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Thursday, January 05, 2006

TALES OF THE FUTURE [futuristic echo]

This enstallment of one of the many wonders (or horrors) of the future is entitled:

Virtual Office!

I know, it sounds scary. So settle in, and enjoy one of the few short stories I write for you people!

Jeremy wanted nothing more in the world, than to telecommute to work. His job basically consisted of sitting in his cube, staring at his monitor, inputing data.

There were some days when he had some free time at work, but was unable to do anything with it other than surf the web, and so he really wanted to work from home.

His cube was drab and dreary, he wasn't even allowed a plant. His home was bright and full of plant life, so he really wanted to work from home.

After two years of asking his managers to be able to telecommute, they finally told him that in two weeks it would all be set up.

For the next two weeks Jeremy could do nothing but daydream about how great it would be to work from home. He would be able to take his dog for a walk during lunch, do some laundry while speaking with clients, and many other things he enjoyed doing.

Friday he left work, realizing he would not have to set foot back in the building very often.

Over the weekend he received a large box in the mail, entitled "Virtual Office".

"This must be my new computer for working from home!" he said aloud to no one. He quickly opened the box, pulled out a very fancy looking laptop and some cables, and set about to getting his new workstation put together.

Monday morning, 8:00 a.m. sharp, he sat down in front of his computer, ready to begin his new life.

He turned on the computer, took a sip of his coffee, and waited. He waited for quite awhile and nothing showed up on the monitor. He hastily looked through all the instructions, and found a number to call.

"Hello, and thank you for choosing Globo-office, home of virtual office and the automatic cat box, now for dogs too, this is Jason, how can I help you?"

"Um, yeah, my name is Jeremy and I'm trying to get my virtual office to work, I have hooked everything up right, and am not seeing anything on the monitor."

"Jeremy, I can help you with that. Can I have you look in the box until you find what looks like a pair of sunglasses with a cord. I need you to plug that in to your system and place it over your head. That should correct the problem. Thanks for choosing Globo-office, have a great day. And you'd better hurry, you are late."

Jeremy searched through the box until he found something called iShades and he put them on, only to see darkness. He pressed the "on" button on his computer again, and this time found himself instantly in the lobby of his office at work.

This wasn't quite what he expected from telecommuting, but this was pretty cool. He virtually walked to the elevator, virtually pressed a button, and virtually waited for the elevator.

"Why am I waiting?" he said to no one. "This is a virtual world, I should be instantly in my office."

Out of nowhere, an old man in suit showed up and began speaking immediately, "Hello, I am not a real person. I am a program here to assist you with your virtual office use. The reason you are waiting for the elevator is that your employers wanted the virtual office experience to be more in line with your normal day. That way you don't experience to much change between the new set up. And you'd better hurry up, you are late." And the old man vanished again.

Jeremy finally made it to his desk, after narrowly avoiding some chit chat with other virtual co-workers, and sat down to begin his day.

He looked around, his cube was still the same dismal brown color, with no window and no plants.

"Why can't my virtual office at least be a large room, sitting on top of a Victoria's Falls?" he asked his virtual desk.

"Hello, I am not a real person. Because, how would co-workers get to your office. Plus, your virtual office could make others feel inferior, when they actually hold a superior position. This type of office inequality could cause strife and unwanted stress among co-workers, therefore it is not allowed." The old man stated while standing in the middle of Jeremy's monitor.

"Well, I've had it, I need some coffee!"

"Hello, I am not a real person. Unfortunately, you can only log out of your virtual office at approved lunch and break times. This is to ensure that working from home does not give you any more flexibility than working in the office would. Now get back to work," the old man said again, this time standing on Jeremy's lap.

Jeremy looked around at his virtual cube, and sighed a heavy sigh. He then straightened his virtual chair, in front of his virtual keyboard and monitor, and began his virtual day, which consisted of a lot more web surfing (virtual or otherwise) than it usually did.

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