Sunday, 9 July 2006

The Prince of Darkness

On Wednesday we were suddenly informed at work that our group of Business Analysts (read: paper shufflers specializing in surfing the internet during work time) is to be moved to another cubicle in the same floor. From a cubicle facing the southern side, I was to move to one facing the west, in order to allow one of the developers' teams to be able to seat next to each other.
Cubicles at our office are made of four desks, and the question was whether I want a window facing desk (like my current one) or an away from the window facing desk. I did some User Acceptance Testing during different parts of the day, with the sun exposed and with the sun hidden, I came to the conclusion that the sun is just too strong in the afternoon for someone with fucked up eyesight like me to tolerate on an ongoing basis, so I chose the dark side.
I started (and finished) moving on Friday morning. After settling down I noticed that the new cubicle is significantly smaller to the old one; this one resembles that old Ipex feeling of having no room for privacy. When one of the four neighbors is on the phone, everybody's going to be there with him/her.
But what made me really worried is the glare on my screen. It was quite bad, and from previous experience I knew that these reflections would mean regular and imminent headaches.
I started worrying. I wasn't a happy chappie.
I started asking around for anti glare protectors to put on my monitor. Within five minutes I had a brand new one installed, but oddly enough it made things worse: Instead of having slight blotches of reflected light on my screen, I got very dark blue blotches of reflected light on my screen. Call 3M and tell them their product is shit; I gave my glare protector back.
Then I reverted to the only counterattack that worked for me in the past: I started closing the blinds down. That's a shame, because the view from our 27th floor is quite spectacular, and after three years plus at the windowless Ipex cave I can't get enough of it; but between a view and a headache, I'll go with the ache.
Needless to say, this move was not particularly popular with the area's former residents. Informing them that this move goes part and parcel with the arrival of the Prince of Darkness into their 'hood didn't really improve things much; they wanted their views back, regardless of whether it messes with their eyes or not (they're probably used to it by now, I guess; I noticed ages ago that I tend to be more sensitive to environmental conditions than most others, especially when it comes to things to do with eyesight).
Someone suggested we change to LCD monitors, as they're much better with handling glare. I dismissed the idea (even though I wouldn't argue against an LCD monitor), but didn't really stop anyone (because I wouldn't really mind an LCD monitor).
Within an hour we all had brand new LCD monitors. They're quite good: Very clear pictures, and they even feature DVI inputs (not that our desktops will ever feature DVI outputs, though). And guess what? No more glare, no more reflections. The Prince of Darkness can retire.

Now, what's my point? My point was to show you a thing or two about my place of work.
Yes, we get moved about for no particular reason. Yes, most people still have CRT monitors, even if LCDs have been proven ages ago to increase productivity (and now we know why).
But that aside, I am amazed at how quickly and efficiently my problem was addressed - and solved. I am amazed to find myself working for a place that truly cares about the wellbeing of its employees.
I can complain day in day out about the advanced Lotus Notes technology I have to contend with at work, but in all honesty having an employer that gives a fuck is much more important, because at the end of the day I don't live to work - I work to live - and if I can sustain myself better at work, I would be able to better equipped to handle that part of life which I work for (living).
I left work on Friday afternoon quite the happy chappie.

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