After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going. This is the fourth letter I wrote. Keep in mind that at the time, I didn’t intend on it being posted online when I originally penned this letter.
9/21/01 – Trying to Recuperate
Dear Dell Customers,
I have spent most of the day trying to recuperate from yesterday (Thursday). I went to work yesterday without a clue as to what I was getting into. Our Manager made our team go out to eat lunch at some fancy Mexican restaurant where we ate so much food that we could hardly move. Then he forced us to eat Dessert!!! We had to sit on hard wooden chairs for over two hours!!! Then he dragged us over to some Adult Arcade called “Dave & Busters”. It reminded me of a grown-up Chucky Cheese’s. Then he gave us these cards that allowed us to play arcade games for the rest of the afternoon. It was exhausting!!! I kept playing a Star Wars pinball machine until I couldn’t move my arms anymore, and my socks were all soaked from perspiration. All night I kept dreaming about these metal balls flying back and forth hitting bumpers and lighting lights, and sounding alarms and Luke Skywalker kept saying, “May the force be with you”, and Darth Vader kept saying, “I AM your father.” This place had pool tables and a couple of bars, and as I have found, in Texas, everyone drinks beer and shoots pool. And here I am without a pool cue (Walt?). Finally, late in the afternoon we left and played bumper cars all the way home on the freeway. — Yes. Managers can be cruel. He called it “Team-Building”.
Note to Reader: To learn more about Walt Oswalt and Pool Cues, see this post: A Window Into the Power Plant Man Bedroom.
I was just beginning to recuperate this afternoon when these guys from Baskin-Robbins set up a couple of tables right next to my cubicle and started dishing out ice cream to everyone that came by. They had a whole table full of toppings and a bunch of different flavors of Ice Cream. — Since they were right at the entrance to my cubicle, I had to keep eating more and more, so as not to insult them. Now I’m not sure how I’m going to make it out to my car to go home. I can’t even push my chair back away from my desk because the wheels are embedded in the carpet. Next to our cafeteria (which is run by Marriott), there is an exercise gym. I might try to hobble over there and work off some of this stuff before I attempt to go home. I feel out of place in there. It’s full of muscle-men types like Gene Day. I think I’ll pass.
I have seen other means of torture at our Manager’s disposal around our building. Just out back there is a volleyball pit where employees are herded in and compelled to compete against each other by knocking a ball back and forth which causes perfectly ordinary folks to throw themselves in the sand while others urge them on and tell them “Good Job”, and “Nice Try” and they clap their hands and hoot and holler and do high fives. My bootcamp friends (those that started with me), keep scheduling basketball games, and I ask them, “Are you the Manager? Who made you in charge of torture this week?” Then I sneak back to my cubicle where I can boot up my computers and relax in a swirl of program code and e-mail heaven.
It has been a rough week, but today is Friday and the weekend is here. Finally, a chance to lay back and take it easy. — Oh no, Kelly (my wife) just called….. We’re going out tonight!!!…………………….