Monday, September 15, 2008

musical desks

I’ve had a variety of offices. I’ve worked in everything from a big office with actual doors to a cubicle to a converted lab, with the lab “conversion” consisting of moving out the lab equipment and moving in the office furniture. I’ve worked from home. I can work just about anywhere. But one place I refuse to work is a place that doesn’t bother to find any space at all for me.

This situation tends to happen to entry-level field monkeys. I first started out, as I’ve mentioned before, in the teeth of a recession. Not only was I clueless about how to get a job, the actual entry-level jobs were practically nonexistent. So I grabbed the first job offer I got.

The only time I actually saw the office was to pick up or drop off equipment, and that was long before/after office hours. My first day of work, I was given the address of a site and a time, and told to bring work boots. I felt like an interloper in my own company to not have even a cubby to put my stuff in.

After a relatively short time, work dried up. They kept me in the field until they had nothing left for me to do, then they let me go the day I came back into the office. The funny thing was, I came in at 8 or so and was told to wait for some meeting to scrounge up some stuff for me to do. But I didn’t have a place to wait. My “official” desk was shared by two other people, who were also in the office. One girl dragged in an extra chair, but we couldn’t find another, so I ended up sitting on the desk for the hour or so it took for management to locate their pink slips or something.

It wasn’t a surprise I was laid off – management hadn’t set eyes on me since they’d interviewed me. It was pretty clear I was nothing more than a warm body to do fieldwork. Why bother spending an hour scrounging up space for me, when I wasn’t supposed to be in the office in the first place?

It seems like a small thing, but if a company you’re thinking of working for doesn’t want to invest even one day in getting you set up, it’s a good indication of how much respect management will have for you. None.


Oger Lawyer said...

Lots of companies view entry level employees as disposable. Unfortunately, while office space is available and budgets are tight, even people who get offices with doors and windows have to worry about how disposable their company views them. The days of company loyalty, either way, are long over.

Short Geologist said...

The idea that entry-level technical folks are disposable in an industry where they're given lots of responsibility and minimal oversight is a recipe for disaster. But that's a whole 'nother post.

Silver Fox said...

Although you mentioned earlier that your work isn't entirely in geology, I've added your blog to my "Geoblogosphere" links.

You have a great way of describing all the work you are doing or have done.

Short Geologist said...

Thanks! I do have a bias towards geology (of course it's the coolest branch of physical science!) but a lot of environmental consulting stuff is equally true for engineers, biologists, chemists, etc.