She repeatedly used the phrase "You let them have / do that?"
The response was to things she saw at people's cubes like:
* A mini fridge.
* A blanket.
* Some food at someone's desk.
* A fan.
And some random stuff.
It didn't occur to anyone at that point that anyone had to "let" someone have those things at their desk.
Eventually an email went out banning such things, no reason was given.
An annoyed co-worker asked why via email and they were told food at their desk was "unnecessary" because there is a cafeteria.
The only cafeteria was on the other side of the country at the new HQ in San Jose....they didn't respond to follow up emails.
It always struck me that this person who visited's entire role was to enforce some arbitrary rules like they were our parents or something.
The rules were complied with for about a month and as soon as visits stopped, everyone at our location just ignored them. Somehow nothing bad happened just as nothing ever had before.
When visiting the HQ later I did eat something (breakfast bar) at my temporary desk. My coworkers in San Jose we're quite shocked, I was amused by their reaction. We all survived. Although security eventually caught me (came running even) for not wearing my ID "visible enough" ;)
— Robert Heinlein, The Moon is A Harsh Mistress
Why would people want to treat their coworkers this way? It seems so unnecessary and negative...
Actually no it's not a bit strong, those people need to be outright told to fuck off on a more frequent basis.
These often aren't just arbitrary rules.
Alcohol is another thing.
so you'll inconvenience ALL of your colleagues so your unprovable condition can be avoided. i hate open desk plans coz of things like this. hr inevitably comes down on the side opposite to common sense and things get banned with no solution(like having a quick snack when you feel tired is not allowed and you can't afford the time away to visit the cafeteria)
I’ve got all the proof I need to know I have this, and it’s never happened in the absence of someone eating a crunch snack.
Personally I can't stand people who are eating stuff or chewing gum while they are on the phone with me. Same with noisy eating in a silent place. I sometimes silently leave the place if I can, or warn the eater as politely as I can, if he/she's my friend.
Heck, if I'm extremely tired or weary I can not even stand myself sometimes.
I only wanted to point that absence of some irritation or uncomfortable feeling in presence of the stimulus for one person is not enough for one to label such sinister and delicate matters as "not real" or "non-existent".
Where do you work in India?
If your office infrastructure is so broken that you could have mice infestation, you definitely have far bigger problems than eating at your desk. In fact at this point in time, I'd like to think you have a mice infestation already.
At almost any major tech park that I've worked in Bangalore, I can't recall even single instance of even seeing a fly or mosquito in office. Let alone see a rat.
I'd love to see how many offices in London have mice infestations to a point employees could notice it.
I was of the opinion that the western world took hygiene quite seriously.
The mice would come out in the evenings. You'd know because first you'd hear one of the salespeople scream. Then the more macho traders would rush around banging on desks, trying to flush out the by now petrified mouse...
The trading floors also had small cafes ('trader delis'). One day I found a dead mouse on the counter next to the cafe's credit card machine. I took a photo as I knew noone back on the trading floor would believe me.
At that point, the cafe was closed for the day and thoroughly cleaned. The cleaners also started removing all food from people's desks.
The best solution imo would have been cats...
I've worked (and still am!) in London in loads of different sizes and types of offices, and have yet to see a single pest (mouse, cockroach, mosquito, etc.)
Nothing personal, just general policy on my part.
Also because that company gave no reasons other than the cafeteria thing I mentioned (and that was based in absurdity).
I'm not trying to be flippant. I have noticed that many managers say no to anything they didn't think of first. Its made me usually default to thinking the manager is wrong unless the employee is adversely affecting another employee. If no one in the group could understand why they shouldn't keep those things, then it sounds like they weren't adversely affecting anyone
Edit: I should add that when I say management I mean management that is more than one level above the person who's behavior they are trying to change. People do t have as strong connections once it starts being a chain of relationships and you start losing the benefit of the doubt
Or potentially someone could get injured through corporate negligence (eg, if there is a fire and the software engineer sleeping under the desk gets burned; power goes out for 12 hours and someone with a fridge gets food poisoning).
Focusing on GP's comment specifically, if the government (local or higher) discovers that a premise is being used for habitation I imagine there are a whole bunch of rules that kick in that the company does not want to be involved with.
It is much cheaper, easier and more internally consistent to mandate that all employees have a standardised work space. Then not only do you cut your risk profile, you also might find opportunities for efficiencies elsewhere.
Compare personal risk profiles to a company. If I am a bit risk-prone maybe I tolerate a lifestyle where there is a 1 in 200 chance of a near-fatal accident each year each year (so I'm expecting to make it to old age with a near misses or two in life - I've met people who I judge to live to this level of risk). If you try that sort of approach with a company of 150 employees, in a given year you now expect:
1) More likely than not to have a near fatal accident in the workspace
2) To be imprisoned or have your business ended by the government for being a menace to your employees
Corporations can't tolerate risk at anywhere near the level individuals do; because they have to scale everything up to their entire workforce.
