My new Addiction
Not having a television was supposed to help me escape from watching too much TV.
Unfortunately for my self-control (and promises to read some classic books and get a little bit of culture while I'm living here), there are places on the internet that have lured me with their promises of "Updated!" seasons of Friends, Seinfeld, That 70's Show, Desperate Housewives, The Drew Carey Show, ...and now I'm sounding like a total TV addict.
In my defense, I started watching all of these old shows while Jeremy was in Canada waiting for his visa (as a totally off-topic comment - there have been major updates to this situation that I cannot disclose at this time. More on that another day). The flat was just too quiet when I would get home from work, so the sounds of my favourite television shows were the perfect way to make things feel less lonely.
Having worked my way through several seasons of 90's sitcoms, I decided to try watching both the American and British versions of The Office. After a taste-test of both pilots and first episodes, I decided that the US version was more to my liking and have managed to marathon my way through all three seasons in just over a week.
Also in my defense, these episodes are only 20 minutes long and the show is damn good so I don't think there's anything wrong with watching 9 episodes in a row.
I'm hooked on the characters and storylines of this show just like I was with Friends when it first came out. The writing is fantastic, the show is perfectly cast, and if I wasn't a sensible 27-year-old, I'd totally have a crush on Jim, the loveable smartass character who plays pranks on his obnoxious colleague that remind me of when I worked in an office in London, Ontario.
Oh hell, maybe I do have a little crush.
Don't tell Jeremy though. *
Once again in my defense, Jim's character is a lot like Jeremy in many ways. So instead of being embarrased at having a crush on a TV character, I can just tell myself that it's really just an extension of my crush on my boyfriend.
Anyway, I had to write about this because the storylines reminded me so much of what my life was like when I first moved away from home. So many things that have been written into the plot of this show that actually happen in offices all over: Office romances, weird bosses, jealousy and competition between co-workers, gossip, lame office parties, nights when everybody gets drunk and somebody does something stupid that everybody talks about until the next night out, and of course, the hilarious ways that some people mess with other people's heads.
There is always The Kiss-Ass - an employee who will be really nice to your face, but has the knife he or she will use to stab you in the back sharpened and kept in a little corner of their desk. Just in case they need to get it quickly. These people are usually the ones who get pranked and often don't even know it.
The office I worked in was part of a "telephone support company for major computer and tech device manufacturers around the world".
A Call Center.
With over 1,000 employees, most of them just out of high school or trying to get relevant work experiences to put on their resumes (which they send out to other companies during breaks), things get really interesting.
Titles like "Temporary Team Manager" and "Associate Trainer" allow the company to give people more work and responsibility without paying them more. Yet everybody fights over these positions because they really believe it gives them more Power. In reality, they have no more authority with these new jobs, but they do get more stress and have to work longer hours. Without more pay.
There are three types of people who work at the Call Center:
1. The "I'm only here until I find something better" people: they come in for a year or less, and spend all of their time trying to convince fellow employees that they "won't be here for long". And they usually aren't.
2. The Lifers: this group is broken down into two smaller groups. The first group are the ones who fight to get the "assistant to the..." and the "associate ..." jobs, while the second group are content to waste time in a dead-end job without making waves or really working hard at all. The people in the second group are much happier than those in the first, which is funny because the first group truly think that they are the luckier ones.
3. The People in Charge: very few people fit into this group - although many employees mistakenly think they're a part of the club. These people can spy on emails and web traffic, decide friday will be Funny Hat Day, and basically hide in their offices all day long so nobody sees them.
My experiences at the call center have become funnier as time goes by. I can laugh at the dumb things we used to stress over, and remember the strange office relationships that pretty much dissolved when I left the company to go to Teacher's College.
I never thought I'd want to relive those times again - but here I am, watching multiple episodes of The Office and remembering the good times that we all used to have back then with a smile. And a touch of wistfulness for things that only seemed to exist within those four walls.
* I realize that Jeremy's mom and other family members read this blog and hope that they know I'm not going to run away with a guy who works for a paper supply company in Scranton, PA. Even if he is cute and funny. Oh right. And a TV character.