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Crowbot

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2018
1,699
3,908
NYC
I was doing electronic service all my working life and always worked in a "shop". And with the hierarchy of my job (hospitals) meant that I was always in the basement. In my last job I was 4 stories underground.

So I never worked in a "cubicle" style office and I am genuinely interested in the experience. All I know is what I see on TV so some reality would be nice. What do office people do? What are the daily tasks like? My first job was in a medium sized hospital (500 beds) and the last one was bigger (1500 beds). Big differences in attitude of the ownership. So what's your office day like?
 

Crowbot

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2018
1,699
3,908
NYC
I was terrible in meetings. Fortunately my boss didn't care about my section so I mostly played solitaire. One meeting was in a building across from a helipad so I got to watch copters takeoff and land.

My day was usually split between inspecting equipment, repairs and service calls to the floors. I loved helping the medical people solving their issues with the equipment although a lot of times it just wasn't plugged in. :)
 
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Apple fanboy

macrumors Ivy Bridge
Feb 21, 2012
54,936
52,473
Behind the Lens, UK
Life in an open plan office? Hell on earth.
Fortunately I only go in two days a week. WFH the rest of the time.
Emails, meetings and teams calls take up 60-70% of my time.
Tend to work in the evenings to catch up what I didn’t get done in the day. 50-60 hour weeks are the norm.
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,606
26,484
I can't really say. The jobs I have had since 1999 have largely been desks in open floor plans. I'm a graphic designer and almost the entirety of my career to this point has been in newspapers.

My current job started in 2019 and I had my own 'cubicle' in the back office. Most of the time I was by myself. I had to go up to the front to visit anyone and therefore I had to have a reason to do so. Once WFH became a thing I took it.

Now I sit at home each day, which is preferable to me. I design golf scorecards and yardage books now.

24 years in this career and counting and meetings have rarely ever been a thing. What's to discusss? Here's the list of stuff to do, or the pile of work. Get to it.
 

avz

macrumors 68000
Oct 7, 2018
1,724
1,819
Stalingrad, Russia
My day was usually split between inspecting equipment, repairs and service calls to the floors. I loved helping the medical people solving their issues with the equipment although a lot of times it just wasn't plugged in. :)
Is this what biomedical technicians do in NYC? Or you were more like an electrician(tag and test)?
 

Crowbot

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2018
1,699
3,908
NYC
Is this what biomedical technicians do in NYC? Or you were more like an electrician(tag and test)?
It's pretty much the same all over the US. The FDA sets the requirements. Testing was a large part of my job. Defibrillators and IV pumps need to be checked regularly. Repairs were another big part. We took service classes with the manufacturers. The other big job was helping the medical staff use the stuff. Believe me, I learned a lot about how not to design something that a technical novice needs to use. Some gore but I got used to that quickly.
 
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Kung

macrumors 6502
Feb 3, 2006
447
451
Email, meetings, dealing with some politics.

I 'lead' a team of contractors, so I kinda do it all (MECM, networking, desktop stuff, etc.) but yeah, more email and meetings than I'd like lol.
 

BigMcGuire

Cancelled
Jan 10, 2012
9,832
14,020
Depends on where you are in the hierarchy chain. As someone who is new, lower down on the totem pole, expect to be called a lot - verbally, over to other people's cubicles to help them do their tasks. You also get a cubicle that is considered the one that no one else wants - for example, a half-size in-between 2 large cubicles cubicle. Depending on the ventilation and layout of the office, you're going to hear everything people around you do. That means chair squeaks, loud typers, every call, grunts, burps, other air related noises. Someone microwaves salmon leftovers, the whole office is going to smell it for hours, and you're stuck breathing it. Someone always wants the temperature 68F and someone else wants the office 85F.

Yes, meetings - every morning we had a standup meeting, where you stand up, peak your head out over your cubicle, and pay attention to the manager in the middle for about 15 mins. Sometimes people felt the need to have those meetings go on for 20-30-40 mins. Had to go to restroom? Tough, you stand there till someone's done talking about what they think is super important to them all the while knowing you have something due by 10am or you're gunna get yelled at.

Despite having computer based messaging, some people would prefer to call your cubicle phone, others would prefer to yell your name and expect you to come over. And you have to remember how every person prefers to communicate because they get really annoyed when you don't use what they prefer (computer messenger, phone, walking over in person). Some people were very adamant about having printed copies of your issue before you dealt with them and asked them for help.