We had problems with people bringing knives in to de-core their apples. Every year there'd a nasty hand injury or two, and we were under pressure from upper management to keep our injury statistics low. Since hand injuries were one of our major problems; knife ban! :D
It was as effective as it was unpopular.
I was the manager, not someone a level above. I was responsible for space planning for my department. The offices weren't luxurious but they were decent hard wall offices where 4 of the 6 offices in each office bay had windows. Insisting that one should be allowed to take a seat in a window office for a cactus farm seemed very immature. I was also resonsible for assuring a reasonable attempt to adhere to health and safety rules. The unthinking objections to removing a fire hazard showed no appreciation for who would have hell to pay if something happened, even if only a mildly smokey electrical short.
How is it anymore of a fire hazard than anything else plugged into the electricity? I doubt you were rationing the electricity or unplugging everything at night, and if people had laptops they we're likely plugging things into and out of the sockets every day. People can see the obvious hypocrisy it poor reasoning and it makes them ignore or detest even reasonable requests from management because the requests are so frequently unreasonable.
If management had their way everyone would be completely standard, with no individuality or humanity because it would be cheaper and easier to deal with. The unthinking objections to every bit of personality or decoration of a space people are in for half their waking lives shows no appreciation for the mental toll it takes on employees
The Wiccan Creed is surprisingly rich:
"An' it harm none, do what thou wilt."
At another place I had some sit next to me for a while due to construction at the company ... it was months of nothing productive, just nothing. I was a little shocked, I mean I assumed, but when you see it, it is amazing.
I lived about a 10min walk away, so figured I'd just work at home and announced that's what I'd be doing.
Everyone wanted to work elsewhere or from home. However the boss decided that he'd cram everyone into the boardroom for the day.
I was the only one who stood my ground and told the boss I was going home despite his bullshit about not being a "team player". Wage slavery is a dangerous mindset.
>I hated working in an open office and tried to leverage my post-dental-surgery fragility into a private office or the right to work from home.
And actually have the - fill the gap - (courage/guts/impudence/insolence/crazyness) to actually write about it.
"post-dental-surgery fragility", come on ...
Gp is right about wage slavery, sometimes people actually need to stand up for themselves.
On a Friday I found out the largest startup conference in Sydney was happening the next week. So I let the boss know I'd be going to that. No response. I went to the conference. When I got back to work they fired me for "not giving 2 weeks leave notice" as was in my contract lol.
The story of how I got fired from the second job was even more sketchy. Involves the largest employer in the crypto industry. HR lied about giving me a warning about "behaviour" (never provided any evidence to the claim) and later admitted to having never contacted me. Small cartel of middle managers in a supposedly "decentralised company" fired me 2 weeks before a 6 month probation without any knowledge or consensus from my regional team or primary team. HR lady was fired 2 months later. They then strung me along for 2 months with a "soon to be proposed" rehire offer. Now they ignore my emails. Classy.
I like standing up to workplace nonsense as much (or way more) than the next guy/gal, but seems rigid to refuse to code from a different room for a day.
... No. Your employee who uses a computer shows up and says they are blind and need Braille accomodations? You don't wait for a doctor's note, that is explicitly unreasonable.
Gatekeeping is appropriate, if at all, where an accommodation is nice for lots of people who will somehow cost the company a lot of money if they receive it and it is difficult to determine the reasonability of the request on an individual basis without invading their privacy - so you ask a doctor to stand in as a firewalling proxy that tells you whether it is reasonable in this case without telling you the underlying cause.
The point is to create inconvenience for any employee who claims x. You might as well ask the employee to fetch a stone from the top of the nearest mountain.
It might just a CYA move on the part of an individual actor in middle management. The manager doesn't want to risk getting penalized for handing out "random perks", but also doesn't want to get in trouble for ignoring a "medically necessary" request.
Put another way: That seemingly arbitrary behavior might make more sense if you assume that it's intended to protect an individual, rather than to protect the corporation.
The negativity around giving "random perks" makes it feel like you're running a prison, where the point is to punish people instead of a workplace.
Sounds like the employee in question was trying to get special accommodations they didn't really need and their employer was wise to their bullshit games. OP is the kind of person who makes these ridiculous authoritarian gatekeeper rules necessary.
Two years ago I took an international flight with no checked luggage and had a bottle of mouthwash in my bag. (I'm used to this brand of mouthwash and apparently it's not available outside my own country).
The security guy found it and said it was forbidden aboard the plane for security reasons, except if I had a prescription.
I didn't have a prescription. So he threw it away. I thought "next time I will".
Now before taking a flight I just print a "prescription" with a random doctor name, saying in so many words that his patient (me) needs this mouthwash to travel, and sign it myself with a big, illegible signature.
I have used this meaningless piece of paper all over Europe, the US, Africa and it never failed to work.
Let's just hope the bad guys don't have access to a printer.
I sure as hell value my time and sanity higher than that.
I too value my time very much, that's why I don't want to either argue with pseudo-cops or go see a real doctor for something that doesn't concern them (and would waste their time).
Instead not pretending it's a prescription and not signing it as if it's from a doctor should be about as effective an not illegal.
