Friday, May 31, 2013

Confetti Creator

I must confess I have developed a very unusual habit while I'm at work. I mean one beside putting together Lego kits. I cut paper. That's right. I cut paper, any paper, into tiny little pieces, for about 4 to 5 hours a day. 

A lot of my job as customer service representative gets extremely routine.Performing computer trouble shooting basics over the phone is at times excessively passive. You have to listen to the caller, complain, explain, and then do the things you instruct them to do.   

Many of the problems my customers call in with are very common and have easy solutions. About half of them require a transfer to another department. I have a preliminary protocol I follow to get them prepared for that transfer. 
So most of my job is done on "auto pilot".  

To keep from being bored throughout the day I keep myself busy with various activities I can do while my mind and mouth go through the basics with the customer. 

Among those activities are: playing cards, Yahtzee, and a small travel version of the classic game "Trouble". 

Of course my favorite means of occupying myself is building things with Legos. But I only do that for a couple of hours during the 2nd half of my work day. 

Initially, I began my cutting habit as a way of getting rid of old credit card statements, last year's utility bills, and purchase receipts that I no longer needed. I cut them up because I don't think a shredder does it well enough.

I've seen too many CSI episodes where they just put strips from a shredder back together enough to make them readable. I don't want even there to be even a remote possibility that the papers I discard would enable someone to steal my identity and abuse my personal financial accounts. 

Initially, I would put my clippings directly into the trash can under my cubical. But I realized I couldn't do that after observing the paper squall created when the janitor emptied the can into his trash bin. So I decided, as a courtesy, to put all of my clippings into the plastic soda bottle. It makes almost no mess at all. 

The process of being a human shredder took me a couple months to complete. But after I finished, I found myself so wrapped up in the routine of cutting up paper; I just had to keep doing it. It was now my compulsion and it kept me calm when talking to difficult customers. 

One day on my lunch hour, I went to a dollar store and bought a pack of college ruled notebook paper. For a buck I had cutting material for another couple of weeks. 

After looking around my house, I found some index cards, I no longer needed, and a package of colored paper that I used in my yearbook 10 years ago. More things to cut up. 

Now I know this sounds strange but it's just my way of coping with my job and my OCPD. 

But you're not alone in questioning my unusual habit. I get questioned from at least 3 or 4 of my coworkers each week. They're curious about about why I'm doing it. I answer them honestly; telling them that it's just something I do. But I also try to have a little fun with them. 

If the person asking seems to be the least bit gullible I tell them that I take the bottles of confetti home and store them in my garage until the first week of December. 

That's when I box them up and send them to the "Times Square New Year's Eve special events committee" in New York City. They pay me for it by the pound. They need it to drop at midnight on December 31st. I point out that the confetti that creates the paper blizzard every year in Times Square has to come from somewhere. 

If they buy into my story I let them think it's true for a minute or two; even answering specific questions about the process.  But then I let them in on the joke. And they act embarrassed when they realize the laugh is on them. 

Oh, yeah I also give them another reason as to why I cut up paper. I can't afford to buy enough Lego kits to keep me busy for the entire day. 

So there you have it. I admit. I am a compulsive cutter. Perhaps "Confetti Creator" is a better title. 

Do you have a compulsive habit? I'd be interested in knowing what it is.  

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