This changes a little as you rise through the ranks... You get a better cubicle, people come to you for help, you spend a lot less time working and a lot more time helping people with their problems and/or assigning people problems to fix. I noticed the higher up you get, the more people want to talk with you just to talk with you (social). You have to deal with the office's problems. Politics are a huge part of this especially when the customer is on site.

Our company went 100% remote when Covid hit and it is going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.


What do I miss? : Water cooler / coffee pot discussion time - asking people how their lives are going. Seeing facial expressions when I talk to someone. Office parties. Having a dedicated "work" area and a separate "personal" area.

What do I not miss? : The 1.5+ hour one way commute to the office. The inability to go to the restroom when I want. The complete lockdown of my time when someone walks in and wants to talk. Having to wait in line for 2 stalls in the entire building (restroom). Fighting for parking spots, cupboard space in the kitchen, etc.
 
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Crowbot

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2018
1,699
3,908
NYC
My last shop was a former storage closet about 10 feet by 8 feet. I was forced to store things like spare computers for IT so I had little space. The shop was 4 stories underground so I never saw the sun. Good place to survive a nuclear attack, if you don't mind climbing out of 17 stories of rubble. :)
 

dukebound85

macrumors Core
Jul 17, 2005
19,114
4,092
5045 feet above sea level
I was doing electronic service all my working life and always worked in a "shop". And with the hierarchy of my job (hospitals) meant that I was always in the basement. In my last job I was 4 stories underground.

So I never worked in a "cubicle" style office and I am genuinely interested in the experience. All I know is what I see on TV so some reality would be nice. What do office people do? What are the daily tasks like? My first job was in a medium sized hospital (500 beds) and the last one was bigger (1500 beds). Big differences in attitude of the ownership. So what's your office day like?
Not recommended at all

Email, meetings, and constant disruptions

Then you deal with office politics and bs
 

poorcody

macrumors 65816
Jul 23, 2013
1,299
1,507
One thing I particularly dislike about cubicles (and especially open floor plans) is the fact everyone can listen to what you're saying on the phone. It made me talk like I was always giving a public speech.
 
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Crowbot

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2018
1,699
3,908
NYC
My favorite part of the day was "rounds". I would visit all the ICUs (5 of them), the OR, ER and other critical care areas. I usually did it an hour before I went home. This way I could pick up those "Oh, we meant to call you" problems that usually came in 5 minutes before my shift was supposed to end. And the medical staff appreciated that I was interested.
 

jedimasterkyle

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2014
362
502
Idaho
Life in an office...

  • Unproductive meetings that could have been said in an email.
  • Boss/supervisor walking by to "chat" and that chat ends up being a gigantic waste of time.
  • Resisting the urge to set your email signature to "Sincerely, **** all the way off..."
  • Someone nuking a can of tuna in the microwave and turning the entire building into a fish factory.
  • God awful commutes. Even worse commutes in the winter.
  • Knowing someone ate an expired breakfast burrito and having to both hear and smell the results of it when you walk into the bathroom.
  • Someone WILL use the condiments that you brought for yourself in the fridge, even after you put your name all over them.
  • Looking forward to the 10 minutes you spend in your car before you walk into the building, rethinking every choice you've made in your life.
  • Having an instant headache just by seeing or hearing that co-worker.
  • HVAC always being set to the wrong season. Sub-freezing temps in winter and satans anus in summer.
  • Getting email blasted by HR about "Mental Health tips" as they try to organize company yoga sessions on your lunch break.
  • Getting hounded to take PTO by your supervisor and then criticized for taking PTO because your supervisor can't do their job to cover your shift.
  • Yearly performance reviews that amount to jack ****.
  • Walking past a window outside and wondering what fresh air feels like.
  • That feeling when you walk in on Monday morning and you walk out Friday afternoon and you have no idea what day of the week it is.
  • Knowing that if you want a promotion, you will have to do unspeakable things to get it. i.e. kissing your bosses butt, possibly accepting the smallest of pay bumps and an ungodly increase of responsibilities that doesn't match up with the job description you applied for.

    And my personal favorite...
  • Getting an email from the CEO saying that the company has made BILLIONS in the 1st quarter of the year but there isn't any money for legitimate, cost of living raises so you are forced to be ok with having pennies added to your paycheck but hey, at least you get a pen with the company logo on it...
 

ejb190

macrumors 65816
I work in a field office - that is, I cover a territory and work out of my house. I have for 17 years now. I love my coworkers and don't see them very often - but honestly that's probably why we work so well together!

