If you ever thought that setting up a house for the first time was a costly and complicated affair, wait until you try setting up an office.
As you know, in one of my many other lives, my husband and I used to run a editing and proofreading business. When we expanded, part of the plan — the easiest part, we thought — involved getting more office space.
First, we had to find a suitable location, and this meant we had to learn a new language, Realtorspeak. It took us a while but we finally learned the definitions of these terms:
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Retail per square foot rates you can’t afford.
LOADS OF POTENTIAL: Needs more than just a paint job. Indeed, you’ll need to repair plumbing, wiring, heating, cooling, the walls, and the ceiling before you can even think about painting.
WHY PAY RENT? OWN IT! Because you really want building maintenance issues on your “to do” list while also managing your business.
We finally found a good deal and a great landlord. Then it was time to work out our connections.
TELEPHONE SERVICE: Thank you for signing up with RingaDing Telephone. A technician will be out between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for the hook-up.
ME: Um, okay, on what day?
TS: Between Monday and Wednesday.
ME: Uh, can you be more specific?
CABLE SERVICE: Thank you for signing up with Bigwire Internet. A technician will be out between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
ME: Sigh. On what day?
CS: Between Wednesday and Friday.
Thus began a very productive week of standing around at the new office, waiting. I say standing because of course we had not had a chance to get any furniture. And with no Internet or telephone connection, it’s not like we could make use of our time either online or catalogue shopping. Incidentally, we have 653 ceiling tiles and 58,857 brown flecks in our carpet.
I can also offer you the following tips on office setup: A) Never, ever, nip out to the bathroom while waiting for utility hook-up technicians, as the two minutes you are gone will be when they show up and completely IGNORE THE NOTE YOU LEFT TO TELL THEM TO WAIT. Not that I’m bitter or anything. And B) Keep the windows open after new carpet installation, because carpet glue makes you very, very high. Did I mention how absolutely beautiful brown carpet flecks can be, especially when the light hits them just so?
At last we were connected, and we were able to place our order for furniture and supplies. This was also lots of fun because while the supply company was more specific about when they’d arrive… they also managed to show up two hours earlier than scheduled.
The good news is that the building manager happened to be on site and let them into our office. The bad news is that when we arrived there was a rather large heap of desks and boxes just inside our front door. This meant we had to go get mountain climbing gear just to work our way in to unpack.
This was also when we discovered just how much we take our current office setup for granted. For instance, we knew we’d need box cutters for opening parcels, so we ordered some. But then we couldn’t get into our boxes… because the box cutters were inside. Car keys you say? I thought so too, only to discover that in recent years packing tape has apparently been upgraded with titanium fibres. Know a good place to get new keys cut?
We are now in the process of hiring additional staff. We have discovered there are actually three kinds of applicants:
1) Those who send out resumes for any position (“Hi, I am a Class Six licensed welder and would make a great addition to your proofreading company.”)
2) Those who think they’re qualified for your position (“hi, i am applying to, be a proofreeder for your company”)
3) Those who actually might be a good candidate.
Of course, pretty soon we’ll have to start paying for all of this… and that’s going to be even less fun than we’ve already had.
Also published on Medium.