The law of the office or Information is power

He who gets to the office earlier and knows that it might  be someone’s birthday goes to the kitchen and indulges in sweets and biscuits. He who knows that the majority of the people gather for tea around 11 a.m – mingles and creates bonds with co-workers. He who knows that there is a new type of tea in the kitchen –  one that he/she enjoys, stacks up on the latter –  for rainy tealess days. He who knows that the ITAdmin has brought in new gadgets goes in and just checks out what has arrived, asking for replacements if he/she sees anything they like. It is not a fact that they will get it, but they might.

office-chair-kqhlkvp1And, he who knows that new chairs are about to arrive, works out and mentally prepares to be the fastest, the strongest and the quietest …  in keeping this information secret.

My colleague is a bit of a prankster, and with him, the line between the truth and an april fools joke is very very thin… at best. I am never sure if he means what he says or whether he is just yanking my chain – which is fun, but can also lead to circumstances like the one of yesterday.

So, during my 1st week, when I was complaining that my chair was really uncomfortable, and that it was squeaking, I was told that I should literally sit tight and make sure I know when the new chairs arrive. When the time comes, he said, people go to reception –  or to the floor where they are delivered, they grab a box and they hold on tight to it.

I smiled politely, not sure how to react. I did not know my colleague that well anyway ( yet) so I abstained from further comments or clarifications.

I work in a company that portrays itself as a serious, employee centric, result oriented and open cultured collaborative firm. Things should be more organized than that, there should be lists, waiting lines, there must be a system. So I thought he was kidding.

He wasn’t.

On the day the chairs arrived, the Office manager came to me and asked me whether I was happy with my chair, and if not, he would reserve a chair for me.

Whew, I thought, I don’t have to go hug/sit on a box to make sure nobody steals it from me and that I get a good chair.

He said he would reserve a chair for me – Hm, so civil, I thought to myself as I could already picture sitting in a new, softer,  more comfortable chair – one that can actually be adjusted for back support and stuff.  So my colleague WAS yanking my chain when he said it was a finders keepers culture when it came to new things.

Little did I know that the office manager, being new himself –  did not know about the law of the jungle office. The chairs arrived, the guys were already at the reception point, they quickly distributed them among themselves and I remained with the promise that the office manager has made me.

You snooze, you lose. Finders keepers, losers weepers.  He who came late did not get any.

When I heard the used chairs of the finders keepers  being rolled out of the neighboring office, I opened my door and just grabbed one. I had already gotten the idea –  finders keepers for old chairs too!

The chair I got is used, ok, but it is way better than the one I had before.  And I console myself with the fact that the new chairs are not cool anyway ( they are not) However, next time the chairs arrive –  I am there. And I am not letting go of my box.


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