Most of the time, the guard doesn't even speak the language; I'm not sure they're even trying to read it, they're just ticking a box in their mind that says "there was a paper".
My guess is, it would work with any paper; I may try that some day (show a completely unrelated prescription, or something that isn't even a prescription).
Why not get real prescription, or split large bottle into smaller bottles?
also doesn't everyone study law enforcement policies before visiting a country? i know i never have anything with poppy seeds on me or eat any before travelling as a rule because of mild meanderings into research on chemical detectors and drug enforcement policies in the middle east
I was to make a business case for getting me a decent PC that would allow me to perform simulations that would allow me to test some concepts without risking damage to hardware.
Another business case I had to make was when I proposed we give give out one unit of our product (valued at 400-1000 eur) for Google Summer of Code developer working on a library that we supported and it easily generated around half of the product sales.
In the same company I had to get out of my way to make them buy heaters in winter and fans in the summer because the building was a badly insulated warehouse made of metal.
This experience made me highly allergic to bullshit rules and being cheap. My philosophy now is that is you can't afford a reasonable working conditions and hardware then I can't afford working for you.
So, of course the RAM showed up 2 weeks after the project was over.
One of my old colleagues came from Amazon where he had to buy his own RAM upgrade to do his work as they wouldn’t give him more than 4GB and he did heavy Excel work. They did not let him expense it.
Luckily my new company provides spec-ed out laptops with more RAM for software engineers. It’s also easier to get more RAM at my new company as long as your job code is engineering.
That probably explains a lot of the resistance in old-school organizations to any type of working from home. The existing power brokers lose a good bit of leverage when everyone can cozy up in their own preferred environment, that they control.
Neither one of those makes sense from a profit/loss standpoint.
This reflects or is a result of the same root cause as the issue discussed here: there is an almost mystical air surrounding items written by a medical doctor, even if what's written is just parroting the patient.
Or maybe the two things aren't related, but they're both weird in the day and age where TV commercials urge us to prod our doctor into prescribing the latest drug.
It's almost like a timestamp tool. "One year ago I suffered from XYZ" has little value. But a piece of paper, written by a doctor, that confirms one year ago you said you suffered from XYZ, is worth more. Doesn't mean XYZ is true, but it means you said that one year in advance.
Particularly the 'bring back the door' chapter.
Then realise this book was first written 30 years ago based upon research done in the late 1970s.
Tech may change rapidly but, unfortunately, people don't.
Of course this doesn't mean they'll freely drop a raise on your table. You go ask for it. The difference is you'll rarely if ever get assigned any bs targets assigned because the manager knows they don't have the control over you. You could walk out and they'll lose and you'll still likely win a job. It's lose lose for them.
Delicate balances exist here such as how much you get paid Vs the manager and what not. Also, this does depend on your manager not being self destructive.
Generally though I dont say this as something to subscribe to. And I'm glad I no longer deal with this. Good managers are good at coaching and leading. They'll do what it takes to make a team that's happy and does the work as needed as opposed to creating a single star.
But something I learnt as I gave up some of my youthful idealisms is that everywhere there are differing flavours of politics. As long as it's not identity based discrimination or anything else illegal:
Don't fight against it. The company doesn't need revolutionaries no matter how much better you think it'll make the company.
Don't fight in it. Most people get busy trying to play the system and get played instead.
Work with the currents. Take what you need. Call it a day. It's less "fulfilling" but at the same time it's always less draining and you get to be at peace with things eventually.
Like making a point with math for ram upgrades showing an estimate of salary costs discussing it alone vs just getting a new one. Or pointing out how say cost savings via getting rid of free drinks negate themselves with one additional turnover from interviewing time costs alone.
Just because your coworker didn't cop to complaining doesn't mean he didn't make it known he didn't appreciate sitting in the dark. Did you ask him first?
> [Patient] reports back pain that would be improved by a chair they have chosen.
Doctor writes a semantically ambiguous note. Reasonable to assume medical professional is not playing word games.
You -> "Guy in the wheelchair is a real pain in the ass because he wants a ramp."
Also, It's not really his job to tease out his co-workers thoughts and feelings, he said its fine so its fine.
It used to say
> he told me he didn't complain
The original article definitely read like
I decide to turn the lights off in a shared office without checking with anyone else, but my office-mate assures me that he wasn't the one who ratted me out
He liked to have the overhead fluorescent lights turned off, and use natural light coming in through the tiny window at the end of the room. I liked to have more light on for the room.
We compromised on the rule that whoever got to the office first would get to set the light switch policy for the day. It worked for us. No one needed to complain to HR or our manager.
Sometimes, if we are civil human beings to each other, we can work out solutions to problems that may not be ideal for everyone, but at least aren’t as bad as the other alternatives.
Of course, some businesses are too big to let that kind of thing happen, and some people are incapable of treating others like human beings or compromising.
And then there are cases where it simply isn’t possible to compromise.
I wish everyone good luck on this subject, and hopefully you won’t have too many of those bad situations in your life.