Well, it’s been more than a year since you were physically in the office, but now you’re fully vaccinated and have run out of excuses to keep working from home. Sorry. As the lowest-ranking member of the administrative staff, you are being tasked with reopening the office for the rest of us. Don’t worry—if you can make coffee, arrange travel plans, and remember whose birthday is when, you should do just fine at this. Besides, we can’t risk anyone important.

Be sure to dress for success. There won’t be clients anywhere near the place, so “jungle casual” is acceptable. The traditional pith helmet and machete are stylish and functional, but feel free to substitute the Indiana Jones hat and bullwhip if you prefer. Either way, be sure to wear sturdy boots. Changing out of the same pair of sweatpants you’ve worn all quarantine is optional.

When you open the door, you may find the air inside a bit stuffy, like a car that’s been out in the hot sun or an ancient tomb that’s been sealed for thousands of years. Best to air it out for a few minutes before entering. If in doubt, release a canary (oh, you should bring a canary) into a ventilation shaft and observe it carefully. If it drops dead, wait longer; if it’s eaten by something slithery, enter cautiously.

Since you’ve been away for so long, you may be hazy about the office layout, especially now that everything is obscured by vines and creepy webs that are much too large to be made by any ordinary spider. We recommend you mark your trail as you go by tying a rope to the door handle; do not use breadcrumbs, as they’ll only attract things that you don’t want to attract. Try to identify important landmarks, like the photocopier or that desk that always has snacks in it, and hack a rough trail between them to start.

Incidentally, some of the staff have suggested leaving the webs in place to give the cubicle farm a modicum of privacy. While we take all of our employees’ suggestions seriously (-ish), we can’t have people hiding in their cubes, stealing staplers, and live-tweeting it on Facebook. Just hack away at everything you see. Use a flamethrower if you have to.

You may encounter some difficulties. The anacondas can be easily distracted with your leftover canaries, but beware the feral interns who have been squatting in their cubes since their evictions early in the pandemic. They’re likely to be more afraid of you than you are of them, but don’t look them in the eye, and be prepared to shoot if necessary (oh, bring a gun). If possible, use treats and offers of health insurance to lure them outside, where HR will determine whether they can be safely reintegrated into society or should be humanely euthanized.

If you hear drums, run. Don’t look back.

The CDC estimates that you’ll need about a month to make the office fit for humanity again, but we need it done in five days. Clearing the kitchenette will be your biggest challenge. Whatever you do, DO NOT OPEN THE OFFICE FRIDGE. We cannot stress this enough. Seal it, strap it with machete-hewn vines, and haul it outside for ritual exorcism by a pair of courageous priests (oh, bring some priests). Try to ignore any noises you hear coming from inside, even if they speak English and somehow know your name. Especially then, actually.

Good luck! We’re all counting on you. If you survive, expect a $50 gift card to your favorite restaurant (assuming it survived the pandemic) and a mention in the newsletter!


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