By Vin Sparks
I am walking into a large office building that has just been constructed. It is a beautiful structure that seems to occupy an entire city block. The landscaping has yet to be completed as the plot on which the building is standing has mounds of hardened dirt on it along with clumps of grass, gravel and a few large rocks that would be a stretch to call boulders but are big enough to be noticed.
Entering through the lobby, I see glass enclosed workspaces of varying sizes just off a bigger open office space which seems to be shared with the lobby. The area is busy with people at desks, supervisors greeting new employees and applicants sitting on couches in the waiting area filling out applications on clipboards. Most of those that are arriving are making there way down a large passageway to report to work areas in the heart of the building which cannot be seen from the lobby area.
It is my first day at work.
I am greeted by a man that takes me to one of the second-floor enclosed workspaces overlooking the lobby where he shows me my assigned desk. It shares the space with several other desks situated in each of the corner areas and a few in the center of the office.
It appears to be a new desk stocked neatly with pens, pencils, note pads, paperclips, etc. There is a laptop on the desk along with a ruler. The individual in the desk nearest mine engages me in friendly conversation but, before it can get far, the man who brought me up instructs me to find my way to another workspace in which I am to pick something up, get some information or deliver something. I am not clear what it is I am supposed to be doing.
I find myself back in the original workspace where my desk is gone, replaced by a folding chair and a small table that looks more like a cross between a butcher block and a hitching post. At this point I assert myself with information that I and everyone else in the room seems to already know – that I have been hired for my skills in the work I am to do. These skills, it seems, have been developed at another division in the company, a division that is held in high regard at this new location. “I cannot work at this desk! I want the desk that was here put back.”
Suddenly, I am the only person in the workspace. I am standing in the center of the room at my desk which is piled high with files, paperwork, and an open junk drawer filled with stuff that I recognize as belonging to John Wong (the president of a small distribution company that I worked for 35 years ago). I begin to protest the condition of my desk, indicating that I had not left it in this state.
A woman entering the lobby downstairs seems to recognize me. She has a big smile on her face and waves at me. She seems to be on neither the first floor nor the second as we say hello to each other and as she greets me with a hug. She is familiar to me and I know we have worked together in the past, but I cannot place exactly where. As we break our embrace, I notice that the lobby waiting area is filled with people that are familiar to me. I know that I have worked with them in the past, but I do not know where. They are, however, happy to see me and I sense that, somehow, they will be strengthening my position here at work.
I find myself outside, apparently on another errand for the boss. I am walking along the side of the building over the unimproved terrain and come upon a steep slope. I begin to make my way down, but the slope becomes muddy and I am slipping. I maintain my balance, however, as I slide through the mud down the slope on my feet noticing that I am ruining a new pair of shoes. At the bottom of the slope, I continue to slide through an area that is filled with muck and mire until I am standing ankle-deep in it. The area outside of the mire is busy with people and a teenage boy with a garden hose is spraying down the pavement.
I cry out, “Hey! Will you spray me off?” The teenager hands me the garden hose and I begin to spray off my boots covered in muck from being knee deep in the sludge. As I continue spraying my fishing waders from the waist down, a man in a rubber suit from head to toe approaches me so I spray him with water. It seemed like the thing to do, but he got angry and I felt like a street fight was going to break out.
I am alone in the glass-enclosed workspace again and a man standing next to me hands me several papers tri-folded with a paperclip and says, “I am supposing this goes to you.” I ask what it is, and he replies that it is a payment. Upon my asking how much the payment is he indicates that it is for $8,000. This seems to me to be a large sum, so I unfold the papers to find a cashier’s check in the amount of $8,447.15. I looked up at him and mentioned something about the interest and he agreed.
In a classroom, I am training a group of employees seated around a U-shaped arrangement of tables and whiteboards on the walls. I am really into it and the class seems to be too. I am about to make a profound statement. “I want you to consider…” is as far as I get before the door opens and someone comes in to take a seat. Once again, I begin, “I want you to consider…” and again it is as far as I get before someone in the class shouts a greeting across the room to the late arrival. Again, I start, “I want you to consider…”
BEEP – BEEP – BEEP – BEEP – BEEP
My alarm goes off and I sit up in bed and reach for my cell phone with a thick fog in my head to turn off the alarm. I groan deep and long and think to myself, “I slept hard”
Could it be just a coincidence that we spoke about dreams of being at work just last night?