Monday, April 21, 2008

(Still) No Admittance

[Editor's Note: He's got two or three deadlines to meet, so you get a rerun from years gone past.]
{Author's Note: Don't worry, everybody has Internet Alzheimer's and can't remember what they read two days ago. They probably don't even remember that there is no editor.}

What shall we talk about today?

By the time you are reading this, I'll be pushing wood through a saw. I have help occasionally, but for the most part it is a solitary thing.

Many people used to work in solitary endeavors, or in small groups. Those types of situations are becoming much more common again, and many more people are joining the ranks of the fractured work force, as I have. I think it's better in many ways.

There is an image I have in my head of the average denizen of the office building. It is not an imaginary image, as I have worked there myself. It occurs to me that it it is the office building filled with information workers that is old-fashioned, not me and my version of the work picture.

The office building is the text version of belching smokestack-noon whistle-timecard punching-id badge-break room-factory of my youth. The cubicles and the old CRTs and the in and outboxes are the assembly line of text now. That's the modern version of the old sepia colored photo of a humming factory. You nice folks with the boxy shoes and skinny glasses and the Blackberrys and ACT folders open are the buggy whip people now. You are the people who used to wear coveralls and carry a sandwich in a pail and grind it out until you get a watch and bed with a lid. Not me.

The idea that you'd all congregate in one place made sense when there was a smelter in the back. The smelter is a server now, and you probably don't even know where it is. There is little reason to congregate in one place between low-pile carpeting and drop ceilings just to think. It is unlikely people will continue to do so much longer.

I have a network of persons to help me when I need it. That pool is too small, but not inconsiderable. We congregate when it is necessary. We generally each have the tools we need available to us wherever we are, or go. We buy components and materials and machinery from people we will never meet, and sell the fruits of these constantly shifting associations to other persons we may never meet. In the past, I've even occasionally worked in occupied homes and never met the occupants. It's not always necessary.

The little shelf outside the HR office with the brightly colored forms. The vending machine. The bagels laid out before all but the most hardy clerk arrives by a contractor no one has ever met. It's all going the way of the dodo. You cutting edge old-fashioned people are going to have to learn to live in the world outside the office tower. The world is booming, and it's kinda scary if your sun is of the fluorescent variety. Be brave, and do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of by those that say they can put the workplace genie back in the bottle.

I bet you'll like it out here.

1 comment:

Steve F said...

Count me as humming along in the choir behind your pulpit on this. Your sermon would be all the brighter but for this bit of stubborn envy compounded by a sticky sloth. But now Hugh is in Texas and you're still at the saw, which means there is hope for me still. Let these interwebs set you free...and all that.

Meanwhile IKEA vs. craft is here:
http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article04170801.aspx