punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Navigating the Maze

I have a meeting in less than 2 hours. It's in "The Renoir" conference room. I don't have a clue where that is in this building of little twisting passages, all different. We literally have dozens of conference rooms and "meeting pits." They can never tell you where a meeting room is, like "second floor, near room 234B," no, you have to just know. There are no signs for most of the rooms, and those that do have signs are partially outdated.

My former workplace was also just as bad. They named meeting rooms, printers, and servers after mountains. Like, "We're having a meeting in Denali," or "I faxed the form you needed to the Andes printer." Now, in this office, they had a huge cube farm, with various hallways between pods that changed frequently. And thus, so did the meeting rooms and equipment. You kind of figured that the meeting rooms were the pods with higher walls, but they ran out of lower walls at some point, so that became a red herring. Their reasoning for naming meeting rooms this way was because they moved so much. "We can't have addresses for things that move so much." I am not sure what "so much" meant, because most of the pods didn't move at all in the many years I worked there. Some of the meeting rooms did, but most of them completely disappeared as the were tuned into yet more office pod space. I thought for the average new visitor this was hellish. I mean, you knew where all the stuff around your group was, "The McKinley is that unlabeled area near the kitchen, next to the printers Rockies and Kilimanjaro." But if you were on the other side of the building? Big guess. And sometimes the meeting rooms did move around, so your memories of last year may take you into some other person's office. "Yes?" "Is this the Alps?" "No, it moved three pods down."

Sounds like a Monty Python skit.

My current workplace has them named after famous painters. We have also lost meeting rooms to make way for more pods, but most of the offices in this building are static drywalled places with real doors, so the meeting areas never change. We also have a numbering system, albeit rather cryptic. I mean, it makes sense when you break it down, like "52A:A03," which means Building 5, second floor, A wing, room A03." Of course, the "wings" are arbitrarily divided, meeting rooms don't have room numbers, and some room numbers are out of order amid various "clumps" of pods mixed with drywalled offices with windows. Hallways are not straight lines, but kind of wind around like gaps between Tetris pieces. It is VERY common for me to wander around, fooled by office numbers, and go, "52A:A01... A03... A05... A07... B12... B14... WTF? I need 52A:A09!!! Argh!!!" And then I can't find my way back because starving programmers have eaten all my breadcrumbs. People around those areas are rarely any help because all they know is what's close to them by visual clues near doors. "Turn right at the poster of the Ferrari, then you pass by Selma's office, which has a lot of plants, and then turn right at the second whiteboard, and go through the fourth door from the right, right down a long hallway, and then left at a spiked plant and a picture of our campus from the sky." And then you get lost anyway, because he forgot to mention there were only 2 doors, and the hallway actually goes left...

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000480.html
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