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Posted by gustav at 10:01PM, Wednesday, December 03rd, 2003

The Stars' Tennis Balls

The location of our team at work has been changed. In fact, we're now in a different building altogether. Whenever the higher-ups have moved my office in the past, it's been a Bad Thing, so I'm worried.

It's not as though this were my dream job, of course, or even that I could picture myself working here much in the way of long-term at all. Still, I can be forgiven, I think, for mourning my move first from a 8x8 cube to an 8x6 one, and now to what I understand is properly referred to as a "corral" -- basically it's a crenellation in the wall filled with bits of cubes, amounting to one approx. 15 x 8 cube. In other words, in the six months I've been on this contract, I've gone from my own cube, to a smaller one, to one less than twice the size of the first, and also filled with three other people.

That's bad. What's worse is that in the new office, you need to get a key in order to use the restroom. Visions of public junior high float in my head. "Teacher, may I have the hall pass to use the bathroom?" The key is attached to a giant piece of black acrylic. And it doesn't actually seem to work on the lock of the men's bathroom. (The women's key is attached to a white piece of acrylic.) I guess they keep stealing them if they don't put the keys on absurdly large objects. I was informed we could get our own personal keys. For a refundable $10 rental fee. Why the bathrooms merit a key in the first place, I still cannot fathom. You need to swipe an authorized badge through a digital reader to access the elevators in the first place, so I have trouble picturing illicit bathroom usage. But then this is the world of corporate paranoia, so who knows.

Other fun little extras include the decade-old carpet with strategically-placed rips, and the network of badly painted-over patches running down the hallway. This whole office suite seems decrepit and disused. I almost never see anyone in the halls outside our office, and I'm not sure any of the other businesses here is even active. Maybe they're all run by zombies. The low-hanging coffee-stain-colored suspended ceilings add a little something to the ambience as well. Maybe they turn that color because of the incessant unbearable heat.

On the other hand, there is a small amount of natural light. Not a lot, but it's better than the last space, where the windows to the outside were all secreted away inside managers' offices behind closed doors. Also the Flavia coffee maker produces a mean green tea, although the using it for the preparation of capuccino involves a mystifyingly complex multi-step process. At least the machine hasn't sprayed scalding beverages at me yet.

Walking across the busy street, going through security in our old building, and then getting aboard an elevator, just to attend meetings, has a certain -- ahem -- charm to it. But I can't help feeling that, as always, when upper managers shuffle people around like this, it's to exert control and remind us that we are but pawns in the world of the corporate giants -- you know, the guys who don't get their expense reports scrutinized. It was a bad sign at the last job I worked at in Tucson. It was a bad sign at DMOD. And it could presage quite bad tidings here. As usual, the corporate whores rearrange their play people, their dollies, for amusement, keeping track of only the short-term bottom line, forgetting the hidden but inevitable costs of bad morale, disorganization, and resentment.

At least, on my first day here, my cubemates are all absent. I'm sure I'll have a less rosy picture to paint when I'm surrounded by the three of them -- two arguing about the best use of our content-management system, the other chattering on her cell phone after it buzzes, vibrating the whole cube-desk, whilst simultaneously chirping out a mind-sogging ringtone. I can't wait.
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