When COVID hit, my boss sent an email outlining all the things we were supposed to do to protect ourselves - work from home, minimize time in the office, avoid people when doing field visits, social distance, and move to phone/virtual meetings. At the end of the list she added, "So just keep doing what you have been doing!"

But before, I did work in an office. I don't miss people trying to micromanage my time. We had a lot of night meetings - boards, hearings, government stuff - that were held in the same building as my office. So I had a guy get on my case for not being in the office at 8:30 am when it opened. I just looked at him and asked where he was when I left the plan commission meeting at 1:00 am.

u/jedimasterkyle reminded me of another one - my office was in the back right corner and actually bumped into the space of the accessor's office next door. For some unimaginable reason, the thermostat for the accessor's office was in my office. So I would often have a parade of menopausal women barging into my office accusing me of messing with the thermostat (which I never touched!). Yah, I don't miss that.
 
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The-Real-Deal82

macrumors P6
Jan 17, 2013
16,193
23,845
Wales, United Kingdom
I work in a large office with only 2 of us occupying it most of the time, it’s a large space with entire wall of glass which is awful in this warm weather. I can work from home whenever I choose but like to keep that occasional as it would drive me mad doing it full time again like during covid. Teams calls are no real substitute for real collaboration in person on many tasks in my opinion and quite often in the many meetings I have, those disengaged and clearly doing other tasks on their computers are the people who work from home full time.

Back to the office tomorrow after a nice day working in my own space at home though.
 

Crowbot

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2018
1,699
3,908
NYC
I was at the corner deli waiting for my food and was looking out the window watching people go by. I said to the young lady behind the counter how neat it was and she agreed. My former cat used to like sitting in the bay window watching cars go by. Now I understand better.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Ivy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
63,620
46,087
In a coffee shop.
I was doing electronic service all my working life and always worked in a "shop". And with the hierarchy of my job (hospitals) meant that I was always in the basement. In my last job I was 4 stories underground.

So I never worked in a "cubicle" style office and I am genuinely interested in the experience. All I know is what I see on TV so some reality would be nice. What do office people do? What are the daily tasks like? My first job was in a medium sized hospital (500 beds) and the last one was bigger (1500 beds). Big differences in attitude of the ownership. So what's your office day like?
Life in a "cubicle", or open plan office, is appalling.

An open plan office is the spawn of Satan, to my mind.

In any case, I have found it hateful, horrid, and exhausting.

There is no privacy, and worse, no silence (which is what you need - well, what I need, if I am writing, or compiling, or composing, or crafting, an important report or piece).

In essence, it is an assault - a sustained assault - on the senses: Electric light (in a shared, communal space) tends to be of the irritating overhead variety (I am able to see the damned flicker, and can sometimes hear it 'buzzing'; thus, not only is it exceedingly irritating, but it can set off a migraine).

Noise - colleagues talking, taking phone calls, - cannot be excluded (unless you wear headphones), making it difficult to concentrate, or focus, on what you wish to write, and next to impossible to think.

Others have already written about aromas (if the workplace does not provide a canteen, or, one cannot escape to nearby places in which to eat lunch, - which is increasingly common in work places in the outer suburbs, rather than city centres which tend to be amply supplied with decent spots to eat, one must consume food in the office, or in the cubby hole designated as the space for a fridge, electric kettle, and, possibly a microwave, meaning that yes, you know exactly what your colleagues have just eaten) - food aromas, and worse, sometimes personal aromas (strong perfumes or aftershave; and yes, actual body odour) can assault your olfactory senses.

While these are all annoying - and infuriating - and exhausting, and, yes, sometimes stressful, the real issue is that, in an open plan office, you cannot escape them, you have absolutely nowhere to go if a colleague's charming little personal habits are driving you insane.

And then there are issues - and arguments - around preferred temperatures; windows that cannot be opened are a nightmare, as is a/c.

Indoors, with a/c, I am always attired in a jacket (coat, to Our Transatlantic Cousins), and a turtleneck (polo-neck), and remain mystified that some colleagues can sit in such an environment in short sleeves.

And that is all quite apart from the endless horrors of office politics.
 
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Crowbot

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2018
1,699
3,908
NYC
Life in a "cubicle", or open plan, is appalling.

An open plan office is the spawn of Satan, to my mind.

In any case, I have found it horrid, hateful, and exhausting.

