Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Office Upgrade

I would like to take a moment to memorialize the itsy bitsy cubicles that have housed me for most of my career.

I recently moved to a new office with real walls, a door, visitor seating and a separate storage room.
For a health department employee, this is pretty cool. Until recently, I worked with most of my colleagues at a building subdivided into dark gray, smaller-than-fire-code-permits cubes.  Really, as if cubicles weren't depressing enough, who chose that color?  There was no storage space there, so co-workers would sneak storage into the crevices of your cube when you weren't looking.  If you were foolish enough to go on maternity leave—I did it twice—you would have to dig to get back to your desk when you returned.

Prior to my health department gig, I worked as a research assistant. As you can probably guess by the lofty title "assistant," I was pretty low on the totem pole there. Every time they would get a new PhD to work on some new grant, he/she would envy my space and I would get booted to some less desirable space. Finally, the other assistants and I were sharing a hot, dark, tiny room so awful I was confident no one smart enough to get a PhD would want it. Imagine my shock when I was kicked out of that pitiful excuse for a room as well! No, no one wanted that room, but the newest PhD did envy the server room and I was booted so the server could live in my place.

I did not earn my new office with a promotion. The Health Department recently "reorganized" and for undisclosed reasons, moved my team to a different bureau located at this new building. (I think the reasons are undisclosed because the decision involved drawing straws, or perhaps rock-paper-scissors.)

The government has guidelines for how big your office should be, based on your title. (No, need is not considered.) My new office exceeds my official worthiness in size. I get it because the building was purchased with rooms already built in it and it would have been too expensive to remodel.

There have been some downsides to the move. As I had expected, I have missed lunches with my friends at the old building or my mom, who volunteered down the street from it.  Of course, meetings are infinitely less convenient now that most of my co-workers are across town. Less expected, for my first couple weeks at the new locale, I was unable to print, fax, copy, update my website or do a myriad of other typical office errands. I feel that I have really bonded with tech support during this transition, as we have spent so much time together.  I can now do more of these things than before, but tech support and I are not through hanging out yet.

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