The joys of bureaucracy and the simple pleasures of the workplace..

Apologies people, but it’s rant time. And this is a good one.

Back in the (northern) summer of 2006, the air chillers in our section of the building broke down. We had about 2-3 weeks of 34deg+ in the offices before they fixed a ‘temporary’ fan unit on the ground outside my first floor office. Now this thing is huge, about 9foot square, and bloody noisy and we were originally told that it would be in place for about 3 months until the chillers got fixed. It’s now mid-February, it’s still there, and my colleagues and I have to take DAILY doses of high strength paracetamol just to cope with the noise.

It turns itself off an on as required, but it’s usually going for 15 of every 20minutes. And it’s only in that lovely and quiet 5 minutes that you realise just how loud it is. It’s also now developed a lovely nasal rhythmic hum that seems to only be heard when you’re sitting at my desk – apparently something to do with the room shape & position of the glass etc. This hum has just made a truly horrible situation so much worse. I’m starting to dread coming to work. I inevitably end up going home tense, frustrated and on so much edge I could cut myself. No wonder I haven’t been able to stop smoking yet.

You feel it starting in the back of your neck. Then your shoulders get tight, soon followed by a pounding in your temples. My sinuses start to ache, and all of a sudden my whole upper body feels like someone’s got it in a vice.. And this has been going on for 5 months. Every day.

And the absolute best thing? The noise is only so goddamn loud in my office and boss’s office. Strangely enough those people downstairs from us, with the chiller unit directly outside their windows have NO NOISE WHATSOEVER. The building is in a U-shape, and the people on the other side hear it as a wee background hum only. It’s so loud it affects the conversation in our office. Meanwhile we haven’t been able to open our windows for fresh air since August 2006 because to do so increases the noise by a factor of 10. And since only 3 people are adversely affected by the noise levels,and the fact that it’s apparently going to cost a LOT, the bureaucracy are in no great hurry to fix it.

So it’s mid-February, this bloody chiller unit is still there, and I find out yesterday that the 12 week job of replacing the rooftop chiller units will not begin until March. It’s such a big job it has to go to tender… There were tears. I’m not kidding. After 5 months I’m really starting to have trouble dealing with this.

So I’m calling the building maintenance people, the Health & Safety people to come into my office, sit in my chair and listen to that godawful hum. Then ask them how long they expect me to be able to deal with it. The maintenance people tell me there’s nothing they can do. And Health & Safety? This is classic. They give me some foam earplugs and advise I listen to my walkman all day. I’m a fucking SECRETARY!! I HAVE to talk to people all day, and be able to listen to what they’re saying, so the earplugs are in and out every 5 minutes. *sigh*

H&S guy did, however, take a look outside the unit, and he thinks that the hum is being caused by the big air conduits that are attached to the building frame directly outside my window, and he tells me he’s going to find out if they can be moved. But he can’t do a thing about the noise levels.

I went to IT to see if they had any spare laptops around that I could use. This place has wifi, I could go and sit in the library to do my work. They don’t.

Are there any spare offices that we could move to until this is fixed? No.

I’ve been in my office for 20 mins now, and I can already feel it starting. Work is a pleasure and utter joy. I should feel priviledged to be working in a place where such significant work is done.



About Miss J

Gen-x Australian female - out of my mind and my country. Cast adrift, as it were :) Enjoys: cat-cuddling, books, movies, music, theatre, travel, rpgs, cricket, F1 racing and all things to do with the sea..
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