Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let's get this thing started

Welcome to Prairie Doggin'! Why don't you have a seat?

No...seriously...why don't you have a seat? Can't you tell this is a cube? Cubes don't automatically come with any more seats than the one required by the occupant, so certainly you didn't expect to find one waiting here for you, did you? So why don't you mosey on over a couple of rows in the cube farm until you find an extra one and then roll it on back over here. Or, better yet, I think Marlene is out today, so you can just take hers. You might have to spend a few minutes adjusting it because she's got back problems and has the height and back tension set just to her liking, which really never works for anyone else, but I won't tell her if you don't. Of course, I'll have to spend half an hour listening to her re-adjust it and complain the whole time whenever she gets back, but, frankly, I'm kinda de-sensitized to whatever sounds come out of her cube after all these years so don't worry about it.

Got it? Great! Now...why don't you have a seat!

So here's the deal: I've spent the better part of the last twenty-five years working in one type of job or another. I've done retail, sales, food service, banking, advertising, insurance, fund-raising, IT, operations, analysis, manual labor and mindless labor. I've managed a staff of over one hundred and spent time where I was barely able to manage myself. I've been hired, fired, laid-off, promoted and demoted. I've run my own business. I've temped. I've, well, you get the idea...I've done a lot of things.

Right now I've got one of those jobs where it's far easier to make up a very vague description about what I do rather than get into any actual detail because it generally results in people either being confused, not caring or some combination of the two. Even the industry I'm in typically requires me fudge the description because folks tend to either not have any idea what it is (and explaining it usually takes more effort than I'm willing to invest) or will pretend to know what it is and be so far off-base that I'm forced to smile politely and say "sure, that's what we do" (again, time, investing, not wanting to do it). Sometimes I just tell them what building I work in (because it's a pretty unique building), and even though that does nothing to describe the business, it satiates their need to know.

Oh, and I work in a cube, if you haven't picked up on that already.

Ultimately, though, that's the reason I'm starting this blog. There are a lot of blogs out there about HR and IT and Management, but you don't seem to hear too much from us faceless, nameless drones who serve as the gears and cogs in the mighty machines of industry.  I'm amazed by workplace dynamics and fascinated by just how similar they can be in spite of how different one type of job is from the next. It doesn't matter if you work in a Fortune 500 company or as a waitress at some greasy spoon. The truth is that each and every one of us has the potential to deal with that crazy co-worker, overbearing boss, demanding customer, arbitrary policy, poor pay, disparate treatment or any of the other countless, zany things that can pop up simply by virtue of being employed. So while I'll probably end up focusing mostly on workplace issues revolving around white collar/office environments, I certainly won't limit myself to that. And while it's much easier (and fun) to talk about the negatives, I'll make the occasional effort to bring some positives to light as well.

But no promises.

Now, if you'll kindly return Marlene's seat, I've got to get back to work. But feel free to pop back in from time to time, because otherwise, what's the point?