Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Monday, November 05, 2007

But does he get to keep his stapler?

About a million years ago, I worked in a very large tech support center for a very large company, which subcontracted to a much larger company. I was trained by a very poor computer program, about how to deal with computer calls. After a month, I began working nights, and was the sole night guy for our group, but there were several other groups with other night guys throughout the building. The room that I worked in was several hundred feet wide by several more hundred feet long, broken up into little villages by 5.5 foot cubicles.

We had major thoroughfares, minor avenues, side streets, and dead-ends built among the cubicles. When some loud noise would erupt, people would stand up and look over them to see what was going on. This phemenon was known as "prairie-dogging," which sort of puts the entire lifestyle in the complex into perspective.

At the time, the $8.25 an hour that I was paid to work there for 60 hours a week was far and away the most money that I had ever made in my life. I dropped out of school to make more of it. I took overtime whenever it was offered.

It was Hell on earth.

A few years later, when the movie Office Space came out, it hit me squarely between the eyes. The cube culture.
The middle managers.
The consultants who swooped in with no clue about what they were affecting, and how it was going to end up.

The sensory deprivation that contributed to intense, profane (seriously!) rage, and a need to blow off steam.

I don't think I could do it again.
_ _ _


Wired magazine held a contest to see who had the saddest cubicle. The winner's cube doesn't look too bad, until you learn that: it's walled entirely with heavily-used file cabinets. There's no windows (well, that's standard), and the overhead lights are broken. It's adjacent to a parking garage. And it's next to a poorly-ventilated restroom, and the employee microwave.

Niiiiiiice.

I think I can safely scoreboard that guy.

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7 Comments:

At Monday, November 05, 2007 4:27:00 PM, Blogger Rabbit said...

A couple of those look like Xanadu compared to what I've had before. Even when I was on a contract during a phaseout/transfer offshore project there were 3 of us sharing one modestly large cube, tripping over chairs and wires. At least the obscene billing rate made up for some of it.

The only stuff I've got in my current cube are a lolcat image, a dozen empty paper coffee cups, 2 clocks, and the takeout menu for a Greek place I never eat at. Been in this cube 10 months; maybe I should at least make an effort to accessorize. One of the folks here has so much crap in their cube it looks like a Mardi Gras float.

Regards,
Rabbit.

 
At Monday, November 05, 2007 4:36:00 PM, Blogger Assrot said...

Oh man! How well I know your pain. I have one of those nice little cubicles you speak of and I am the night time guy. It is still hell on earth but thanks to the nature of the work I do I make about 12 times what you were making an hour.

I have a lot of time, experience and education invested to make that kind of money but let me tell you, the job still sucks ass. If it were not for what I have invested in this job and the retirement that I will enjoy in less than a decade, I would be gone my friend.

Thankfully, I don't deal with direct customer support. I'm the guy that is oncall 24x7 that is expected to fix it when nobody else can figure it out.

I guess we are all cube boobs in one way or another. Me with my cubicle that I only leave when things can't be fixed remotely and you with your squad car (cruiser? , patrol car?, whatever they call it nowadays) that you leave when you have to arrest some drunk or knock a few heads here and there.

May God go with you and bring you home to your family safe and sound everyday. I see a lot of cops getting killed in the line of duty these days and it is constantly in the back of my mind since all my brother and sisters and one daughter are all in law enforcement.

You guys do a hell of a job for damn little money. I wouldn't do it for twice what most cops are making.

Good Luck be with you.

Joe

 
At Monday, November 05, 2007 5:27:00 PM, Blogger John B said...

reading your entry and the comments I have nothing but infinite compassion for you three. My suck job was building keyboards at Key Tronic in Cheney (Pronounced Chee-Knee NOT Chain-Me.-note to Dick), We built keyboards for the 21st century with 18th century methods, sometimes 19th as they would madly splurge on a moving conveyor belt.

Hell if it weren't for the police, I'd still be delivering pizza. That was the ideal job, I'd bank my check and live off my tips. I was in a hell of a lot better shape than the Kaiser workers when Hurwitz bought their plant and closed them down, intending to sell the cheap electricity to enron...

I wouldn't work in a cube, fortunately my job description doesn't call for it. I'm mostly wiring and consulting....
cheers
john b

 
At Monday, November 05, 2007 9:04:00 PM, Blogger Not Afraid to Use It said...

I actually had my dh watch Office Space in anticipation of his new job in the hospitality industry. He had been working in Europe with beautiful ergonomically correct desks and wide open spaces and windows. He couldn't believe that movie could really be a true rendition of how life in a US office was--until he showed up at his new job.

 
At Monday, November 05, 2007 11:59:00 PM, Blogger Canadian Girl said...

This reminds me of many years ago when I worked at an ad agency. A radio station asked callers to phone in with their tales of cheap company Christmas parties. I won a pair of ski lift tickets with my tale:

Management arranged a one-hour lunch in our boardroom for our Christmas party, catered by the restaurant in the building. We still had to take client calls during the hour (leaving our food to get cold as we went to our desks to work) and when our hour was up, we were presented with the bill to pay. Say what?

 
At Tuesday, November 06, 2007 3:48:00 AM, Blogger Hammer said...

Ahh the good old cubicle days.

I was actually able to sleep in mine because it had a secret area where people couldn't see into unless they walked all the way inside.

 
At Tuesday, November 06, 2007 6:49:00 PM, Blogger BobG said...

Those are bigger than the one I had while working tech support.

 

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