“Welcome to Medical Staff! We hate to do this to you, but we all have to be at a meeting, so you’ll be the only one in the office for about 15-20 minutes. That won’t be a problem will it? Just take a message if the phone rings or someone comes in.”
This is what my Director greeted me with the very first day I walked into the Medical Staff Office on a Monday morning.
No tour around the office. Nothing.
The silence of the office was intimidating.
Not one to sit idle, I logged into my computer and answered as many emails as I could from my previous position. That took me all of 5 minutes.
Looking around the main office space, it was dark, dusty and mauve. VERY mauve. There were office cubicles with mauve walls. Coordinating pictures with mauve mattings. The office accessories – letter trays, staplers, tape dispensers – were all a dark plum/mauvish color.
I looked in the office kitchenette – there was a sink, refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. All of which looked like it had been years since they had been cleaned. The cabinets were over-full with old supplies, a mish-mash collection that I recognized from the cafeteria, catered events, and home supplies.
There were plants in each area of the office – 3 large rooms, the kitchenette, and a private bathroom. The plants all appeared to be neglected and dying. The only place there weren’t any plants was in the separate, but attached, file room. Floor to ceiling revolving file cabinets, horizontal file cabinets and a copy machine filled this area. Each file drawer filled to overflowing. Cramped, crowded and stifling hot when the copy machine was in use (I later found that out).
The mauve continued into the middle office area and into the director’s office. There was a collection of furniture and decorations that seemed to be shoved in places to appear to be useful, but gave the areas a feeling of being cluttered.
In the entire area, there was only one window. Thankfully, it was right next to my work space. It provided a little light, but no view. It was made with glass blocks to ensure privacy. So I could see outside, but it was always distorted. That’s how I later came to view my job – distorted.
I don’t remember much from my first week in the Medical Staff Office – but I remember that first 15 minutes. They aren’t lying about first impressions. If I had been honest with myself, I would have known that my first impression of the office would have shown me the chaos I had agreed to enter.