When We Are A Newcomer..

 

I had dinner with my close friend last night. He insisted to meet us (me and husband) because he had a story to tell, he said. Then off we go to our favorite places. The small place, cozy and good ambience, plus delicious food, of course.

 

We missed him. We haven’t seen him for a month. When we were arrived, he was already there, sipping his favorite drinks, iced lychee tea. We were surprised. He really looked skinny. Like he dropped his weight about 5 kilos. He had dark under eyes. Hey, what happened to him?

 

We didn’t have to wait long to hear his story. Once we put our butt on the chair, his story was spilled out of his mouth. We even hadn’t picked our drinks yet.

 

Two weeks before, he was a new employee in a big (I mean “biggest”) law-firm in town. Biggest law-firm, meaning they had 400 lawyers, two storeys of the whole penthouse floor, associates with American law-firm. The average salary is 8000USD per month, (wow…why I didn’t want to become Lawyer instead of Writer?? J).  It had large cafeteria with buffet menu that can accommodate the workers. They also had their own Fitness room, and they had Yoga, Karate, Futsal, bowling course and so on, (that I couldn’t even remember all) outside of the office and every worker had to choose minimal 1 activity. The man employees were wearing suit, or long sleeve and necktie, the woman were wearing the famous red-sole heels for a standard. Usually unmarried or divorcee. Probably their lack of time for the relationship, or probably the spouse couldn’t face the higher income that his/her lover got.

 

And there it was, my friend is in a stress condition. His age is in the late 30. He was a successful lawyer in the previous office, but he thought he had to get out from his comfort zone, and then he travelled for a month to Europe. Coming back, he applied and this company accepted him as an associate. He’s one of the smart people that I know, so no wonder this company recruited him. He’s one of my friend that has zillion friends. This is why he sank into stress condition. Starting something new, like making acquaintances in new atmosphere was easier when you are young. In middle age term, getting know peoples need some of the movement, especially when some of them are younger than us or smarter. My friend said, when he arrived in the morning, got out from the elevator and walked toward long, cold hallway, he met some colleagues, and he tried to be nice by saying “hi, good morning” not to forget to smile, and what did he get? Just a nodded head, absolutely without grinning.  

 

He didn’t have a chance to making a phone calls, texting his friends. His cellular phone stayed in his bag. He had lunch alone in the cafeteria, so he preferred to take out the meal to his own workroom (everybody has their own workroom, not the cubicle office type). Remind me of the new high school student. Of course, this will not happen forever. He need adaptations, but maybe took longer. Despite of his middle-age condition, this office is really making humans into robots. Like living in a boot camp. 

 

The office hour is start at 9 am, and they never close. Sounds like 24 hours convenience store. That’s why he sometimes texted me in 2 am, the activity to make him stay awake beside his never ending work. On last Friday, he worked until 4 am, yes he got a chance to have dinner outside, when he finished, he realized that he was locked in the office. There was no one who stayed. He was panic. He called the office boy (in that time!!, of course, he did not pick up the phone) who was already home which 40min distance from office. He sent urgent email to his boss, who was in Hongkong, because he did not know any other colleagues. I could not imagine how panic he was in the light-off office, until he found the “press” knob beside the main entrance door.

 

He went to his doctor today after found himself didn’t get erection in the morning. He has to suffer the heavy stress and sleep deprivation. Listen to his story last night, made me think become a writer is definitely my option rather than being an office’s slave. Hope so.

 

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