Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 5: Colleague
After Gu Yu left, Zhang Siyi couldn’t help but wipe the sweat off his brow. With the ups and downs, he felt like this morning was one long roller coaster ride. The personnel of the Human Resources department came over to give him a tour of the company’s offices. There was a special glass-enclosed discussion room, a reading area in the mini-library, a relaxed dining hall, a separate refreshment area, and even a few beds. He was surprised at the company’s fantastic working environment!
All throughout the tour, Zhang Siyi was grinning from ear to ear as he imagined himself utilizing the firm’s resources unconditionally. The sense of belonging and happiness welled up inside him.
“In the refreshment area, there was a coffee machine that provided unlimited coffee. Also, there were free cookies, various breads and milk. The company provides an ordering service at noon for lunch which is subsidized. You could also choose to bring your own lunch. The dining area had a refrigerator and microwave and other equipment for your convenience.”
“In accordance with the company’s Basic Rules and regulations, we ask our staff to work between 9am to 6pm. Lunch breaks are between 12:30pm and 1:30pm.”
Zhang Siyi nodded. Even though the company’s official business hours were from nine to six, it was still an eight-hour work day because of the hour lunch break every day. Perfect.
“However,” Miss Wang turned to him and shrugged. “The design department has special permission. The company supplied electricity and water for 24 hours a day for the department to function at all times. There is a fingerprint lock, so employees can gain access and work overtime without problems.”
Zhang Siyi listened to Miss Wang’s explanation and followed her to a door with the fingerprint lock. Opening it, he was taken into the design department which he briefly saw while exiting the elevators previously.
There was a large table at the side of the walkway where three people were seated together discussing a plan there. A leading female designer saw Miss Wang approaching with Zhang Siyi. An employee called out, “Hey the new guy”. She was wearing a pair of black-rimmed glasses with a black and white business wear. She looked older, but her temperament seemed good. They were curious about Zhang Siyi. He smiled at them.
“This is Zhang Siyi, who graduated from the British Department of Architecture. Director Gu just recruited him as an assistant architect.” Miss Wang also pointed to the woman, “This is Child Labor, another master architect in the design department.”
……child labor? How can someone be called this? Zhang Siyi thought that he heard it wrong.
“Child Labor” shook hands with him and enthusiastically said: “Welcome to Boundless.”
Zhang Siyi: “Thank you.”
The two young people sitting on the side also smiled at Zhang Siyi: “Welcome.”
Child Labor signaled to the other two employees: “Time to get working. Let’s make sure we don’t pad other people’s pockets with our quarterly bonuses.”
Two young people: “…”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Arriving at an empty table near the corner, Miss Wang arranged a work position for him. On the left, there was a small, fat young man. On the right was a walkway. Behind it was a row of glass compartments. Zhang Siyi had no time to look at it. Miss Wang said: “Zhu Hongzhen, this is Zhang Siyi, a new employee. He will sit next to you, please take care of him.”
The young man was pretending to fiddle with the building model of the computer, and immediately turned around smiling: “Hello.”
Miss Wang looked at the watch: “It’s almost time for lunch. After eating lunch, come to me.” Zhang Siyi said thank you and Miss Wang left.
“Hey, my name is Zhu Hongzhen, nicknamed Piggy.” His desk-mate reintroduced himself.
Zhang Siyi shook hands with him. A girl who was facing him also slid over on a swivel chair: “Hello!”
“This is Bi Lele.” Pig took the initiative to introduce her then pointed at the young man next to Bi Lele who had his head down engrossed with drawing.” That is Yuan Zhicheng.” The named person looked up. Zhang Siyi smiled, and said hello.
Bi Lele grinned at Zhang Siyi. She teased him: “The front desk staff told me about a really handsome young man scheduled for an interview. We were curious, and they were right!” Several of the people there were of similar age so after introductions, they soon became familiar with each other.
From the two of them, Zhang Siyi also learned about the structure of the different departments of Boundless. It totaled less than 50 people and 10 of which were specialized in structural and HVAC-related engineering. Less than ten were professional landscapes and Interior designers. The remaining 30 people were doing architectural design. Among the 30 people, there were three groups. Each group has its own head and Gu Yu lead the group that Zhang Siyi was in.
Zhu Hongzhen commented: “Our boss never recruits useless people, so you must have some talent.”
Zhang Siyi felt a little conscience and guilty: “I only just graduated.”
“You are the only person who has graduated from a foreign university in our group.” Bi Lele said.
“You all graduated from a domestic University?” Asked Zhang Siyi. Bi Lele and the others said where they graduated from and to Zhang Siyi surprised, they were all from elite educational institutions. Was he working with a group of school tyrants now?
“Which school did Gu Yu graduate from?” Zhang Siyi was very curious and whispered: “He is only a few years older and looks so young.”
