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Old 01-31-2017, 05:25 PM   #41
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Except for having my own teeny office now and then, I've mostly worked in open environments. I got pretty good at blocking out other people's talk. I think I learned that skill in college! The people I worked with were usually fairly quiet, but if they weren't, I had no qualms about making my own inimitable additions to the conversation. I figured if it was loud enough to hear, they must secretly want my input :-)

In fact, if you took the fourth (last) photo posted by ERD50 - the rows and rows of battleship-gray metal desks - and pushed all the desks together in lines of two desks facing each other, each double line of desks so close to the next one that if you pushed your chair back too fast, you'd hit the chair of the person in the next double line...you'd have my working environment for the first 10 years or so. The only part I had serious problems with was the horrible smoking. How anyone could still be smoking, 20-plus years after the 1964 Surgeon General's Report on Cancer and Smoking, was a puzzle my young mind couldn't get over.
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:57 PM   #42
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Love the open office pictures. The second to last isn't an office however. Those are keypunch machines and the operators type all day to produce computer cards. This is more like a high volume production operation than an office. No one is taking calls, having meetings, or making plans. They are operating the machines, and probably having their speed measured constantly.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:11 PM   #43
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Love the open office pictures. The second to last isn't an office however. Those are keypunch machines and the operators type all day to produce computer cards. This is more like a high volume production operation than an office. No one is taking calls, having meetings, or making plans. They are operating the machines, and probably having their speed measured constantly.
Those people don't exist today.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:27 PM   #44
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Those people don't exist today.
They might, although the jobs don't.
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Old 01-31-2017, 11:50 PM   #45
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A small aerospace company where I once worked as a consultant gave all its engineers, even entry-level ones, a hard-walled office with doors. The room got larger as a function of the rank.

It cut down on a lot of socializing and chatting. I believe it improved productivity. When people needed to talk face-to-face, they still went see one another. The etiquette then was to keep the door open so that people walking by knew you were not snoozing.
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:24 AM   #46
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As I employee manager who worked in the field everyday (well, literally UNDER the field), I often gazed at the office buildings and skyscrapers when I attended sporting events at the stadium. Knowing that those buildings were full of w@rker bees/ants, I could just never could justify in my mind what all those people did to add to the bottom line. I can see or hear phone calls coming in on the 12th floor, being rerouted the 37th floor then back to the 12th floor, only 6 cubicles/offices over. All the personal phone calls, conversations around the water cooler, 20 minute trips to the restroom, flirting with your coworker down the hall or 2 floors above, as a manager/engineer it just wanted to make me scream just thinking about it.
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:30 AM   #47
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They might, although the jobs don't.
+1
Very true.
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:45 AM   #48
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As I employee manager who worked in the field everyday (well, literally UNDER the field), I often gazed at the office buildings and skyscrapers when I attended sporting events at the stadium. Knowing that those buildings were full of w@rker bees/ants, I could just never could justify in my mind what all those people did to add to the bottom line. I can see or hear phone calls coming in on the 12th floor, being rerouted the 37th floor then back to the 12th floor, only 6 cubicles/offices over. All the personal phone calls, conversations around the water cooler, 20 minute trips to the restroom, flirting with your coworker down the hall or 2 floors above, as a manager/engineer it just wanted to make me scream just thinking about it.
I spent 15+ years with a large European company that started a new US division with an entirely new high-tech product line in the US. My employee number was #0004. We had only 10-20 people for 2-3 years. 90% engineers, 10% "management" (if you could call it that).

Then we rapidly went to 300-400 people at ~5-6 years (really). It was very interesting watching firsthand, the management/culture devolve from a highly efficient, garage-shop tech startup, to the bloated, bureaucratic, management-heavy slug of an organization that you describe above. I am a tech-only-engineer-geek person - no management for me, no matter how much they asked.

Luckily, I look back on the first 3 years of incredible engineering achievements fondly, as validation for at least that part of my career. I would not have wanted to be one of the folks that came in with the last 100 or so.

