Sunday, April 30, 2006

Post Traumatic Toilet Stress Syndrome

I was reading another blog last night and the author made a random comment that triggered some long-suppressed traumatic memories of my worst-ever workplace. There are many ways an employer can make you feel worthless, constantly belittling you, paying you much less than you know other people are getting for the same work or simply giving you really lousy facilities.

My worst-ever job combined all of these but there were some bizarre twists on what they did with the work environment. Not long after I started there, they moved everybody into one building. Previously, staff had been spread around different offices throughout the city. On the surface, this was a good idea but the twist was that the overall floor space was much smaller - on average, each person's cubicle space was reduced by 1/3 and almost nobody had offices in the new building. Even the managers became cubicle dwellers. And the cubicles had really low walls so there was no more avoiding eye contact with cow-orkers. This didn't bother me so much but you soon found out who the anti-social ones were.

Imagine the fun and games of anti-social office drones with no interpersonal skills being put in a situation where they couldn't avoid face-to-face contact with... humans!

The worst part overall was undoubtedly what they did with the kitchen facilities. They were essentially a crime against humanity. Each floor had a kitchen are that was nothing more than a narrow bench, about two metres long with a sink and a microwave. But that part was just annoying. The horrible part was that this was right next to the toilet doors. As in less than one metre from the toilet to where you were preparing food and beverages. And you know how most communal toilets have some sort of vestibule or at least dog-leg between the outside world and the facilities? So you don't see all the goings-on as soon as the door is open?

Not these ones.

A straight view from your lunch to this tiny toilet facility. And as some female staff members told me, there was no real barrier between the men's urinal and the outside world. If they forgot to avert their gaze while making coffee, they could end up with an eyeful. Although I guess "eyeful" depends who was taking a leak at the time.

So one more tip for the evil bosses out there. Are your workers getting a bit uppity or even comfortable in their lives? Put them in a really demeaning work environment - that'll slap 'em down.


pigeon weather said...

excellent entry. i laughed, i cried!

Michelle said...

So you're saying that the toilet didn't even have a proper door to the outside world? That's a way to break the spirit of your workers. Especially the guy who doesn't have so much as an eyeful.

Mr Angry said...

I had a door Michelle, but that door opened directly onto the kitchen sink so people could be looking straight in. I suppose those who thought they had more than an eyeful could have cinsidered it free advertising.