During the turbulence of relocating, I’m not sure how clear I was about leaving Birmingham to accept a temp admin job in Atlanta. I was kind of mumbling and brushing my fingers across my lips whenever that part of the story arrived. I knew what everyone would think: stupid. Reckless at best. As someone who was recently pegged by an acquaintance as “risk-adverse” (lordy, if they even knew the half of it), it would seem I was being as un-Josie as it was possible to be. But in my gut I knew Atlanta – and yes, the temp admin job at Unboundary – was the right move.

Thankfully this past Monday I was offered the job as a permanent employee. At first I was giddy over it being official, but then I sat at my desk and narrowly avoided tears of relief as I let out the breath I’d been holding for weeks. I officially had a job. The past three months I’d asked countless stupid questions, embarrassed myself an untold number of times, and made my share of messes; I decided that was all “before”– back when I was new and nervous. Now it was MY job and I had the feel of things. So the next day I curled my hair, put on my favorite dress, and arrived to work an hour early. I was going to completely rock the face off my to-do list on my first day as a true full-time employee.  Coffee – Check. Set-up for client meeting – check. Stock Coke machine… I glanced at the boxes of soda stacked nearly as high as my shoulder. No problem.

I grabbed some 12-packs and headed to the Coke machine. I only made it halfway across the room before one of the crates slipped from my arms and landed heavily on the floor. There was a fizzy “pop!” and sticky syrup started shooting from the pack at every angle like a giant, exploding soda bomb. Judging by the sheer volume of Coke bursting through the air, at least half of the cans were busted open. I swooped the box into my arms and whirled around in a panic. Running up to the front entrance, I tried to push through the doors before realizing I’d yet to unlock the office for the morning. Meanwhile, Coke was splattering across all of the glass in a steady, sticky brown mist.

For the record, soda is a window-cleaning nightmare.

I spun in a panicked circle, arms outstretched to keep the spewing cans at a distance (favorite dress, after all). My eyes nearly popped out of my head as I made a desperate sprint into the kitchen, foamy puddles plopping onto the floor behind me with every jolty lunge I made.  After dumping the cans into the trashcan, I walked back into the foyer to survey the damage.

Streams of soda trickled down doors and walls. Rivulets of Coca-Cola wound their way across the floor, and a caramel-colored lake had formed in the very center of the entryway, on possibly the sole patch of carpet in the entire building. I groaned but thanked heaven no one was around. I kicked off my sticky shoes, piled my hair on top of my head, and grabbed some paper towels. Forget stocking the Coke machine – I needed to clean the foyer from top to bottom before any coworkers (not to mention some big clients from Coca-Cola, ironically enough) arrived. No sooner had I lowered down to my hands and knees to sop up the puddles when I looked up to see the shoes, legs, briefcase… and yep, there it was, the face of the president of Unboundary standing at the door and absorbing all of the chaos.

“I had… a little accident,” I mumbled.
“I see that.”

I redoubled my efforts at cleaning before turning to see my boss also scrubbing the floor. I protested, but he waved it off. “I’m in the middle of house-training a puppy right now, I’m used to cleaning up messes,” he shrugged.

Although I was pretty sure I was suffering somewhere in that analogy, I was grateful he was regarded the situation without so much as a raised eyebrow.

“This isn’t really the way I planned on beginning my first say as a permanent employee,” I muttered.
“Well, lucky this didn’t happen on your last day of being a temp,” he said wryly.

Soon enough, all was clean and coworkers and clients arrived without being the wiser. I glanced at the clock; it was only just 9AM and despite all my primping and careful planning, I was still starting my day all ruffled. I started to pour myself a cup of coffee but realized I was too hot from all the dashing about to enjoy it. Somehow a Coke still sounded refreshing despite all the grief that morning. I approached the machine and pushed the button with a flourish. Nothing. I frowned and then pushed my backup choice for good measure. All sold out. Naturally.

Mocking me.

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