Not Drinking? Part Two: Now with Drinking

More ramblings are due, I feel.

Last Saturday night I had a mixed experience with alcohol. I consumed none, the people around me consumed a lot, and things quickly became strange for me. I made a vow that night that next time I was out with people, drinking, I would join in, with moderation.

Now, at the time I made this vow I specified two drinks, but inevitably two drinks this evening turned into six, thanks to cheap bottles of beer. Now six bottles is not much I grant you, and I did not get drunk, but six bottles is more than I have ever drunk in one night before, and I could feel it coming on. It was pretty okay actually. It was a small group from work, in a quiet little pub on Waterloo Street. Hilariously enough I lasted right through to the end.

Then I went home had a two-hour nap, then woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, so now I’m writing this instead.

I did notice that the alcohol did bring me out of my shell just a bit, and that’s cool. I also think I found my comfortable limit. 25 years old and I’m just learning something like that, that most people take for granted… It also helped that I was in the company of the right people. If there had been many more people there I think it might have been unpleasant.

Things at work over the past couple of weeks have become seriously high tension. A number of people have been let go over the past week or so, people I had gotten to know quite well in a short time, and one of them in particular is a guy who has a lot in common with me. Saying a quick goodbye to him as he was escorted downstairs was a tough moment for me, which feels like a horrendously selfish thing to say because he’s the one losing his job through no fault of his own. Genuinely crushing though, to see all these people being walked out of the building a month before Christmas. That’s outsourcing for you.

It especially bothers me I have been unable to actually do the same job as all these people for coming up to two months now, an issue which always seems on the cusp of resolution but never quite reaches it. Instead, I floorwalk. I wander around and around the floor and help anyone who has an issue, anyone who isn’t sure what to do next.

It’s genuinely been quite enjoyable, because you learn a lot from seeing people working their cases, and the more you learn the better you can help others. That and the fact that without it, I would not have met so many interesting people. Some of my colleagues still can’t believe it when I tell them that floorwalking isn’t technically my job, because I’ve done it for so long now that I’m part of their day. But again, with the numbers dwindling, and the experience level of everyone on the floor rising, There are fewer and fewer people who need help. I also don’t contribute directly to targets even though I am fully accredited by the client. Yet still there I am, wandering around, like a ghost, the restless spirit of a claims handler with only the vestigial memory of a login tying me to this physical plane. What is my value over and above X number of additional claims handlers who slipped through the net? Good people who were doing the job I should be doing?

Yes, I can see why stuff like this drives people to drink.

Fortunately, it’s not all horrible though. Like everything in life, there’s always some things worth clinging to.

A couple of weeks ago I had applied for one of several team leader roles along with others from the backshift, only to find out that none of us were picked, and the roles went to dayshifters instead, including our own team leader. Now these new team leaders were actually were genuinely great people to work with for the past couple weeks, and thankfully the changeover went pretty smoothly. Now though, through some strange circumstances those dayshifters are moving on again and those team leader roles have actually passed on to a couple of my colleagues, which is pretty good news.

So next week our team will have its fourth team leader since October, a lovely girl from New Zealand I have gotten to know a little from floorwalking. So I guess I’ll do what I can to help her out while she finds her feet. She’ll do fine though, far better than I ever would have.

It’s kind of staggering to me, all the friends I have made wandering around the floor every night. I’m a shy person, maybe a bit of a strange person. It’s usually hard for me to make new friends, but these guys have made it remarkably easy, by being for the most part the friendliest bunch of people you could ever hope to work with. Yes, there’s some ugly office politics going on in the background sometimes in certain isolated pockets around the floor, but I try to keep my nose out of it. There’s a lot of strong characters in the office, and I’ve accidentally found myself in the fortunate position to get to know quite a lot of them – part of the reason the recent suspensions feel so horrible. But I feel like a better person for having met these people.

So even though the situation at work can be tough sometimes, it’s not all bad. And maybe it sounds crazy, but I still like going in to work every day. I’ve also been able to save a decent amount of money so far towards what was before just a Canada plan, but is now more of an open promise myself to get out into the world next year and see where it takes me.

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