First Day at HarperCollins

“So when I release the elevator doors, you guys are gonna have to run outta there. Uh… pretty quickly.”

Par-don? Did you say run?

I am now staring in horror at the man next to me, who is staring at the man next to him, who is staring at the intercom. “Um. Okay…?” He said as calmly as one can in a situation like this.

I should have seen it coming.
I should have known the day would not go as planned.
Because, let’s be honest – it never does.
(Insert flashback music.)

The morning hadn’t started out great. Bad hair day. Lost sock. One piece of bread. But despite all these little annoyances, I’d managed to make it to my new place of employment by 9AM sharp. I walked into the HarperCollins building on 53rd, and boarded the elevator headed towards Human Resources.

It was my first day! I was going to smile, and be on time, and be triumphant! And I was going to… scrrreeetch.

I was not going to do anything for about 20 minutes.

We had made it to the 23rd floor (or at least close to it) before our metal cage stopped. The elevator now hung in the air, silent and unmoving. Nervous glances ensued. Surely we weren’t stuck. I mean who gets stuck in an elevator on their first day of work? What are the chances? No, no… we were going to move momentarily.

“Say, is it getting a bit stuffy in here?” I thought to myself. There are seven of us. We aren’t that heavy. Why are we stuck? Are we actually stuck!? It’s been about 3 minutes. What’s the deal? Suddenly I’m very warm. I feel a little claustrophobic.

Scarf must…come…off…now.
Off my neck with you!
Are you trying to CHOKE me, scarf!?

Hum. Okay. Chill. Stare at a spot on the wall and don’t think about anything else but the spot. It’s been about 5 minutes. We’ve now pushed the alarm button, and are waiting for instructions. At least I’d taken off that freaking scarf.

“So when I release the elevator doors, you guys are gonna have to run outta there. Uh… pretty quickly.”

I am the only girl. I am the only one under 35. I am the only one who will die on her first day!

Okay, okay maybe that’s a tad dramatic. But this thought might have crossed my mind (and if you are living in New York, you know why…). With recent elevator accidents, the last place I want to be is trapped inside of one, 23 floors up, with six slightly sweaty men.

“Okay. So it looks like the doors are jammed. I can’t open them. So we’re going to try and reset the elevator and bring it down to the first floor.”

I’m staring at spot on the wall.
No one could distract me now. 

But after another 5 minutes or so passes, we simply aren’t moving. I relinquish the spot and glance at my counterparts. We are an eclectic bunch. Never the less, we all currently wear the same pinched expression.

“You know after what happened with that lady a few weeks ago…” says one man. “Ehhh.” “Oh come on.” “Heeey now.” The rest of us simultaneously grumble our disagreement with his choice of words.

Rule Number One of being stuck in an elevator: You don’t talk about being stuck in an elevator… particularly because of several unfortunate events in the not so distant past. The jerk shut his mouth, and we all went back to an uncomfortable silence.

“So. We can’t reset the elevator,” our faceless narrator says over the intercom. “Don’t worry; just hang tight. We’ve called the mechanic, and he’s on his way up there now.”

Hang tight. 
Hannng tight!?
I hope no pun was intended. 

Meanwhile, I’m trying to email the HR woman from my phone, apologizing for such an odd absence. She knows I’m in the building because I was buzzed up through security. She probably also believes I’m lost and have been wondering around for 20 minutes. 

At least first impressions aren’t everything…?

Finally a thin metal bar separates the elevator doors. The mechanic then pushes them apart with his hands, revealing we are about 3 inches from the 23rd floor. Everyone hopped out quickly, breathing a sigh of relief.

To wrap this tale up properly: The nice HR lady knew I was stuck in the elevator. My first day was an interesting dive into ebooks, and I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes process of creating this type of technology. I’ll be working in HarperCollins ebook department for the next several months, and so far everything is going well.

Although… I should mention a fire drill occurred immediately after I got settled into my area. And can you guess whose desk is the meeting spot for an emergency? Yes. You are correct. I sat down, and was suddenly surrounded by nameless employees.

Well. That, my friends, is when you just look up and smile.