Tuesday, December 1, 2009

About Those Fancy Toilet Doors...

I'm trying not to go insane at work. It's my new goal.

I've figured out what the problem is with the new office location: It's too much, too soon. Until recently, my software company was a little business. We were small, slightly cramped in our old office and a little informal. These are all the things I liked about my job. Even though it was sometimes interruptive, I quite liked seeing everyone who came downstairs to get coffee in the mornings and saying hello. I quite liked that when we had meetings, we had to fight over chairs and all tried to get a place at the table. I quite liked the fact that while I could work, it was ok if I checked my bank balance or listened to KROQ online.

Now, in our new building, we're suddenly a big, giant corporation even though we're still the same 27-ish group of people we were before. We're in this massive building which is very nice and fancy but really doesn't suit who we are. Interestingly, I think it's supposed to suit who we're supposed to become: A major competitor in the educational software market.

Yet, I don't quite see that happening. You see, you can take a group of fish out of a small pond and plonk them into a lake. They might like the new lake but they're quite attached to that small pond and it's better to slowly introduce them to the new surroundings that dump them and run. If you do it slowly, it means there's less fish who are likely to go belly up and float to the surface of the lake in defeat because they can't find their tiny little hole in wish they've been secure for a while.

I know I've complained about the lack of privacy already. I've complained about how I'm limited in what I can do on my computer anymore. No more fun web-surfing breaks. So, today, I thought, well, ok...I can work with this. If I choose to take my lunch at my desk, I can take the 30 minutes I'm allotted for lunch and catch up on my web-surfing. I felt relieved.

Then, of course, we had a Staff Meeting of Doom. We were told that everyone is expected to leave their desks for lunch and that there's no excuse anymore. There are nice tables all over the building, little break areas that look out the window. My ungrateful little whine is this: I don't WANT to look out the window! I can do that when I head towards the bathroom. I want to SURF the INTERNET!

I'm not allowed to do that anymore. I'm sad. Now I'm even sadder that I can't listen to Pandora radio or KROQ anymore because our tech support believes we don't have enough bandwidth to support us doing this. My silly question is that if we're a software company, shouldn't we, you know, have a fair amount of bandwidth?

Apparently not. I do have an iPod so it's not like they've said that we can't listen to music (yet). It's just that there's something quite nice about listening to internet radio because even though you know what's on their playlist, there's still an air of unpredictability about the stations.

Still, I'm trying to think positive. After all, I'm not allowed to complain in the office and there's a certain amount of negativity that gets burned off by not having an outlet. Unless, of course, you have a blog...like me. Hence...you lucky readers get to hear my woes.

And while we're on the subject of not being allowed to complain, this is a wee bit of a nuisance at times. Before we moved into the new building, we were told that no expense was spared in designing the bathroom stalls especially to give us privacy while we went to the toilet, to give us our own 'room'. I liked this idea but I think it might have been better in theory than in practice. You see, I suspect that the workmen put the bathroom doors to the women's stalls on backwards. I think the idea is that you're supposed to be able to see out, not see in to where ladies are...doing their business. It is a wee bit off-putting to go into the bathroom and accidentally see someone on the toilet through the door when all you really wanted to do was check underneath to see if there were feet there. However, since mentioning that tiny little problem would constitute a complaint, no one is saying anything. Thus, we women get to go to the toilet and feel like we're being watched. Which we are. I've taken to trying to avoid looking at eye level if the stall door is closed. It's not quite as open as it could be but I can still see more than I'd like.

I promise to get off the subject of my new building very soon. I'm getting to be a little paranoid, even here in the blog. I'm a teensy bit worried that maybe we're even being bugged. There are these strange little 'eye in the sky' things that have been called 'smoke detectors' but they look a bit spy-ish for my tastes.

I might be feeling a little paranoid, however.

Seriously, I'm trying to adjust. I did get a lot of work done today which I suppose is the point now I've been deprived of all the distractions that made me enjoy going to work. I've also figured out which part of my job I really enjoy most in the past two days. These are accomplishments and when I look back to even a couple of decades ago, I'd be far less spoiled already than I am now. I probably wouldn't even be allowed to work. Perhaps I ought to put a few pictures of Jane Austin heroines around my cubicle to remind me of what might have been had I been born a couple of hundred years ago.

Seriously, I'm not as bitter as I might sound today. I came home from work feeling slightly less angry than yesterday. I managed to do some writing and just the fact that I could sit down and have something silly and quirky come out that easily was just a nice feeling. It reminded me of what I love to do in life. My job is what I do to support that love. It's been a long time since I've felt like this and it feels good.

So, tomorrow, I shall go to work armed with an iPod full of new music and just grin and bear it when I'm told that there's no more KROQ.com for me. I'll take a book to read during my mandatory lunch period and I'll keep trying to get work done. Then I'll come home and enjoy the fact that it's not my life: It's just a job.

It helps that it's payday tomorrow too. And it's supposed to snow! Two of my favourite things in life!

Happy Wednesday!

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