punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Neutralizing My Office

When I first started in the tech world, I worked at a desk that was shared with someone else. I got to stare at all his knickknacks and photos while I answered the phone. I wanted my stuff up around the desk, but never got the nerve. Then I got promoted to my own desk, and put up some toys like other people had. Then someone stole a few of them, which made me mad, so I didn't put up anything that couldn't get stolen. Then we kept having layoffs, about once every four to six months (and this was during the dotcom boom!), and the creed was, "Don't put up more than you can carry away in one box." I stuck to that until I left that job.

[ Many jobs later...]

My office is full of weird crap. When I started working at this place, I didn't even have an office or even a pod. I sat at a huge desk with 4 monitors and two phones that I shared with the rest of the staff. The only person who had an office was my boss. Then I got promoted, and I got to share an office with a longtime friend, and buddy, I decorated. At one time, I had Christmas lights everywhere. I had LEGOs, fun lamps, you name it. But I mostly had the office to myself, because my buddy had to work in the lab all the time. Then they split ups into two different departments, and they never got an office mate for me, so I had a huge, two-man office all to myself. The dotcom bubble had now burst, and then we had the 9/11 thing, and now every six months or so, more layoffs. Then they moved me to a smaller single-person office. I am happy here.

Then they had a buyout, then a HUGE swath of layoffs, and people in the offices left and right around me got laid off, including my good buddy. Then the buyout went sour ... well, I still have a job here, but everything has changed. The fun drained away from the workplace like a slashed corpse loses bodily fluids. I remembered my "one box rule" for several jobs back, and so I have gone about the beginning of the removal of a lot of stuff from my office.

Now half my toys are gone. I have tossed out a lot of manuals I no longer need anymore, and some that might be valuable I have left on the office's unofficial "freebie" table to be scavenged by fellow coworkers. I have reduced my mug collection to just one main travel mug I drink coffee from every other morning (depending on need). I gave away a lot of spare hardware I had collected from system we were just throwing away, like floppy drives, ISA NICs, and other weird peripherals. Also some software, like tons of CDs with StarOffice 5.2 on them. I have kept a lot of keyboards and mice, plus some old hubs, tons of power cords and LAN cables, and some stuff I may need later. I wish I could take some of it home, but it's not mine to take; I didn't pay for it. Besides, I have enough of those at home as it is.

I still have some favorites, like my Buddy Christ, my Goth nodders, an Opree Sea Fish, and my Futurama tin sign that sarcastically reminds me I am not paid to think. Plus a few small things, and two novelty lamps. The lamps are probably the next to go home, and soon, I will have reduced the office to one box of stuff to prepare for that inevitable day when I get the statement of doom: "Grig, can I see you in my office for a moment?"

It's a sad, but inevitable fading of the soul that was once the dotcom era.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000027.html
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