Sunday, September 07, 2014

I Do, You Do, We All Do for Mildew!

Look, I have a laptop and an internet connection. What do you expect?

They're moving our office at work. More to the point, they've already moved it. Everything else is on us, the humble employees, to show up at the new location at 8:00 tomorrow morning. But what if we didn't? Would it even be considered a strike if we all showed up to work as scheduled, just at the wrong place?

I probably won't be able to get hold of everybody tonight.

They tell us the move is temporary. The permanent location had a severe rainwater leak, leading to damage in the drywall and carpets. We've been moved out so they can rip all that up and redo it, then bring us all back.

The thing is, the new location is almost cartoonishly dismal. It's an old equipment hangar in a largely disused piece of property which is, in fact, subject to fairly imminent sale (though the grounds have been informally appropriated by the surrounding neighborhood for use as a public park). The building features cement-block walls and a grand total of four small, narrow windows for a cavernous room housing a severely cramped cubicle maze for about twenty-five people. Long biers of fluorescent lights hang from the ceiling. The air intake vents are red and flaking with rust. The breakroom features several strategically placed rat traps, left behind by the previous tenants. The carpet is thin, worn, and held together in places with duct tape. On my first visit there I squished a cockroach that had made me wait entirely too long for the ladies' room.

For reasons that have not yet become entirely clear - to me, anyway - there stands outside a majestic monument to highway overpass construction materials. There is a wall made of various different textured surfaces standing some 20 feet high and 30 feet wide. It's ringed by a walkway, with thoughtfully placed park benches, so you can sit and enjoy the solitude in its shadow. The walkway leads to a small parking area where there's an informational kiosk, which is blank. It's a bit surreal really.

What I'm wondering is if they are actually going to renovate our old offices at all? Because it seems to me that all they have to do is stick us in this dump for three months and at the end of it, we'll be so grateful to return to our own sunny, airy, spacious workspaces that we won't even notice the creeping tendrils of mold snaking across the walls and gradually sucking the life from our office plants.

We'll see how it goes. The new location was until recently occupied by part of the division I worked in when I first started at this agency. "We were told it was just a temporary move too," one of them told our move coordinator during an early site visit. "We've been here 11 years."

Our division director, who has a background in marketing, calls it a great adventure. And so it is! Let the adventure begin.


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