Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More New Stuff

Today I visited our soon-to-be new address. Office, that is, not home. For the first time in over 35 years, my company is relocating its headquarters from the outskirts/suburbia to a downtown location.

(Don't get excited, it's not like we are moving to Manhattan, just little old White Plains). We will also be moving from a building that is entirely our own space to a two-floor setup in a high-rise building with many other tenants.

While walking the space with another member of my group, she kept talking about what a change this will be for our culture. I thought she meant being able to walk to public transit...or being able to run an errand at the adjacent huge shopping mall...or having covered parking in the winter...all the GREAT things about this new place. But how naive of me not to think that people dwell on the negative when it comes to change.

When you make a move personally, there are a lot of psychological steps you take. You make the decision. Then, filled with excitement at your decision, you purge, you pack, you clean, and maybe you mourn a little, but then you return to your state of excitement and you go! When your company moves you multiply this by 300 people and then you add on the not insignificant element of upheaval that comes from the first step being skipped by 295 of the people involved. Yes, that's right, those 295 did NOT make the decision to move. (For the record, I am one of the 295, not the 5).

For some reason, in the business world, this means that 295 people feel it is their duty to feel betrayed, to bitch, to whine, to question, and even to revolt. I find it tremendously amusing, and equally frustrating, to watch people act out on this emotional reaction.

I often find myself asking, "If you were to get a job offer tomorrow at a new company how much of your decision to accept or not would be based on the square footage of your cubicle; the height of your cubicle walls; the identity of your cubicle neighbor; the distance between your desk and the bathroom, the break room, the exit; etc? When you look for a job do you think, I will only apply for a job on this street? or do you think within X miles of my home? If you accept that job, do you expect them to buy you a new chair, replace the art work on the adjacent wall, provide you with an extra filing cabinet or book shelf, or move the HVAC unit over your desk??"

Of course not. If you are like 99.9% of us working folks, you just want to know you like the company, you enjoy the work and do it well, you hopefully will like your boss, and you'll get some nice pay and benefits out of the deal.

Why is it then, that just because you have now worked for a company for 3 months to 30 years do you assume that you have the right to dictate individual needs into a space designed for 300 people? Why do you feel that in this economy, or really any economy, it is appropriate to bitch about the company saving money by reducing individual cubicle space by 2 square feet/person rather than doing a 10% layoff?

I understand. Really I do. It's change. No one loves change. But this is business folks. So let's make a business kind of deal.

Go home, put your feet up on your favorite cushion, have a glass of your favorite wine, watch your favorite TV channel. We won't interfere, I promise. We won't dictate that you move the couch 3 inches to the left, turn the volume down on your tv, and change from red wine to white. Essentially, I'm asking you to go home at the end of the day and LIVE YOUR LIFE AS YOU SEE FIT.

And tomorrow, in exchange, when you come into work....well...COME IN TO FREAKING WORK. Don't stress about cubicle arrangements, conference rooms, artwork, or the size and temperature of the breakroom fridge. Let the Company run its business as best it can.

And in the end, please remember, you have a job. Not only that, you have a good job for a good company that does good work.

Deal? Deal.


Erin said...

I have to move cubicles next week, and I just moved to this one a few months ago. I would sacrifice a few square inches to just be able to stay put. Especially because moving means I'll have to CLEAN MY DESK! AAAAH!

Your lobby is seriously pretty. I bet it smells good, too.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You make some really good points. And it never hurts to bitch about the inevitable.

Chelle said...

I am in half of what used to be a whole office, now for over a year do I have an office mate? NO, just half an office I share with an empty desk--I thought they were joking when the furniture designer came in and remarked that they were wasting space giving me a whole office to myself, now I just occupy half of it--aggravating!

Kate Hanley said...

Great post, I see this all the time. On the other hand, I love to move, I see it as an adventure. Good luck!