Tuesday, August 14, 2012


kw: musings, workplaces

A career has an arc, and mine has apparently peaked, some time in the recent past. I am now officially working my way down the ladder of success. After a decade or so in an office with a window, today I finished moving into a cubicle in a large room with nine co-workers, including our supervisor. The larger group to which we belong is bringing everyone from scattered locations into a single building. At least I won't be sharing an office.

After 45 years on the job, at a variety of companies and institutions, I've had nearly every work arrangement a desk worker can have. My first job was in a laboratory setting, and I had a desk in a corner. Later, working as a draftsman/design engineer, I was in a low-walled cubicle in a space almost too big to see across. Even sitting down, I could see and be seen across the cavernous room. Since then, I have usually had a private office.

The last thing I did after packing my stuff was measure the office, by the simple expedient of counting ceiling tiles. Twelve 2'x4' tiles, plus a row of partial tiles, comes to just over 100 square feet (9.3-9.4 sq m). The ceiling tiles above the new space number precisely 10, for 80 sq ft (7.4 sq m). However, there is a five-drawer horizontal file just outside the entryway, which would have been inside were this an office. It now contains my 40-year collection of algorithms and other analytical projects. I have as much shelf space as I had before. There is also a large common space with a table, where one or another of us can sometimes be found doing paperwork that takes more space than a desk affords. So in a sense, I have more space and flexibility than before.

I find I am not much bothered or distracted by hearing the others when they talk together or on the phone. The walls of this cubicle are pretty high (64" = 1.63m), and they absorb a lot of sound. So perhaps my colleagues won't be too bothered that I frequently talk as I work. I warned them that I talk and mutter almost constantly. That's not exactly true, it overstates my habit, but it is better to set expectations in a beneficial direction.

Now that the several days of move preparation and moving are done, I can turn my mind back to work and to productive pastimes like this blog.

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