UN Bureaucracy is somewhat infamous, but what’s funny is that it affects the silliest things.
My mascot for my first two weeks here has been THIS CHAIR. I was given this chair when I arrived, with its sad lack of arms, it was my flagship entry!
It may have frustrated me at first, but the idea of conquering this armless chair was just a metaphor for getting past any further bureaucracy I might encounter.
When the procurement officer would come by, not yet installing my computer, phone, or email address, I’d laugh and say “Don’t forget a chair with arms!”
A lot of people give up on the proper channels of procurement here, and just end up getting things themselves. Resourceful people conquer paperwork.
The hilarity expands even further when I found out that Bad Chair had been cast off by at least 3 other people before me. They’d arrive, be allocated Bad Chair, and surreptitiously change it out with someone else’s chair, leaving whatever empty station was around with an “exciting” surprise for the future. I was just the last in a longer series of people who’d rejected Bad Chair. Sadly for me, however, there were no empty desks or vacant chairs to do a switcheroo.
While one of my desk-neighbors was away on holiday the last two weeks and I’d co-opted his chair, but today he came back and I was forced to find a solution.
During my first week I’d spent a lot of time in another block, getting my paperwork finished, and what stared me in the face every day was this CHAIR GRAVEYARD – chairs that had perhaps been deemed unfit for sitting, with their arms still intact but their dignity discarded.
When I told the office ladies I was going to sneak over to this other department and get a proper chair, their eyes widened. Not because I was going to nab a chair on my own, but because I was going to take it from a DIFFERENT department!
Enter the solution! One of my desk-neighbors saw an empty conference room across our sunny plaza through the glass walls, (our office is really beautiful) and said that there was a SINGLE wheeled chair waiting there.
So I took my sad armless chair, wheeling it across the second floor plaza noisily, and left it in the empty conference room. Bad Chair had a lovely view, and I’m sure someone will sit in him soon. I took the chair that was in there, and, yes, it’s a little short for my desk, but as my elbows caress the soft and intact arm rests, I know I made the right decision.