Looks like they’re finally going to move me out of The Vault, the lab where I currently work. I haven’t had a bonafide office in four or five jobs. I usually get put in a cubicle or inside a lab. For the most part, I’m actually okay with this. Cubicles, provided that they’re big enough to work, give me enough space to work without separating me from everybody. I’m not the most social person, so it’s good to force me to be with people. In the case of the proposed office for me at Mindstorm, I’d be moving there with another guy who is pretty much the only person I talk to regularly except people who come by explicitly to see either me or him, so that wouldn’t be an issue.
Despite appreciation the general openness of The Vault (and of cubicles in general), I think I’ll be glad to be moving out. My situation lately has been somewhat distracting. The team lead of the group the next aisle over is both social and a self-described right-winger. This presents a bit of a problem because not because of his views, per se, but that his views put him at odds with just about everybody else in the lab. And since he’s social, politics are discussed non-stop. Being a politically-minded individual myself, part of me wants to step in, correct areas where somebody is clearly wrong, and so on. But despite the fact that he is an aisle over and on a different team and all that, I generally don’t discuss politics at work. But boy am I tempted. It’s hard to tune out.
The other issue with being an aisle over from the guy is that he doesn’t pull anybody into a private office or conference room to give them there review. So last week I got to hear a rather devastating review (abrasive… don’t communicate… can’t count of you to get the job done…) of one of his team members. The nosy part of me wants to listen in. The part of me that doesn’t like watching train wrecks wants me to tune out. And though it doesn’t have any detrimental effect on my performance, it’s still a supremely uncomfortable thing to overhear. My hearing impairment forgets itself at the most inopportune times.
The reason given for the move is that they need to make more room in the lab for an army of systems for some automated tests. Some of the IT people look at me and the other guy with a weird sort of passive anger that we’re taking up such valuable real estate. As though our existence there is solely to be in between them and their illustrious set-up. So I saw the move coming. Except oddly, my old boss (who technically isn’t my boss but since I have yet to speak to the guy who is my boss after several months I still consider to be my boss) says that we can stay in the lab or use the office and that we weren’t handing over our space to the IT people. I suspect that when this is all said and done, we will in fact be in the office.
I would be more welcoming of this move if I had more than two or three months left on my contract. The prospect of picking everything up and moving it is wholly unappealing. It’s similar to the computer problems I’ve been having, where I’m close enough to the end that I am unenthusiastic about doing a full format-and-restore, and yet still have long enough to go that if I don’t do something about it, the managers are going to get tired of hearing about delays because my computer is malfunctioning somethin’ fierce.
If I had more time, I could personalize the office with the Watchmen posters I bought and all that and fully take advantage of the new space. Alas, with this much time left I will probably leave the office be with the tacks stuck into the bare wall and all that.
So as I glide into the end of my contract, it doesn’t really feel like I’m gliding at all. Since people are always going in and out of the turnstile and its mandatory 3-month vacations, there is generally the expectation that you will want to be coming back and therefore there isn’t much of a wind-down. The guy who will be taking your place has probably done the job before you, so there’s not much need to train him. It does make one feel like quite the cog.
I don’t have any goals remaining other than the preference not to get transferred somewhere else. I would like my de-facto boss to become my official boss again. He gave me the most positive review I have gotten in my entire life, suggesting I go back to the contracting agency and angle for a raise (three weeks later I got a pay cut). I want him to be the guy that fills out whatever paperwork for job performance. The nicest thing my actual boss can say about me would be something to the effect of “I didn’t really know he was there, which means that he must not have been any trouble.” Maybe new boss will have old boss fill out the forms. Not that any of this matters since it’s vanishingly unlikely that I’ll be doing another tour with Mindstorm since we’ll be leaving the area. But since I can’t have potential future employers contact Old Boss, the only record of how well I did will be in the offices of my contractor (and, presumably, filed away with Mindstorm never to see the light of day unless I try to get another job with the company). I have a stellar letter of recommendation from my ex-boss Willard (Thanks, Willard!), but since that was a couple jobs ago it would be great to be able to tell employers to contact my rep at the contracting agency.