First of all, when the phone extensions are five digits long, you know you work in a bigass company.

Ahem: I forgot my badge AGAIN this morning. That would be, probably the 5th time in the past month – and I’ve NEVER forgotten my badge until the past month. Moving has been rough – I can’t find many, many things I would like to set my hands on, and, well, I forget stuff a lot lately. Like my badge. Which I can tell you is hooked on the pocket of the pants I wore to work yesterday.

So normally, forgetting your badge is not a big deal – you either hitch a ride in with someone in the garage who’s opening the elevator doorway, and if you’re lucky you get someone who recognizes you so you don’t have to explain yourself beyond the sheepish “forgot my badge” admission. If no one shows up for a while, you trudge out of the garage and into the reception area, and have the receptionist look up your ID, print you a temporary badge and buzz you into the building.
But when you come in early specifically to get a lot done before all the people start showing up, well, then you have a problem. Because the garage is near-empty and reception is not open for another 45 minutes.

So this morning I waited until someone showed up and parked nearish my elevator in the garage, and asked if I could hitch a ride in. He looked skeptical (the 7:15 AM crowd is MUCH less lenient than the 9:15) and he said he’d escort me to reception. I said I wasn’t sure if they would be open, and he sort of harrumphed, escorted me there, left me there and let the door swing shut and lock behind him, and either ignored or didn’t hear my knocking to indicate that, thanks, but I was now simply locked in a different portion of the building. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he didn’t hear me.

So then, I’m sitting at the front desk. Until 7:25… and no one shows up. I finally send a Google text to get the number of the Microsoft Switchboard (hint, hint, Microsoft – I had to text GOOGLE for this, not you), and I started calling random coworkers in my building whom I know to be early birds. Not a single hit in ten names. Where are all you slackers who fill my inbox before I get in at 8:30 on a good day? Sheesh!

So then I give up on the directory crap, reach over to the reception desk’s phone, and dial x60000 for security. Select 1 if it’s an emergency, 2 if it’s a parking violation, 3 for other issues like access to a building. BINGO! So I select three – “Microsoft Security, is this an emergency?”

No, no, it is not. It is me being dumb and forgetful yet again, while shockingly resourceful and typically charming, and still striking out left and right, thanks. So I give her my email alias so she can look me up, and right as she’s saying she’ll send someone I tell her that the first person I’ve seen in fifteen minutes finally shows up to the front door. She says she’ll wait while I see if he can’t let me in.

The guy is on a cell phone call, and has to struggle to swipe himself into the building, and when he does I sort of apologetically gesture at him, while cradling the reception desk phone in the other hand. He comes over, still mid-call, half-joking half-bitching to the person on the other end that the only reason he works the weird hours he does is to double as a security guard. I apologize, explain myself, and ask if he doesn’t mind letting me in, and tell him that I have security on the line if he wants to talk to them to confirm. He says, “but how do I know you’re really Microsoft?”

I bust out a printed-up email between my boss and myself, and show him my name in the signature, plus my photo ID with said name printed. Only then does he agree to let me in, so I let the security guard know, thank her, hang up, thank him, and tag-team into the building. He’s still on his call this whole time. I thanked him and took off, and made it to my office a full 30 minutes after exiting my that’s about two floors directly below the space my office occupies.

So Microsoft, I just want to let you know – if you think you have a security problem, you can relax. You absolutely do not. I have never met more diligently trained employees in my entire life, and I will never ever fear a non-campus person being granted access inappropriately. Kudos to you, software kings. I surrender. Thanks to both of the guys who let me in, plus the kind security switchboard operator. I’m kind of afraid to leave my office now, so I’ll probably be extra-productive today to boot. Good strategy, my friends!

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