Each morning at work Heather has to come down and get me from Reception, because I haven’t got my own security pass. It takes ages. First I queue at the merry-go-round desk, and get someone to phone up to Room 808. The queue can quite often take five minutes, and then it takes Heather at least 20 minutes to make her way down. I wouldn’t mind, but they’ve taken all the sofas out of Reception, so there’s nowhere to sit. I stand and read all the signs, which are mainly to do with efficiency.
ARE YOU AN AGILE WORKER?
DID YOU KNOW NEW PRACTICES ARE EVOLVING TO SUPPORT TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE AND REDUCTIONS IN OVERHEADS?
It was Heather, in her blue uniform, looking fierce despite the pink glittery bobbles on the ends of her plaits.
On my first day Scarlett had said Heather would be sorting me out a security pass, so, on this, Day 4, as I followed her, panting, through the white plywood maze, I asked her how my pass was coming along. She shook her head, and her plaits swung, and one of the bobbles caught me in the eye.
“You need a letter.”
“Who from?” My eye hurt a lot. I cupped my hand over it.
“HR.” Heather glanced back over her shoulder. “No need to cry, Tasmin!”
“I’m not crying.”
“You look like you’re crying!” She’d stopped, and was staring at me.
“Anyway. How do I get this letter?”
“You don’t. It goes to Security.”
“But does HR know to send one?”
Heather shrugged and started walking again. “Who knows?”
“Shall I go and see them about it, maybe?”
Heather snorted. “You could do that. If you fancy a trip to Swansea you could. And you can afford the train fare.”
“HR is in Swansea?”
“Yes. They’ve been outsourced.”
“What about Security. Maybe I should go and see them?”
Heather snorted. “You could do that. If you fancy a trip to Carlisle you could….”
“You’re not telling me Security has been outsourced!”
We had arrived at Room 808. Heather flung open the door.
There is a hot-desking policy throughout the building. In Room 808 it means that Scarlett always sits by the window, and the Two Wills swap between the plywood nooks. I sit opposite Heather in the middle of the room. There are two other members of the team, one of whom is my line manager, who work at home, because there aren’t any other desks. I’m meant to be having a phone induction with my line manager, but we haven’t managed it yet. There’s a phone on my desk, with a sign Sellotaped to it, saying IF THIS PHONE IS RINGING PLEASE ANSWER IMMEDIATELY. It hasn’t rung yet. I can’t phone out on it, until I get my password from Outsourced Telephony Solutions. My line manager is a woman called Dr Rebecca Henderson. She has sent me a couple of emails, with links to documents on Knowledge Share, which will help me understand my role. I opened the most recent of her emails and tried clicking one of the links again.
BREACH. YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO TAKE THIS ACTION.
“I still can’t get on Knowledge Share,” I said.
“You’re joking. That’s ridiculous.” Scarlett’s voluptuous body was encased in an emerald green silk sheath. She laid down her diamante specs and scratched an armpit vigorously. “Heather, can’t you wave your magic wand, darling, and get Tasmin her KS access?”
Heather has a soft spot for Scarlett. “Well,” she said gruffly. “I’ll see what I can do.”