The office age range is much like Amy Whinehouse’s hair: I’m not quite sure exactly how big it is, but I know it’s pretty large. The majority of my colleagues experienced events I read about in my history classes, making me the office toddler.
When I first started out, I felt like I was exploring a new playground. Every piece of office equipment was like a new toy. With every stapler, file folder and post-it pad I got closer and closer to feeling like one of ‘the big kids.’
The real challenge came when I not only had to ‘dress up’ like one of the adults, but I also had to give off the same level of knowledge and professionalism as my senior colleagues. My first big step was recording the outgoing message on my cubicle’s answering machine.
My goal was to make the message sound like I was a personable, yet completely competent, IT professional who just happened to be out of the office or away from her desk at the moment. This task was an especially difficult one because I am not an IT professional. I am a humanities student whose idea of high tech is limited to the newest version of Facebook.
I predicted that achieving the desired message quality would require several takes, so I waited until all the other employees went to a meeting and then I began recording.
My first try sounded like a hybrid between a used car salesman and a rubber duck. Rerecord.
My second attempt sounded like I had just sucked back a tank of helium. Rerecord.
I finally decided the safest route was to record my name and insert it into the template message. Though I am no expert on IT, I am definitely the foremost expert on my own name, so this task should have been easy. Instead, I ended up with an outgoing message that sounds like an infant gurgling out her first words and because of my lack of technical savvy, I am now unable to change it.