Friday, June 20, 2014

Confessions of an Open Office Inmate

Have you heard of the open office concept? If thinking outside the box, syngergies, mindspace, brainstorming, exploring the space, trust falling and other business slang could be put into architectural form, it would be the open office. It is awful. It hurts productivity. What retarded manager bought into this pitch from the HR fatties or consulting firm? Has anyone ever hired a consulting firm, then said, "thanks for recycling old ideas but no thanks." I am now a corporate prisoner in one such layout.

Just two weeks ago, I was sitting in a nice, large area with seclusion and a great sweeping view from a relatively normal distance from the ground. I am now in Bentham's panopticon. In an underhanded way, this is probably to destroy all goofing off of the hard workers out of fear of being reported while the shitheads who do not care will goof as normal. Why do I thin this? Human nature plus two weeks of observations.

- Being 28 floors up offers a great view but seriously, it is a bit weird. I'm in a box in mid-air. It feels like such an artificial construct. Not sure if I can do the space capsule colony guys. Probably need a lunar or Mars base to live in; at least a ship that generates gravity by spinning.

- Any release I had from laughing at you funny guys on Twitter is gone. Then again, reviewing twitter feeds after work, some of you have degenerated into "more reactionary than thou", which is lame. Guys, if half your tweets are posing, you look like a douche. Never go full Assimov.

- The assholes who call home often or Skype WITH THEIR KIDS AT HOME waste an hour a day at least. Skyping with your kids at home. What is wrong with you?

- Fat people who eat small lunches but graze on junk all day. One cabinet drawer is the chip drawer for a fattie. She stuck a bag of chips in the drawer. Opens drawer, leaves bag open, and munches all afternoon.

- Wow, the world is full of unattractive people and people who were attractive but let themselves go. Give me back my high walls.

- Executives walk around asking why it is so quiet and why people aren't collaborating. Look at their ears, everyone has headphones and ear buds in to block out distractions.

- The volume of everyone's phone speaking voice dropped 20 decibels. This is a good thing because I work with some loud talkers but it hampers business calls because tone and emotion are gone. We've all gone robotic.

- Socializing or even discussing business things has dropped to nil. The collaboration thing has backfired. Because most business talk ended in a social bit. No one wants to risk narc potential now because everyone else will hear.

- If you talk to a direct report, everyone will hear how they goofed up. Before, you could pull them into your high walled area and have a quiet conversation. Now, 3 other people will hear how they derped something for the fifth time.

- If you ever doubted being a cog in the machine, this set up drives it home. Some thirty year vets at X level used to have offices or very secluded cubicles. Now they are just at the same desk as a newbie. We do not value "human capital", just work faster.

- Can't wait for that return call from prospective company X.

11 comments:

peterike said...

Oh hells yes. Open office situations are the worst thing ever. High walled cubicles are bad enough; you still have a lot of exposure. But that everybody-sees-everybody setup? THE. WORST.

Long ago I developed the theory that you can tell a person's importance in an organization by whether when you approach them their back is to you (like a cube dweller) or their face is to you (somebody in an office). One of the big fails of even high walled cubes is that you always have your back to the office. Even needing to pick your nose becomes an exercise in looking around and making sure the coast is clear. It's a nightmare.

And it's really, REALLY funny that "HR fatties" (lulz!) buy into this guff. I guess that's because they aren't very smart people, usually, though they are often very cagey (sort of like Obama: stupid but cagey, almost brilliantly so) (he would have made the perfect HR boss).

By the mercy of all the gods I've managed to have a work at home arrangement for some years now. It's glorious. Only I can't imagine ever having to go back to an office.

Why do I thin this?

I'll do the "thinnin'" around here, and doooon't you forget it!

Sorry, couldn't resist. I wonder how many readers will get the reference?