There is no privacy, and worse, no silence (which is what you need - well, what I need, if I am writing, or compiling, or composing, or crafting, an important report or piece).

In essence, it is an assault - a sustained assault - on the senses: Electric light (in a shared, communal space) tends to be of the irritating overhead variety (I am able to see the damned flicker, and can sometims hear it 'buzzing'; thus, not only is it exceedingly irritating, but it can set off a migraine).

Noise - colleagues talking, taking phone calls, - cannot be excluded (unless you wear headphones), making it difficult to concentrate, or focus, on what you wish to write, and next to impossible to think.

Others have already written about aromas (if the workplace does not provide a canteen, or, one cannot escape to nearby places in which to eat lunch, - which is increasingly common in work places in the outer suburbs, rather than city cnetres which tend to be amply supplied with decent spots to eat, one must consume food in the office, or in the cubby hole designated as the space for a fridge, electric kettle, and, possibly a microwave, meaning that yes, you know exactly what your colleagues have just eaten) - food aromas, and worse, sometimes personal aromas (strong perfumes or aftershave; and yes, actual body odour) can assault your olfactory senses.

While these are all annoying - and infuriating - and exhausting, and, yes, sometimes stressful, the real issue is that, in an open plan office, you cannot escape them, you have absolutely nowhere to go if a colleague's charming little personal habits are driving you insane.

And then there are issues - and arguments - around preferred temperatures; windows that cannot be opened are a nightmare, as is a/c.

Indoors, with a/c, I am always attired in a jacket (coat, to Our Transatlantic Cousins), and a turtleneck (polo-neck), and remain mystified that some colleagues can sit in such an environment in short sleeves.

And that is all quite apart from the endless horrors of office politics.
I've been reading all the posts and I appreciate the stories. The view from the inside sort of jibes with my view from the outside. I never watched the show "The Office" because I might not know what's satire and what's real. ;)

I worked with techs that never wanted to leave the shop except to do inspections, and then wouldn't tell the staff what they were up to. OTOH, I spent as much time out on the floors as I could. I learned how to deal with sick people and the gore.

when I was interviewing for my last job in an orthopedic hospital th OR Nurse Manager took me on a tour of the OR. She popped open a door in the middle of a "total hip" replacement. I still believe she did it to see if I threw up or not. My last place did open heart so this was easier. :)

All in all I loved my jobs. I was lucky to fall into it but I was a biology student and the son (and grandson) of an engineer. So I guess it was a natural.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Ivy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
63,620
46,087
In a coffee shop.
I've been reading all the posts and I appreciate the stories. The view from the inside sort of jibes with my view from the outside. I never watched the show "The Office" because I might not know what's satire and what's real. ;)

I worked with techs that never wanted to leave the shop except to do inspections, and then wouldn't tell the staff what they were up to. OTOH, I spent as much time out on the floors as I could. I learned how to deal with sick people and the gore.

when I was interviewing for my last job in an orthopedic hospital th OR Nurse Manager took me on a tour of the OR. She popped open a door in the middle of a "total hip" replacement. I still believe she did it to see if I threw up or not. My last place did open heart so this was easier. :)

All in all I loved my jobs. I was lucky to fall into it but I was a biology student and the son (and grandson) of an engineer. So I guess it was a natural.
In my days as an academic, I always had my own office (bliss), a space to which I could retire, prepare classes, grade papers, read material, meet students to discuss their work (in private), etc.

Once or twice in my early days as an academic, I shared an office with one of two other colleagues - that was fine; we would work around each other's needs, and easily schedule stuff around one another, such as, if anyone needed sole use of the office to chat with students (privately) about work, feedback from essays or assignments, etc; they were pleasant colleagues, and, as we all taught on different days, or had different hours when we taught - and, as academic life is pretty accommodating about the whole notion of "presenteeism", nobody was ever there all of the time; besides, there were libraries, or coffee shops, - or, other spaces - one could disappear to if someone else required the sole use of the office.

In truth, I haven't had to work in a shared space all that often, but must say that I loathed it whenever circumstances threw this setting at me.

In practice, in a shared space, I would sometimes work late (when everyone else had left for the evening), in order to do stuff that required focus and concentration without distraction.
 
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Rafterman

Contributor
Apr 23, 2010
6,584
7,781
I work at home now. But the last 24 years, even when I worked in the office, it was at a public university and we all had our own individual offices, with doors. I was a regular Les Nessman. (look it up, kids)
 
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