Monday, August 4, 2008

The Office

Things have been hectic lately. My decidedly “retro and ghetto” office I have known for the past 14 years in Schaumburg has moved. I started out doing summer internships there during my college summer breaks staring in 1994, took a few years away at other careers, and then I’ve been back there for the past 6 years. (This will be the officially the longest time I have ever been employed by one company). The company, founded 30+ years ago, moved into the Schaumburg location 25 years ago. 10 years later, the management of the building decided that the décor back then was too run down and did a “refresh” in 1983. It has not been retouched since. The office became a collage of decidedly 80’s styling, donated pieces 70’s era furniture from everyone’s houses, and late 90’s office jetsam from failed companies of the internet boom that fled once the creditors came looking for assets to seize. (Most of the stuff was dumpster dived and much of it had questionable stains on it.)

We sort of made do with what we had, duct taping our desks together as this move had been in the works for years, and since with the move always in the plans, this always served as the excuse not to update or fix anything. Besides, the management’s philosophy was mainly “We spent good money on that ‘XXX’ 20 years ago.” The office building was purchased a few years ago by a savvy entrepreneur who was pretty successful in leasing to companies that were actually successful. Our source of furniture and office supplies from the fly-by-night companies that failed regularly had dried up.

It didn’t take long for the new office building to rise above the decades of decay left behind by the old building management and create what was becoming a pretty nice location. Except us. We had now become the decaying, crooked, black tooth in an otherwise perfect set of pearly whites. After several months of dogging the company to commit to signing an annual lease and refurnish the office, the building manager simply came to us on July 1st and said “A dental office is going to rent this space. The construction crews are going to tear down the walls on August 1st.” That was pretty much as good as an eviction that can be done without getting the cops involved. Of course, that threw our office into a loop. The new office was in “near completion”, which probably meant in real speak (BS removed) that it would be ready in another 2 years.

The actual move came as a surprise. We knew that we were being moved at some time, but no one ever told us when, exactly. Then one day, moving trucks showed up, a bunch of big, burly, but polite guys came in, helped us put our belongings onto big pallets, ripped out all the equipment, and transported us to the new office. Just like that.

Of course, there were some minor issues, like why did the installer not put labels on the internet cables, or more importantly, does anyone know how to re-start the server once it’s been torn out of its moorings?

(No server = no internet access for two weeks. BTW, no contact with clients for two weeks either, not like that's important or anything.)

The major concern for the management was the location of the microwave and does Chris really have to have an expensive drying rack in the kitchenette, because it really doesn’t tie the room together. Plus, much to my chagrin, they insisted on keeping the rotting coffee maker of 18 years and it kept on being retrieved from the trash every time I threw it into there.

Don’t get me wrong. The office is nicer than what we had before. Everything is newer and having an actual kitchenette is nice, no more relying on a zoo-smelling bathroom to wash coffee mugs in. But there is a little issue about space and privacy. I got downgraded from a windowed office to the cubicle farm without any real walls. If I look behind me, I can see them looking back at me. ALL DAY LONG.
ps. They can hear me ripping one, and vice versa.

This is Raj, my former office mate, now once removed. He talks a lot about “7 Glacier Circle” a lot, which is his brand new house with heaps of trouble he had bought 5 minutes away from the old office (now he’s 30 minutes). The glass partition is the only thing we have that’s close a wall between anyone, but it’s still like building your new McMansion that’s pushing the easement boundaries and discovering that you can peer right into your neighbors bathroom from your dining room window.
Speaking of bathrooms, I guess I hit the jackpot on this one. Located on the 3rd floor, it’s hardly frequented, has stone tiles, smells clean, and is generally the office bathroom of my dreams. Also, no key required.

The office is a 10 minute drive from home, and that’s pretty kick ass. Its right by Oak Brook Mall, so there’s lots of shopping around, but I’m still unfamiliar with the location of everything. I did find Dominick’s Supermarket, and it’s a grocer wonder. Meredith and I decided to carpool more, so instead of dropping $100 a week to pollute our air, it’s now down about $10, which will mean more to spend on bike parts. :)

My very own piece of land on the cubicle farm. Yes, that is a post 108 miler donut next to the Power Tap computer.

View of the lobby below. A great vantage point to play "Poo Dollar" from.


E.L.F. said...

Who's the hot chick you got posted to your cubicle wall?

Proof also that if you cannot have donuts at home you will find a way to have them.

brandon said...

you can't just mention a game called "poo dollar" and not explain the rules!

Anonymous said...

don't tape things to the cubicles!!! tac them.


Brenda O said...

Wow... so many things to comment on... I once left a job because of the misc stains on the office chairs. Okay, that wasn't the only reason, but still....

Flatman said...

ditto brandon...we NEED to know how to play POO DOLLAR!!!

Terri said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't know what "poo dollar" is.

Christian Waterstraat said...

Oops, I forgot to explain the game. I posted a definition at the end of "Classic Ragbrai".