the only one

I’m the only one.

The only girl.

The only half-breed.

The only Canadian.

It doesn’t stop there: I’m the only editor. The only sysadmin. The only support. The only analyst. The only writer. I’ve been a team of one in every job I’ve had. There’s no policy that applies to me. I’m in a unique situation. We don’t know what to do with you. You don’t fit into the promotion matrix. You have no career path. You’re a unicorn.

I got a new job. I’m the only writer, the only Canadian, the only contractor. “In name only!”, they reassure me. I’m not offered the same company shares all employees receive when they are hired. I’m not onboarded the same, so I don’t know to ask. I’m the only one.

The company is sold. Every other person receives a windfall when the shares are sold. They’re all brought on as a real employees. “We don’t know what to do you”, the new company says. “Sit in this corner until we figure it out.” I’m a contractor, for real this time. I submit timesheets. I get paid weekly. No sick days. No vacation days. My badge is a different colour. My email address has a flag. I’m the only one.

Everyone else attends new hire training. They receive equipment and get onboarded with the company. I do not. I ask for credentials. I ask for information. I ask for help. I ask for equipment. “Sorry, contractors don’t get equipment.” I’m the only one.

I use my personal laptop and monitor. Eventually, I get a laptop. It is outside the company inventory, and not connected to the network. I can still log on and work. I don’t mind.

My user name is changed to have a different flag. I don’t know why. I’m not told when it happens, or given any information about what to do. I’m the only one. I figure it out on my own.

My password expires. I can’t reset it. My ID does not know who I am, since my name changed. The help desk cannot help me: I don’t have an employee number. No one knows what to do with me. If I manage to get all the pieces, they can give me a temporary password. It’ll only work on corporate computers, though. I don’t have one of those. I’m the only one who doesn’t.

I finally get a resource for equipment. It’s shipped to the wrong location, so I go pick it up and take it to the original location. It has no credentials. It has to be reimaged.

Oops, sorry. The laptop is actually broken. Go talk to procurement.

P: Why don’t you have a computer?

K: I’m a contractor.

P: So am I. So is he. We’re with the same company you are. When we got onboarded, we got computers.

K: I don’t know what to tell you. I joined in September, and have received nothing. I didn’t get onboarded.

P: Well that’s stupid. Let me look into it. [makes phone calls] Oh. Apparently the “no equipment” policy is just for you. Huh. We aren’t able to give you one.

K: How ’bout that. So, how can I reset my password?

P: You can’t. Your system name changed. You need a new ID issued. Here’s a loaner laptop, though. You can’t log into it, and you’ll eventually need to bring it back here. Good luck. We’ve never seen this before. You’re the only one.

Eventually, my temporary equipment is sorted. I jump through all the hoops and get a temporary password. It’s successfully reset. A small victory.

I have a pounding headache. I have no resources. I am beyond demoralized. I have a thousand questions and no one to turn to. I am alone. I am unhappy.

I’m the only one.


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