I watched (with sadness) from the sidelines as the productivity of the organization grew from nothing, peaked in near perfect form, and then slid into the abyss - until we were shut down.

I am now part-owner in a new (well, 10 years now!) startup, which is a group of those ex-employees.
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:42 AM   #49
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We had the cube-ville open office layout. We had a program where the fad was to collocate folks from other areas of the business with the engineering team. This included a marketing person who had this habit of putting his feet up on the desk, all stretched out, listening to messages and carrying on trivial non-work conversation on his speaker phone. Full volume, you could hear both sides of the conversations for several rows around.

Apparently it bothered some folks enough that they started leaving obscene messages laced with embarrassing stories and frequent obscenities. It was humorous to see him have to disengage his feet from the desk and lurch for the handset to unhook the speaker phone. Eventually, they brought in somebody else to represent marketing. Still lived on the speaker phone, but at least he kept it turned down a bit. It must have been a department culture thing. I could never see why anybody would use one of those things, unless in a conference room with a group of people. Perhaps having a speaker phone was a status symbol?
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:49 AM   #50
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We had the cube-ville open office layout. We had a program where the fad was to collocate folks from other areas of the business with the engineering team. This included a marketing person who had this habit of putting his feet up on the desk, all stretched out, listening to messages and carrying on trivial non-work conversation on his speaker phone. Full volume, you could hear both sides of the conversations for several rows around.

Apparently it bothered some folks enough that they started leaving obscene messages laced with embarrassing stories and frequent obscenities. It was humorous to see him have to disengage his feet from the desk and lurch for the handset to unhook the speaker phone. Eventually, they brought in somebody else to represent marketing. Still lived on the speaker phone, but at least he kept it turned down a bit. It must have been a department culture thing. I could never see why anybody would use one of those things, unless in a conference room with a group of people. Perhaps having a speaker phone was a status symbol?
I had a private office for many years. The speaker phone is great for working on problem resolutions, with the door shut!

I still remember the untouchable systems guy, brilliant person who had little tolerance for what he considered stupid questions. He's on the phone with a client who's having serious issues. I heard him say "I need both hands on the keyboard now", click he hangs up.
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:54 AM   #51
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I had a private office for many years. The speaker phone is great for working on problem resolutions, with the door shut!

I still remember the untouchable systems guy, brilliant person who had little tolerance for what he considered stupid questions. He's on the phone with a client who's having serious issues. I heard him say "I need both hands on the keyboard now", click he hangs up.
LOL. That reminded me of a job I had many moons ago. I was on the phone with an end-user of our system (front-desk, hotel industry) and told them to type "C-colon" on the computer.

They came back and said, "which one is the colon?"

I said, "It's the one with two dots."

Over the phone I hear, "click--------click-click...."

LOL!
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:22 PM   #52
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LOL. That reminded me of a job I had many moons ago. I was on the phone with an end-user of our system (front-desk, hotel industry) and told them to type "C-colon" on the computer.

They came back and said, "which one is the colon?"

I said, "It's the one with two dots."

Over the phone I hear, "click--------click-click...."

LOL!
All these stories would be funnier if I still wasn't living it!

The C-colon cracks me up. Reminds me of the old oath of office joke:

Repeat after me: "I state your name."

.... "I state your name."
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:28 AM   #53
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Heavens! How do you expect people to find mates? Will you confine them to being matched by computers?

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All the personal phone calls, conversations around the water cooler,flirting with your coworker... , as a manager/engineer it just wanted to make me scream just thinking about it.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:55 PM   #54
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Heavens! How do you expect people to find mates? Will you confine them to being matched by computers?
Actually that's how I met my spouse, more or less. it wasn't strictly computers (or internet), but rather she answered one of my personal ads in a local printed magazine before the online sites got going.

And I could fill 10 thread pages with stories of dumb-ass end users. Makes for useful info when doing software acceptance testing.

Larry
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