Leaving school was both scary and exciting, especially since the business school had me working round the clock. I had just graduated, with many ambitions and ready to grab life with the throat and make every minute counting. My first day at work was not as the glamorous affair. I got late due to the awful traffic, and my supervisor wasn’t impressed. While being at work, you should always read the instructions as you will soon find out that if you don’t do in such a way this may be simply suicidal.
I sat up silently that morning and gazed at the frozen clock. The alarm did not sound, and I was already late. I jumped out of bed, took a quick shower and was out the door in ten minutes. I decided to take to the subway while going to work, and I made this in front of the closing door before an engine got alive, and we moved through the city. My mind was filled with different excuses as I tried to combine something convincing altogether. Twenty five minutes later, I was standing at my stop. I dashed through the throngs of people heading in all directions and some of them yelling profanities as I was pushing through. All I wanted was to get back to work because all my attempts making a good first impression had been thwarted.
I finally got to work being late for the whole hour only with one goal on my mind, “This is awfully wrong.” I got to the supervisor’s office. He was not impressed, and he literally barked at me. His voice was hoarse, and his shaven head glistened in the well-lit room, as he said that, “If you report later again, it will be the last thing you do for this company! Have you got this?” I nodded my head as the sweat was flowing down my forehead. I was so terrified that I hardly spoke all the time. I moved to my desk where I took a few minutes staring blankly at the window. The view was spectacular. The brick walls outside molded creeping along the cracks; a bird or two ones flew by, and their chirping drowned in the noise of the heavy traffic snaking the narrow streets filled with angry drivers yelling and waving the fists to each other. A slight tap on my shoulder took the life out of me as I turned around with my eyes popped. A lady stood beside me clutching a gray binder, dressed in a blue dress, with a broad smile on her face. “You must be Terry’s replacement. I’m Jenny. Welcome to Baldwin and Gary Company. Here are some instructions to make you better acquainted with what we do around here. Hope you enjoy working here.”
Then, just the same she suddenly left. I sat there, and was amazed with her beauty and elegance when the thought that I had some work to do suddenly crossed my mind. Blinded by the need to prove my worth and to prove myself as a force to reckon with, I ignored the instructions and dived directly into my first assignment.
My first client was a frail old man, nearly in his seventies, with a voice that grated against my eardrums as we were speaking over the phone. He wanted to invest into a safe stock and so he needed my advice. My first day was finally looking good, despite the awkward start. In the excitement, I made the biggest mistake I have ever done before; I transferred all the funds of an old man onto a wrong account! Well, this is how this happened. Having ignored the instructions that Jenny had given to me, there was no way I would have known that I had to check in with the supervisor for a brief discussion how to work with different accounts. I sat riveted on my seat with the cold sweat pouring down my chin. I stared at the monitor; this was the evidence of what I had done. The room was suddenly quiet as my workmates seemed to speak without any noise, laughed and waved at each other. Fear gripped my whole body as I contemplated what to do next. I was jolted back to reality as the phone rang. With the trembling hands I picked up the receiver. It was the same hoarse voice but this time there was the detectable anger in it. The old man realized that his money had been missing. All attempts to calm him brought nothing and quite instantly I slammed the receiver on the desk. The slam attracted the attention but I tried the best I could to hide my fear and shock. All I could think about was, “What have I done?” I could still hear the angry voice yelling through the receiver on my desk. I picked it up, apologized and promised to call back in few minutes. I looked around helplessly hoping that help would show itself. “I can fix this”, I heard myself saying. I logged back on and started pushing buttons.
My frenzied button pushing drew the attention of a colleague in the next cubicle. “Are you ok?”, he inquired. I stuttered, then, I said that I had been ok, and he left. I was not okay at all. I was now sweating profusely, and the minutes seemed to drag on forever. I fumbled with the computer hoping that I could find an easy way out to the problem. I almost jumped when the phone rang again. My heart was pounding as I yanked the receiver expecting the worst. It was my supervisor. He wanted to know why I hadn’t reported him on a brief orientation session. I muttered a half-baked excuse and told him that I was on my way. He hang up and at that very moment my heart skipped away. I stood up shaking and knocking my seat over as my pens and pieces of paper fell on the floor. I picked everything up and dashed to my supervisor’s office. I stood at his door with a stupid expression on my face. He invited me in and immediately started a monotonous monologue on the accounts; he told how to log in and out. I drifted away, and his voice was a distant echo. I was anxious and started to worry. The old man would call any minute now. “Do you have any questions?” I got awaken of my dreamy state, and I said that I had nothing to ask. He informed me that my first assignment was already on my desk, and that I should get to it. I almost ran back to my desk. The phone was ringing again. I was sure it was the old man. I nervously picked up the receiver, put it to my ear and shut my eyes. I sighed with the relief as my mother’s voice pierced the deep silence. “So, how is your first day at work?” she asked. I assured her that it had been the best day I had ever had; then, I insisted that I needed to get back to work. As soon as I finished with my mother the phone rang again. The old man was calling and he asked to speak to my supervisor, since I had failed to resolve the issue. I looked up and there he was looking menacingly at me. “So, how far along are you?” he asked. I just stared blankly at him, wishing I had been back in my bed with the alarm ringing. Wishing that this was all just a bad dream, I waited for a minute. “I messed up.” I mumbled. He walked towards me, and I handed him the receiver. The old man was still on yelling his lungs out. The supervisor talked to the old man, calmed him down, slammed the receiver back on its place, and then he looked directly at me. “Have you read the instructions?” he bellowed. I froze staring at my trembling hands. He leaned forward and noisily pushed the buttons on the keyboard. The entire office was frozen while the pairs of his eyes peered at me. Finally, the problem was fixed.
I sat at my desk being afraid to look up. I grabbed the instructions sheet and started reading through it again; I typed the bold letters how to correct the wrong account allocations. The instructions were clearly spelt out. I sighed, put all my things back on their places and read the instructions again and again, until the words flowed in my mind like a memorized song.