There are many uncertainties when a person joins a workgroup environment. Will the person in the cube next to me use their perfume as a marinade? Does anyone count the number of trips that I make to the bathroom? Will I get hollered at for standing on my chair to talk to the person in the next cube over? Luckily, my fears have gone unfounded on these questions unless the NSA is keeping track of me pee breaks or something.
The chief concern of our workgroup boils down to two simple words. Temperature control. I discovered early on that he who holds the rights to the thermostat essentially holds the secrets to the universe.
Working in a fancy place called the “Network Operations Center”, we have a LOT of computer equipment and related electronic devices scattered all over the place. To maintain optimum efficiency, it’s important that they run at their proper temperature, so the room has to be relatively cool to achieve this. Being a diehard geek I totally get this and understand it and so I know how to deal with it. I do have metabolism on my side, however, as my body temperature is always unusually low, hovering around 95 or so degrees Fahrenheit. I’m hardly ever cold. Except when I’m at work. At work, I freeze to death.
The room is actually a bunch of smaller rooms with all the walls knocked down and then subsequently divided up by having cubicles thrown all over the place. Our supervisor sits in the middle of the chaos and closest to the thermostat. He holds the secrets to the universe. Having to deal with the headaches associated with his job and other fun scenarios, it’s understandable that his blood pressure boils and makes him warm. So he cools the place down by spinning the dial down. This results in a couple of things. The co-worker behind me starts chattering her teeth like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. The co-worker next to me wraps up in a shawl, sometimes so tightly that she looks like she’s mourning the death of something. Apparently I’m cold blooded because I go into hibernation mode where my eyes glaze over, my web browser browses aimlessly and I eat little scraps of food. I then announce that I’m coming back from lunch with a parka, complete with hood. To add to the fun, I bark over the intercom for someone to pick up a can of Alpo for the sled dogs.
It is then that a brave soul takes a letter opener and jimmies it under the thermostat control, getting the dials to spin in the other direction. Good by Alaska, hello Arizona. But at least it’s a dry heat.
And so it goes, eight hours of a temperate roller coaster. I have to admit though, I kind of enjoy the ride and the folks I’m riding with.