Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu

My first job in an Italian office

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When I moved here I, like any unfortunate bastard who wants to change his life out of nowhere, began to search for a job. Back home I was a lazy, working from home translator and occasionally, when I felt like it, worked in human resources, the rest of the time just travelling in my car, stopping for coffee wherever and writing frantically about everything. With some connections and a little begging (because that’s how they mostly do it here) I managed to get myself a job in human resources and my responsibilities were a little vague at first.

My first day at the job I was really nervous and I tried to please everyone so I introduced myself like a normal human being and awaited for the same response. Little did I know that they already hated me without even knowing me just because I was the new girl, 20 years younger than anybody in the office and of course very enthusiastic. They showed me around and pointed out several times that day that the spoken Italian language is not the same as the Italian I had learned from my books, so they pretended not to understand what I was saying most of the time.

The next day was the beginning of the end of my world as a normal working girl. They showed me some programs I had to use, so simple that even a two year old could operate, and gave me a three month deadline on something I could have done in a week. I was a little dazzled at first and in my stupidity I thought that if I could do a great job, faster than they said, I will be more popular. I was dead wrong, because after one week when I presented my work they just erased it without even looking at it, reasoning that nothing can be done well in such a short period of time. I almost burst into tears and realized that I didn’t copy any of my work so I had to start all over again. I was stunned and also naive because I’ve tried to educate them to get things done faster and better failing every time and being more hated by the minute.

So, after three months of struggling and lots of nights despairing on my husband’s shoulder, I’ve decided to try and do it their way. That day, I’ve asked about Internet connection, thinking that if I have to just sit there for hours I might as well do some browsing and some chatting. They looked at me like a little kid looks at his parents when they try to give him the talk about the birds and the bees. I understood then that they were a lost cause and that the only way to stay sane is to join them completely. I finally managed to get an Internet connection and started to mingle with the other four employees.

If I should draw a working day in that particular office I would put our secretary as the main event and character. She was amazing at doing nothing and complaining all the time that she has to work so hard and such long hours. She only worked from 9 pm until 1 pm so her hours were hectic indeed. You couldn’t start a working day without having a coffee first and then you had to plan out your day until it was 10 pm and a coffee break was in order. You finally started your day at about 11 pm and by that time hunger came crawling to your stomach so you had to take a break to eat something or as the secretary put it referring to our boss: „He treats us like slaves; does he want us to starve?” She quickly noticed I’m good at doing a lot of stuff so she started to make me do copies of things or printing randomly their work keeping me occupied for an hour and rambling that I am a computer wizard just for opening my email page. These people called the technician even when the printer was unplugged because they didn’t bother to search for the problem. By the time it was 1 pm I was already bored to death and I couldn’t wait for the lazy, crazy, always on a diet (although she weighted like 80 pounds) woman to go home so I can finally start working in peace.

In just five short months I was doing almost everyone’s job except answering the phone and started to question their presence there. I had already done my work for almost half a year in advance and although it seemed impossible for me to comprehend, every Italian office I visited was working following these specific steps. So why ask yourself if you are a lazy person when you should just try working in an Italian office and find out just how lazy and relaxed can you be.

About the author

Ela Vasilescu

I’m a writer based in Florence, Italy.

Human nature inspires me, different cultures, traditions, folk stories and the differences which make us unique. Documenting stories is a privilege, a glimpse into humanity, an unforgettable experience, one which I embrace and honour every day.

If you have a story twitching in the back of your pocket, one that is ready to be told, shared and heard, chances are I will be ready to listen; so don’t hesitate to send me an email.

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By Ela Vasilescu
Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu