Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Temperature Differences

There is a constant battle in our office regarding the temperature of our surroundings. Fortunately, the office is divided into halves- the front half is controlled by one thermostat, the back half another.

This hemispherical split is a good thing. Our branch administrator who sits at the front desk is one of those people who is always warm or even hot. She doesn’t wear a winter coat, she keeps her car temperature down around 50 in the winter and in the office, it’s a little like the North Pole in her region most days.

Since the rest of us don’t tend to run hot, this means we can control the temperature in our half without affecting her.

Most days, this isn’t such a hard thing. In the winter, those of us in this half of the office are a bunch of wimps and we like to be warm. I’m guessing in the summer, we’ll all like to be pleasantly cool.

It just seems that the in-between seasons might be a problem. I’m a firm believer in the fact that when it is hot outside, the heat should not be on in an office and when it is cool outside, we do not need the air conditioning on.

This philosophy is not terribly well regarded by some of the other members of staff. We have one staff member who comes in on some days wearing a short sleeved shirt and nothing else. Sometimes this is ok because he has a sweatshirt to put on if he gets cold. More often than not, however, he forgets his sweatshirt and starts complaining that he’s cold.

Thus begins the battle of the thermostat. He sneaks out of his office and turns the temperature up. He’s an extremist. He doesn’t believe in middles. Thus, if he’s cold, he’ll crank the thermostat up to 80 degrees to warm up quickly.

Meanwhile, the rest of us who are slightly more sensible, listened to the weather and dressed accordingly suddenly get very warm because we’re wearing sweaters because it’s cold outside. The heat kicks on and it becomes stifling. This leads to one of our account managers staking her claim in the thermostat and she comes out and turns it back down. Instead of stopping at a reasonable range of 72-74 degrees, she turns it down to 68 because it’s so warm.

This, of course, leads to the air conditioning coming on to compensate for the heat that was on before. It gets cold again.

Somewhere in there, I try to sneak out of my office and put the thermostat somewhere in the middle that will not allow the heat NOR the air conditioning to come on.

Today, it was a nice mild day outside. Thus, most of us in the back office space came in wearing lighter sweaters and shirts than we’ve been wearing because we knew it would be warm.

Not our weather-confused staff member, however. Instead of a short sleeved shirt, he comes in with a thick sweater AND shirt on.

Naturally, halfway through the day, he got very warm. Thus, he came out, set the thermostat to 65 degrees and then went back into his office.

This of course meant I was suddenly quite cold. I don’t like to be cold at work. It’s hard to focus. I try to drink coffee to warm me up but there comes a point where the chill from the air conditioner becomes too much and I have to do something about it.

Today, this meant I gave the coworker a nice polite suggestion that perhaps he take off his sweater rather than turn on the air conditioning. He’s our youngest staff member and I find that he has a tendency to act like the bratty little brother you love to bicker with. I’m not the only one who feels this way and on any given day, someone is teasing him, lecturing him or generally teaching him something.

He takes it very well and dishes it right back. Thus, my nice polite suggestion that he take off his sweater turned into a discussion that went something like this:

Me: Hey, X…did you turn the air conditioning on? X: Yes. I was hot.
Me: The rest of us our ocld.
X: I don’t care.
Me: Don’t you think it might be smarter if you took your sweater off before you turned on the air.
X: No. I was hot.
Me: You wouldn’t be hot if you took off your sweater.
X: I don’t want to.
Me: Why?
X: Too much effort.

At this point, my fellow recruiter, we’ll call him K, comes out of his office.

K: X! It’s cold in here.
X: So?
K: Did you crank up the air?
X: No, [captain monkeypants] did.
Me: Don’t tell fibs! I did NOT!
K: X, you did it. I’m turning the thermostat up.
X: I didn’t do it! It’ll get hot in here.
K: Then take off your sweater.

On and on it goes. At some point, the branch administrator will come back and banish X to his office because he’s acting like a brat. Then K will adjust the thermostat. Then someone else will decide they’re hot or cold.

Our office is actually like a family. Our boss is the authority and the rest of us are the bickering siblings who get along well when we’re being professional but when we’re relaxing, we bicker, snipe and snark at each other. It’s all done with fondness of course.

This is the kind of thing that make days at work fun, even slow days. It’s nice that we all get along, even if we do pretend otherwise. It makes for interesting discussion ranging from Charlie Sheen and his recent insanity which led to a discussion of the difference between crack and cocaine to discussions about British slang, animal husbandry and what flavor of lollipops everyone likes. It’s things like this that mark the difference between a job you do to get paid and one you enjoy because it’s fun and you feel like you belong.

Of course, things would be better if we could be in agreement about the thermostat but, well, honestly, squabbling over it is just a daily tradition and where would we be without those?

Happy Thursday!

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