Posts Tagged ‘Co-Op’

She Came, She Took the Lift, She Left.

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Today was the big day – The Queen and Prince Philip came to visit me at work. I have never thought myself to be even slightly interested in the Queen or any of the royal family and I didn’t think the Queen’s decision to pop in to my office would really be a big deal for me. However as her arrival became more imminent, I felt my excitement levels rising, similar to when I stalked Paul Hollywood at the Lowry Outlet shopping centre. I even woke up 15 minutes earlier than normal in order to go for a run, have a shower, make my lunch, eat breakfast, and get to work with time to spare, just in case she decided to take an earlier train from London.

Over the past week, I had received mass-staff emails explaining the rules for the day (Only blue lanyards were allowed. No coats to be hung on the backs of chairs.) and finally the email explaining what to do if you make eye contact with the Queen arrived. The key points were to curtsy if you’re girl, bow if you’re a boy; to address the Queen as Your Majesty first, followed by Ma’am (as in ham, not as in harm); and that it is socially inappropriate to touch the Queen. It didn’t say we couldn’t touch Phil though.

She wasn’t early. In fact, she was late but that’s ok when you’re the supreme ruler of an extensive area of land. For approximately an hour before her car pulled up outside The Co-Operative’s Noma building, staff members secured their positions along the balconies looking down into the  open foyer area. My desk is conveniently located next to one of these balconies so I just waited for the “The Queen is Here” music to start before sticking my head over the edge for a gander.

Prime viewing positions.

Prime viewing positions.

And there she was, a tiny speck of peacock blue in the expansive Co-Op building. She waddled in, crossed the foyer and went straight into one of the building’s temperamental lifts. Which floor would she go to? Is she actually coming to the seventh floor to visit the IT Crowd? Will we really get to meet her? No, of course not. She got off at the fourth floor to a round of applause. I presume we were clapping because the lifts had actually worked as opposed to when we try to take them in the morning and the doors get stuck. From the fourth floor balcony, the Queen waved to her Co-Op fans, and I, standing on the opposite side of the building, felt the natural instinct to wave back. So the Queen and I have exchanged waves. She may not realise this fact but it will remain as one of my highlights of 2013.

That blue thing is the Queen.

That blue thing is the Queen.

The Queen’s tour involved walking around one third of the fourth floor, then back into the lifts to visit one third of the eighth floor. Then, due to a lack of time, she was whizzed back down to the ground where she revealed a plaque and signed a book, officially opening the building. Before we knew it she was off again, scooting outside and on to her next royal engagement.

Her Majesty is a little lady.

Her Majesty is a little lady.

And that was it. We all returned to our desks and life went back to normal.

While watching the Queen raise a small blind covering a bronze plaque attached to a pin-up-board, I realised how horrible it must be to be her. Required to attend events that you don’t care about and open buildings that have broken lifts. I’m glad I’m not the Queen, or any member of the Royal Family for that matter. I’m pleased to just be part of the IT Crowd helping funeral care workers open their emails. But thanks for visiting, Liz.

She Heard About My Jigsaw

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Through an amazing series of events and what I can only presume is pure FATE, Queen Elizabeth and young Philip are going to visit me at work next week. Her main point of business is officially opening the Co-Op’s new building but I have a sneaky feeling that she just wants to see the jigsaw puzzle that I did of her. I will bring it, just in case.

Jigsaw puzzles – bringing together royalty and IT Service Desk analysts since 2013.

Jigsaw puzzles – bringing together royalty and IT Service Desk analysts since 2013.

She is apparently taking a tour of the building however I suspect she will be kept far away from the IT department. Only an IT Crowd style mess up could possibly result in her shaking my hand. I shall do my best.

Have You Tried Turning it Off and On Again?

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Exciting times, kiddliewinks! It would appear that I have decided to make 2013 the year of doing jobs you’re supposed to do when you’re 16. I have spent the last four months working as a waitress and being paid minimum wage to carry heavy plates, be yelled at, and clean up after rich people’s children (and rich people, for that matter.) Four months was sufficient time for me to establish that I never, ever want to do that again. I enjoyed the company of my fellow food-slaves, the music was good to dance to and there were occasions where I actually had some nice chats with some very friendly customers. I was even told by a very drunk 50-something-year-old man that I was the best server he had ever met. I like to believe he really meant it. But finishing work at 2am after cleaning flecks of pizza dough out of the cracks in the tables is really not my thing and I will forever more praise every staff member of every restaurant I eat at. They work hard (well, most do) and get paid poorly. Tip them handsomely, my friends.

After searching high and low for alternative sources of income and realising that my accordion playing skills just aren’t good enough for me to become a professional busker on Market Street, I was offered the opportunity to take the job a friend of mine was leaving. A fellow Aussie, Eli, had been doing a part time office job for the Co-Operative (a bit like Woolworths but with a few more morals) but was having to leave in order to further her career at the Art Gallery. I met her for lunch on a rainy Manchester day, I was feeling depressed as I had just said goodbye to my brother at the airport and I was hungry. Oh so hungry. Anyway, after I had whinged incessantly about my great dislike for my serving job, Eli suggested I replace her. And within 48 hours, I had applied for her job, been offered it and resigned from Artisan. WOOHOO!

Last Saturday night was my final shift at Artisan (finishing at a record late time of 3am Sunday morning), and I have spent almost one week in the super-shiny office building of the Co-Op. I wish I could say that my new job is more glamorous than my last, but the truth is I am one of the IT crowd. Got a problem with your computer/printer/phone? Call me. I will log the call and if I can’t fix your problems then I’ll pass it on to someone who can. While this isn’t my dream vocation and I have to wear a stupid Bluetooth headset, it is part-time from 9am-1pm, giving me adequate time to do some writing in the afternoon and it pays significantly more than minimum wage. Also the people I work with are friendly computer geeks, which is one of my favourite brands of human.

I am currently completing two weeks of full-time training (I need to stop changing jobs as they all require two weeks of training) and am slowly understanding the various different programs, systems and codes for all things IT. I am seeing that I will need to draw upon every gram of patience that resides in my body as some callers appear to barely know what a computer is, let alone where to find the off switch.