Do you know I work for Schwab? *Schwab*. It's Schwaberific. Schwabtastic. Schwaba-fucking-licious. Have you seen me? Go back to my "resume" page and take a look. Yup, I work for Schwab, lookin' like that.
I was hired to do freelance design there 2 days a week, for Schwab.com and the Schwab intranet (cleverly, very cleverly, named "the Schweb"). So it's not actually Schwab proper; it's Schwab's in-house design agency, called CRS Communications, but Schwab is our only client *and* they own the company. Some kind of corporate nepotism or something.
After doing years of graphic design professionally, I had become fairly accustomed to the design-agency environment. Most of the places I worked were pretty small, so you end up with a family-like feel, with all kinds of odd sorts of creative people; tattooed, pierced, funny-color-haired ones like me and the ones sneakin' around looking slyly like normal folk but with all sorts of dangerous and twisted images in their heads. (Those are the real freaks, let me tell you.) So Schwab was a bit of a shock... my first day I was led through multiple electronic doors requiring magnetic passes; I was tossed into a tiny cubicle consisting of 6-foot-high cloth walls with other people inches away on 3 sides, and told not to let my computer produce any musical sounds, ever. I *thrive* on listening to music while I work, and I didn't bring any headphones! Oh dear.
Then I was led through many complicated and utterly unmemorable processes on how to get my Schwab email, check my Schwab voicemail, and validate my existence through careful electronic documentation of my hours, which went into a huge Schwab database and became instantly unchangeable. For hours, nobody came to give me work or check on me at all. The entrance to my cube already had a printed plaque with my name, and some odd combination of numbers and hyphens underneath. I had been filed. I am now a drone.
With no work, my first day consisted of sitting and playing with the files on my desktop, some stranger's previous work; and intermittently asking anyone who passed by if they could get my Netscape working.
Eventually, a nice, very *sincere and friendly* young woman, of whom I was immediately suspiscious, asked me if I'd "had my fingerprints taken yet." The day went downhill from there. Back through magnetic doors, down the streets of San Francisco's Financial District and into the Big Schwab Headquarters, through more magnetic doors and bunch of electronic, armless "turnstyles" that scan your innards. The details are irrelevant; I was roughly handled, gripped by a large man who manipulated my digits and palms onto a greasy computer screen, where I was dermitalogically scanned. I returned broken and violated down the street and back to my cube, and immediately began to loudly protest to anyone who would listen about what I henceforth referred to as "the Anal Probe."
I lasted only one more day. The following afternoon, after a number of frustrating failed attempts to use my email, I found myself sitting in the afterglow of the previous day's anal probing feeling like a complete imposter in corporate hell. Fuck it.
I cursed at my computer, grabbed my stuff and walked out... leaving on my desk the magnetic card entrusted to me after my probing: my little plastic reward.
That was 5 months ago, and I still work there, so you know there's more; but that's another story.