry. Angry enough that if they knew where to find us we might have needed to call security. Once we had to evacuate the building because of a bomb threat and, while there were a lot of companies that shared the building with us, I still wonder if we were the target. There were even some trucking companies all of us dreaded getting calls from because their drivers got lousy treatment and they took it out on us.
Sometimes the managers thought it would boost our spirits to get company gear: t-shirts, coffee cups, pens. One day a manager came around with bumper stickers with the company name and said, “Here, put these on your car!”
We all looked at him and finally someone said, “And what happens when a pissed off truck driver sees one of those on our bumper?”
They stuck to t-shirts and coffee cups after that.