Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

I can't remember if I mentioned that my office was going to move location sometime in January. It's not an epic move--we're just moving a block away--but it's a whole politicized process because space allocations are being very precisely determined. The new operating philosophy of the institution, in a nutshell, is: Do not think you are anything special, we can cram you all into a giant, open location, without so much as a taller-than-chin-level-while-sitting divider wall breaking up your new cubicles. Also: Behold! Collaborative, idea-generating environments! Special people with certain titles merit offices with doors, but everyone else is out of luck. It's a bit of a bummer after one has been used to having one's own office for many years now, with one's chosen music piping gently through computer speakers, but all things change, I guess.

As part of this exciting new frontier in real estate, I was slated to share an office. As these things go, it was pretty much the best of all possible options (a friend of mine at the same institution, different department, works in a giant cube farm now and has to chain her stuff down, as well as listen to every stray coworker cough or throat clearing all day long. And don't even get her started on the staring). In addition to which, my office mate only works part time. This was all very thoughtful and deliberate on my boss's part; I was getting minion preferential treatment. Everybody else of my pay grade or lower is in Cubesville. I was not at all unhappy with the arrangement.

But because I know people who are involved in coordinating all this, I found out that my boss had actually done some subsequent shuffling to leave me with a solo office (as a result of a coworker's leaving, although he will be replaced. So, a bit baffling, but still). This is of course Not Done. My title forbids it. People are not pleased with it. There may be repercussions. I presume they prefer that the office remain vacant rather than cede it to a lower-tier person. or that we should be bunched up in a room so that cubicles can lie fallow outside it. Possibly there will be enforcement activity to be sure that I am not, in fact solely occupying the office.

God love my boss. I am not, in fact looking to spearhead a rebellion. And I'm likely already on the watch list, on account of Hal (strangely, shortly after he arrived, ordering similar was no longer an option for anyone). But I'm thinking of inventing an employee who is never there when people come around--the extra desk will look used, and anytime someone pokes a head in from Central Admin, I'll shake my head sadly and say, "you just missed him."

None of this is my fault, you see. I can't help it if people want to give me stuff, right? In any event, I'm guessing that's how Ted Stevens spins it.


Toby said...

Just tell me how many pieces of flair you want me to wear, and I'll wear it.

It all comes down to flair, my friend.

After eight years with my own office, I now share with two people; definitely a shock to the system.

Laura said...

Yeah, I definitely can see it. I spent a brief period sharing with someone while I was working on a proofreading project. I had my ear buds on and still, I found it pretty impossible to tune out what she was up to. And she's not particularly fidgety/distracting.

The benefit, however this shakes out, is that the main ocd distraction will be at the other end of the suite. No more rappings and tappings punctuating my day. Bliss.