“T University,” Bi Lele gave the answer from across the aisle. “He is a master of continuous accomplishments. After graduation, he first worked at X Design Institute. I have a classmate who worked together with Gu Yu during his internship. He learned fast on the job while also studying. During his time at university, he won many awards at various competitions for architectural design. It was the first time someone so young received the awards. He didn’t go abroad after graduating and went straight to work a X Design Institute. Two years later, he passed the nine-time examination directly, then applied at Boundless and was given the position of creative director. I think he’s at least twenty-seven or twenty-eight.”
Zhang Siyi was shocked. This person is too damn good. How can life be so smooth!
Zhu Hongzhen nods and says: “Our boss is really a God!”
Bi Lele looked around and whispered: “I heard Gu Yu’s real reason for leaving X Design was because of an older female architect’s pursuit of him. He couldn’t help but hide here.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Zhu Hongzhen: “…”
Zhang Siyi: “I thought that there were other foreign-educated graduates working here. How is it just me?”
“Our sister department is led by Child Labor.” Zhu Hongzhen pointed across the way in her direction,” She has a doctorate of architecture and leads a group of people who are all from international universities. Two of them are foreigners, one from Spain and one from Bulgaria. When it comes to the child labor group, Zhang Siyi wants to laugh a little. He asks: “Why would someone call her such a strange name?”
Zhu Hongzhen’s pursed his lips closed: “Hey, you may have made a mistake. It’s not her name.”
Zhang Siyi: “Ah?”
She is called Tong Heyi, and the ‘labor’ is the abbreviation of the construction engineer. It is the most commonly used name in our industry, so you would feel strange when someone called you ‘Zhang Gong’.”
Zhang, Zhang Gong, hehe…
Zhu Hongzhen: “In fact, our boss doesn’t like the formal title of director. Just follow our lead and call him Boss. OK?”
“I see,” Zhang Siyi replied while looking around: “Where is his office?”
Zhu Hongzhen pointed over his shoulder behind him: “It’s right behind you.”
“…” Zhang Siyi turned back and saw the name card of Gu Yu hanging on the back of the glass compartment door! He shrank his neck and turned back, summing up: “It seems that my position is a bit dangerous.”
Zhu Hongzhen nodded solemnly: “Yes, at work if you get discovered playing around by the boss, you will see the end sooner rather than later.”
Zhang Siyi: “No? I can’t do anything on the internet? Not even a little bit?”
“That depends on what you are doing online. Checking information is ok of course, but anything else….” Zhu Hongzhen did not say exactly but his cold tone made the implication even clearer. Zhang Siyi swallowed nervously.
“I didn’t think the boss was so strict. It seemed to me, he had much warmer relationship with everyone in the department.” Because of the mishap and reconciliation at the café, Zhang Siyi felt that the animosity towards Gu Yu was unfounded.
Zhu Hongzhen looked at him oddly: “Where did you get that idea?”
“Because he himself has strict principles, he expects everyone else to follow them as well. It’s not easy following a talented genius,” Zhu Hongzhen said bitterly. “You have been warned. It isn’t a wonderful experience working under his hands. You will understand after a while.“
Yuan Zhicheng, who hasn’t spoken yet, heard this and suddenly looked up at Zhang Siyi, his eyes were blue, and his smile was bleak: “Welcome to the group of hard work.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Bi Lele, who had a look of ignorance, had quietly shut her mouth when her colleagues complained, and sighed with a look of ‘pain and happiness.’
At lunch time, Zhu Hongzhen had reserved the company’s lunch. Others had brought their own and thus, Zhang Siyi could only go downstairs and find a restaurant.
Because the office building was in the commercial center, there were many very good restaurants nearby. However, except for the convenience stores such as 7-11 and Rosen, they were a bit pricey. Even so, most of the restaurants were acceptable.
In celebration of his new job, Zhang Siyi wanted to treat himself to a nice meal instead of a convenience store’s lunch. He chose a Japanese restaurant that looked like it had many patrons. Zhang Siyi lined up in queue and waited to be seated. At this time, he took his phone out to check his messages. He wanted to let his friends know about the good news.
Two hours had passed since Zhang Siyi sent the two crying emojis in chat. There were hundreds of messages in the discussion group.
At first, his friends were anxious and didn’t know if they should ask him for details about the situation. Fu Xinhui even gloated about it, but since Zhang Siyi stopped responding he stopped chatting. Everyone began to comfort Zhang Siyi. Others wondered if he couldn’t read the messages. Eventually the topic moved onto something else. When Zhang Siyi opened the phone, his friends were eager to discuss the future development of the Chinese construction industry in the group.
He clicked Fu Xinhui icon to look at some private messages. There were several unread messages on the top.
Fu Xinhui: ” What’s the matter? Are you feeling alright?”
Fu Xinhui: “We were just joking around.Don’t get caught up in that.……”
Fu Xinhui: “Sorry, I shouldn’t have laughed at you, don’t be sad, come back I’ll invite you to dinner!””
Fu Xinhui: “Don’t worry about money. I’ll treat you.”
Zhang Siyi sent a message to Fu Xinhui: “Fuck you, Crow mouth! I got in!”
He then went to the chat group and sent an update: “I got the job”