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19 February 2009 @ 12:21 pm
Office junk  
So, many years ago, I had an office at AOL. I knew it was special when I had it, and I never took it for granted. At first, I shared it with stodgycat, but his work had him up in the wardialing lab so much, I pretty much had the office to myself. Then I got another office that was for a single person. I liked that, too. So for about 4 years, I had an office of some kind where I was alone.

Then AOL moved me to a 2-person office with 4 people in it, because they were in the middle of a move. Then I got a pod that was really a 3-wall affair, and my back was at the end of a major hallway. So anyone in the building in that hallway could see my monitor, and all sounds of that hallway echoed and funneled into my pod. It was really hard to get work done, so I started wearing a pair of over-the-ear headphones to mixed success. Then I got another pod that was newly built, but again, was a 3-wall kind of thing with my back to the opening. It's not that I think people are reading my mail over my shoulder, it's just kind of... irritating to have my back to traffic.

When I knew I was being put back into a pod, I got this "Cube Door" from their online site. It came 2 for $30, and stodgycat went halfsies on me to get one for his own office pod. Sadly, ever since then, I have been in 3-walled pods, which means there's nothing for the Cube Door to clip onto, so it still sits in my den, still in the bubble wrap it came shipped in back in 2004.

In addition to this, principia sent me this huge iMate monitor mirror which was exactly what I wanted, but work said no. Oh, monitor mirrors were allowed, just "not that big." This was for "security reasons," where I suspect "security" really was another word for "bullshit." AOL sold smaller mirrors called CHIMPs , which meant something like "Corner Hugging [something] Mirror [something]." They had the AOL logo on them and were sold in their gift shop, which was why "they were allowed." I still have it somewhere...

Where I work now, I don't even have 3 walls. I have one wall and one chest-high cubicle panel held up by friction. Until a few months ago, I had two walls held up by friction, but then I moved to a window so at least I can look out at lovely [cough] downtown Silver Spring. Sadly, I cannot use my iMate or CHIMP, because I have an LCD monitor with no ledge to stick it to. Plus, my back faces a sub-hallway, and not a real traffic prone area.

Maybe someday I'll get to use these things.
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Merry Pseudonym: Workamelia_eve on February 19th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Heh. When we moved to our new building in 1995, they had a bunch of user committees to ask us what kind of cubicles we wanted. They even set up models of three or four different types so we could try them out and comment. Then they went ahead and got the cheapest modules anyway. Of course, this was back in the day of the big CRT monitors -- the first generation cubes had desks too shallow to hold any monitor over 15"! The also were three-walled affairs. I refused, therefore, to call mine a cube. It was, and remains, a stall. I also calculated that cars got more square footage per person in our parking lot than workers did in their stalls. Since becoming a manager, I have my own office and I really, really appreciate it. For one big thing, I can turn off the fluorescent lights and use my own lamps with incandescent bulbs. It's still noisy (I think they are made of Lego) but it is a lovely illusion anyway. No windows in here, though.
punkwalruspunkwalrus on February 19th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for using the term "stalls," because you're right, that's what they are. Maybe I should call them stables as well. :)
(Anonymous) on February 20th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
from Missie
Several years ago I was on a project where we got to design our cubby layout as part of a renovation. We asked for and got big cutouts in one wall of each cubical. These were lined up so you were looking at the back of your neighbor's monitor and then across to the next pair of cubes.

This mean that instead of having to get up and walk over to a neighbor (or shout over the walls), we could just tilt our heads to look around the monitors and chat. Since our project required a lot of interaction, this saved a lot of time and shouting.

I know many offices would hate a set-up like this, but for us, it was a great balance of privacy and practicality. We also had an uncarpeted floor, so it was easy to hear our boss walking up behind us :-)