Since Apple included streaming internet radio as part of iTunes I have switched my habits as they relate to workplace music. I used to spend most of my time at work on Songza or directly plugged into the streams of a couple of my old favorites like Radio Paradise. At home I use Sirius Radio or Songza depending where I am and what I am doing.
At work iTunes has now become the main source. Especially two stations from Ireland. Both of these are labeled as Golden Oldies, one for 50’s songs and one for 60’s songs. What I really like the best about them is they tap into the recording industry practice at the time of having many artists record the same song. These stations play many of the songs you all know and (hopefully) love but as recorded by other artists than we expect. How about Unchained Melody but by Jimmy Young instead of The Righteous Brothers?
The second aspect I like about these stations are they play songs from artists we are more familiar with but songs that never really made the North American charts. Lots of UK charted songs that many listeners here will not know. It’s kind of like one of my other favourite pastimes, random Youtube surfing. You never know what you will find next to broaden your net horizons.
I spent two days at corporate head office last week. This is where I started my career, oh so many years ago. There have been many changes over the years but some things remain the same. First thing I noticed that had not changed was the wall paper. Exactly the same as I remember it almost 30 years ago. Also the same are the ubiquitous burlap looking partitions the form the cubical farms and the plastic flex hose going up to to the ceiling carrying the power and LAN wiring. I still remember asking why there were so many vacuum hoses.
One of the big changes was the lack of people. It used to be the cafeteria was always packed, even during work hours. It was a common adhoc meeting room. At any time there would be a dozen small group meetings happening around a table. Lunchtime required you to hurry upstairs to avoid the 20 minute lineup for food. Getting a table required somebody holding a spot. It was packed.
Over the last two days each time I stopped I to pick up a coffee it was practically empty. The head office cafeteria seats several hundred people and even at lunch there couldn’t have been more than 50. This afternoon I am in the second major office space we have in the city, home to a few hundred employees. The cafeteria here is literally empty. Zero. No one.
I’m not sure what to make of this. Does everyone leave the building now? Does everyone work through their breaks? Did I miss spring break week? (No by the way)
Reflecting on the empty common spaces I think we have lost an important sense of community. We don’t get to meet the people who work in other areas of the company. We don’t form a sense of common purpose. The family has grown up and moved away.
It makes me sad.
Last week I was cleaning up old email and found a gift certificate I received from Cisco for participating in a survey three years ago. I couldn’t recall ever ordering anything from the logo store. Not sure if the three year old gift certificate would still be good I surfed over to see what my rediscovered $25 would buy me.
I have long since stopped ever wearing branded clothing. “Vendorwear” was a pretty common look when I was a core network guy working in the Engineering department but as a customer facing employee with multiple product lines I make it a point to never wear a logo. Even outside of work I won’t wear vendor logos. I like to keep work and home as separate as possible. I am probably geeky enough without advertising it.
After ruling out all branded clothing, anything over $25, and all printed books I had the usual collection of cups, pens, mice, and office miscellany one always finds. Since I am partial to the Apple Magic mouse, and my wife already has the largest collection of coffee cups any three households needs I eventually narrowed it down to a simple nondescript notebook. I can always use a notebook even if just to sketch. At $11.99 I could even buy two.
Ok, let’s see if that gift certificate is still good. Add to cart -> checkout -> enter number. Success! Wow, I was betting against that. Cool. Maybe I will go back and make it two notebooks then. Edit shopping cart…whoa! $42 shipping??!?! For a 7×5′ notebook shipped using ground economy??
Around the office we sometimes comment that with the ever changing certification requirements some vendors must be in the training business more than the hardware business (yeah, you know who who are). Now I think they are also in the shipping business.
Edit cart – delete item. Back to the email -> delete.
Thanks for nothing.