Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cubeification Cancellation

Brought to you by the good folks at I love these guys. They’ve got a plethora of similar witty and hilarious cards, calendars, etc. that parody those uplifting, team building, motivational posters that cover the walls of corporate America. We’ve got them sprinkled through the hallways and conference rooms where I work. The parody version above, however, is more appropriate for our topic today, specifically, how dumb people are in groups.

First, the background. Remember a few months back, in this post, how I was whining about being moved out of the window office I had occupied for 16.5 years? My fellow window office dwellers and I were all moved downstairs into a rabbit warren/cave-like area, completely bereft of any natural light. (And, yes, I do think I’m developing a case of rickets, thankyouverymuch.) Anyway, since that time, the office space that we vacated has remained untouched, unrazed, unmodified in any way whatsoever. We were all thinking this was a little odd, since there had been such a rush to get us out of there. Hurry, hurry, out of the sunlight, into your caves! The cubes are coming! The cubes are coming!

Turns out we were right to be suspicious. An explanation came down this week to those of us at the peon™ level. The cubification is CANCELLED! That’s right. There will be no cubes! None, zip, nada. And guess what? We’re all moving back upstairs into the space that was vacated last fall.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m thinking it too. Whaaa?

Apparently, nobody got around to adding up all the numbers until after my coworkers and I had been moved. But then somebody did add up all the numbers and figured out that moving us out of existing offices, and then spending thousands of dollars to tear out all the walls and buy cube walls with built-in modular furniture and rewire the entire freaking building WASN’T GOING TO SAVE ANY MONEY. I mean, of course, it certainly seemed like spending all that money for no obvious reason would have saved the company money in the long term, but it actually doesn’t. (slap self on forehead) How could that be??

Don’t get me wrong. I couldn’t be happier that we’re not getting cubes and we get to move back into a space with some sunlight. But it seems to me that maybe someone should have looked at the big picture before any of this started. Did nobody think of this? Am I the only one who likes to have all the data before making a decision?? Hmm, maybe I could be a consultant.

Now the jockeying for space has begun. We’re not just moving back into the offices that we had. No, we’re making lemonade out of the pointless office moving. This is an excellent opportunity to “co-locate” teams. People who work on the same team will now have offices right next to each other instead of down the hall from each other. Just think of all the time that will save us. When I pick up my phone to call someone, the connection will happen at least a nanosecond or two faster on account of the shorter wires. Same goes for the email I send to everyone. And , oh how wonderful, I get to listen that one loudmouth all day every day instead of just in staff meetings. Boy, everything is going to be a lot better once we’re “co-located.”

So, nobody knows exactly which office anyone is getting. I imagine that all sorts of deals are being cut and bribes are changing hands, even as we speak. There’s no guarantee that I’ll even get a window office, but I’m hoping that my seniority plus my reputation for belligerence and occasional crying will sway whoever is making the decision and give me an edge.

And there’s one more little issue. Some genius decided to go ahead and sell all the office furniture in the vacated office space. Just before we moved, a memo was emailed around, telling us that we couldn’t take any of our furniture with us and there would be temporary furniture for us in our new space. It also said that that we should use the move as an “opportunity” to reduce the amount of stuff that we had.

I was skeptical of the “opportunity.” Plus, the phrase “temporary furniture” just doesn’t evoke the mental image of a comfortable work space.

I decided to raise a fuss and was allowed to keep my terminal table and office chair, so I’m OK. My desk is a bit rickety, but I only use it to store stacks of paper, so it’s not a big problem. Others, however, have a complete complement of the aforementioned “temporary” office furniture. The stuff is literally on the verge of collapse. See, they sold all the good furniture (that they could get something for), and kept the crappy furniture (that they couldn’t get anything for), in the belief that we would soon not need any of it. Which would have made sense if we were actually going to move into cubes. But since we’re not moving into cubes, selling all the furniture was, like, the second stupidest thing ever, right behind moving us out of offices and then moving us back into the same offices, which, I think you’ll agree, is the winner of the “stupidest thing ever” contest.

Now we’re all wondering if we have to keep the crappy furniture. Maybe they’ll issue everyone a roll of duct tape to keep the desks and chairs and shelves from falling apart? No, we’ll have to share the rolls, one for each team. I’m sure of it. Sigh.

On one positive note, I did get a 24-inch LCD monitor out of the whole cube fiasco. Nearly every CRT monitor in the building was replaced with a flat LCD monitor because of reduced space in the cubes. I’m putting that third on the “stupidest thing ever” list, but I’ll happily keep the monitor.


Blogger Em said...

Congratulations....sorta. The move back to the windows with an actual office is great. Co-locating...well it could turn out to be great. And the new monitor is super. The 'temporary' furniture...not so good, it seems.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Whippersnapper said...

Hey, you have a reputation for occasional crying at work? ME TOO!! Maybe we're related! (My maternal grandmother was from Indiana...)

As for the relocation mess, well, it's all probably pretty typical. You wouldn't believe some of the dumb and annoying things my school division has made me do.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Schmoopie said...

The more I hear about the corporate world, the more I hate it! I am logical and practical and these traits just don't seem to apply these days. I do hope you get some natural light in your new-old space. It does a body good!

9:59 PM  
Blogger Jazz said...

Damn, I love office living... I mean seriously, does it get any better than that?

Why do we do this? Why? oh why?

8:05 AM  
Blogger Kara said...'re office sounds as efficiently run as mine is! Anyone else feel the pressing urge to watch Brazil?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I'm illogical and impractical; it sounds as if I'd fit right in. I could chat to other people on the stairs as I moved my things upstairs to the new desk carrying only one thing at a time.

1:31 PM  
Blogger lushgurl said...

I saw your comment on Jocelyn's post and thought I'd stop by... Apparently I needed to have (another)laugh today! Your post is so well written, and I can relate to the craziness you wrote about!

4:58 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

*sigh* ...It constantly amazes me how most bosses ever got to be bosses.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Just the term "co-locate" gives me the shivers.

I hate bureacracy. I hate workplaces with no windows. I love the card that you used to start your post. This was a great read.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

em, Thanks. I'm trying to focus on the window and the monitor.

whippersnapper, Yep, it's true. I have been known to sometimes indulge in "office crying." Extreme frustration and anger comes out as tears for me. I hate it, but there's nothing to be done about it.

schmoopie, Thanks, I am hoping for some natural light real soon. :)

jazz, I'm sure it keeps somebody employed, but it would be nice if it didn't have to impact my life so much.

kara, I've never seen that movie. I think I'm living it.

sam, Yep, you would fit right in. Maybe you could plan our move back upstairs. :)

lushgurl, Hey thanks, and welcome to my little corner of hell.

anne, It's the ol' Peter Principle. For some reason, if someone is really good at their job, there is an overwhleming need to give them a different job.

jocelyn, I agree. I hate all those corporate-speak words and phrases, like "repurpose" and "streamline efficiencies" and "value-add" and "leveraging."

10:05 AM  

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