Scott's Bluff said...

wow, the world is full of assfag shitlords and the fatophobic shaming tactis they use. im sure your coworkers are so grateful now that they get to catch a glimpse of Procter & Gambel’s very own Adonis everyday. that woman snacking probably has diabetes for your information and “fatness” is simply not fitting into bullshit media images of what a woman’s body is “suppose to look like”. fatness is a disease. PERIOD. some people are born with genetics that makes them more hungary and causes retainment of more calories. It’s called science look it up.

and btw: IT TAKES A REAL MAN TO HANDLE HEAVY EQUIPMENT! cant believe I have to deal with this triggering bullshit so early.

peterike said...

Well played Scott's Bluff! A pitch-perfect imitation of a brain-addled Progressive douchebag!

the woodsman said...

I recommend going full "Office Space" on them. I did it and don't regret anything.

The last company I worked for did this and put me in this shitty little cubicle. I moved walls, took the VP's bookcase and put it in my office, and commandeered an adjacent empty cubicle.

The reaction was hilarious! The VP first sent out a company wide email asking for "whoever" took his bookcase to return it. I know he knew I had it!

When that didn't work, they sent the company interior designer to me to tell me that my cubicle didn't match their plan nor the company's standards. I said "what are you, the furniture nazi?". She just broke down and cried and ran off! She took it hard because she was an older German immigrant! My god that was funny.

Then they sent the "project manager" for the transition to the cubicle farm. I told him to fuck off and he left.

I never heard another word about it.

I basically adopted a complete "fuck off" attitude to company leadership once I realized how valuable I was to them. There was no way in hell they would fire me. Needless to say I did other outrageous things at that place.

In the end I quit and started my own business. Now my old company contracts with my business on many projects.

The morals of the story are:
1. Competent White men are the most valuable thing in the world.
2. As a competent White man feel free to do outrageous things to keep your sanity in the corporate world.
3. When you finally start your own business, a competent White man should make corporate fucks pay a premium for his services. Don't hesitate to fuck over your enemies - they WILL pay because you are valuable.

PA said...

Competent White men are the most valuable thing in the world

I like that. So true. Every White college senior should be reminded of this.

eah said...

But that everybody-sees-everybody setup? THE. WORST.

My first job as an engineer was in such a setup -- a large-ish room, with several other engineers and designers spread about, each with a desk and a PC (this was in the mid 80's -- the PC was a TI Professional with a whopping 10mb hard disk!). And I actually did not mind the open-ness -- the fact that everyone could see everyone else.

And my current setup is not a whole lot different: I share again a large-ish (not as big as the first job) office with 3 others, but within this office it is very 'open'.

Anonymous said...

Most HR wonks approve of the Open Office concept because they exempt themselves from it. "Privacy Concerns", "Confidential Information", "Salary Plannimg", "Discipline Issues" - they know they'll be in an office with a door.

Kristophr said...

Hmmm ... a reversion to Victorian office management.

All they need is some skinflint behind a desk raised on a platform to lambaste them for not studiously doing their work.

Anonymous said...

What I notice most about open office spaces is that they are always lined by a row of private offices occupied by people who think open office spaces are good - for everyone else but them. At least where I work they don't even pretend to be progressive they just don't want to spend money even on cubicles. Its a big room with long tables and chairs all of which seem to have come from a yard sale or maybe the dump.

Eric Mueller said...

I've had some horrific office arrangements. In one job, I sat right outside the conference room, shared a cubicle with a printer, and worked next to the coffee pot. I currently sit in what I call a fishbowl.

I keep saying I can't wait for the idiot Baby Boomers to retire so we can actually get work done. Few managers have any way to judge work accomplishment besides your ass being in a chair at a set point in space and time where they can see it.

Jones said...

"Has anyone ever hired a consulting firm, then said, 'thanks for recycling old ideas but no thanks.'"

Yes -- one company I worked with refused to pay the consultancy's invoice on precisely those grounds. They wanted solutions that would actually work well.

I heard that there was a "settlement" later on, which meant that the consultancy got paid for some of their "work", but got shafted for most of what they wanted to charge.

I suspect they got just enough to cover the hourly rates of the people they'd gulled into providing "services", and not much more. (Serves them right.)

"This is what you want, this is what you get ..."