Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Adam's Guide to Cubicle Life

I spend a lot of time at work. Recently, I've started thinking about what I want and need to keep at work. So, I thought I'd share.
  • Extra coffee mugs. Even if you don't drink coffee, you'll drink tea or water or soda or something. If you drink coffee, and you don't make it for yourself at home in the morning... chances are that you're not running at full speed when it comes time to grab the freshly-cleaned mug off the counter.
  • Your breath is going to smell like crap after all that coffee. Keep a breath-tamer with you. Mints, gum, Listerine, Toothpaste and a toothbrush... it doesn't matter, just do something about that nasty breath,
  • Ramen. Maybe its the college kid still rearing his save-money-for-booze-conscious head... but ramen is delicious. The beauty of ramen is twofold: 1) You save money by not going out for lunch. $8.00 vs $0.08, the choice is obvious. 2) You can wake up 7 minutes later, because you don't have to make a sandwich or something in the morning.
  • Instant Oatmeal. It is also dirt cheap. It's easy to make. Can save upwards of 15 minutes of sleep. Eat it while you do your morning e-mail [deleting] routine.
  • Toys. Its inevitable, your job is going to be boring at some point. Make sure you have something to play with... there isn't enough news to read in the whole world that can occupy 8 hours of boredom.
  • Headphones. This may seem like a given, but even if you're not listening to anything, headphones put up an imaginary force field around you. People are about 45% less likely to come tap you on the shoulder.
  • A "place setting." You'll need a spoon, fork, knife, bowl, and plate. Keep a stock of napkins too. When someone brings the extra food leftover from a meeting, and sets it in the common area... they never bring utensils. Do you really want to miss out on free food just because you're not prepared?
Never-ever put anything in the common fridge. The Fridge Nazi will come throw your food away everytime. I know you're laughing right now... because EVERY office has the Fridge Nazi. So, you have to keep beverages and leftovers cold... what do you do? You have to get a mini-fridge. Once you've got your mini-fridge installed, your food options have just expanded from 2 to 2000. You can take lettuce, and salad dressing. Sandwich fixin's. Chips and salsa. The list is nearly endless.

Maybe I should write a book. How to Save Your Sanity in the Cubicle Sea.
I've already got the table of contents started:
1) How to Select a Toilet.
2) The Desktop Chef: 10 Recipes for the Lazy.
3) Cube Essentials. What Office Depot Doesn't Carry.
4) How to Kill Time Without Getting Pink-Slipped
5) Boring Meeting Survival. How to Pay Attention in a Meeting
6) Boring Meeting Survival II. How to Make Pretend You're Paying Attention.
7) Manager Handling 101
8) Political Science: Office Edition.

Yes, you read that correctly... I'm going to write an entire chapter about where you should poop. On that note, this posting has concluded.

P.S. Its really cool when someone you respect links to your blog. Raymond Chen linked to me yesterday. I was literally schoolgirl-giddy when I saw the link. Thanks Raymond.

--- Update 12/17/2005
Great comment from one of the guys on my team:
Coffee mugs, why so many? I will tell you why so many mugs. Boeing people like to be recognized and reminded that they successfully deployed an airplane bolt system back in 2003, or that their group of 34 people were able to reach a system and process maturity level 2 rating in '04. These are all great accomplishments that mean nothing to the person on either side of you cube. I personally don’t care to know that Mr. Boeing Bluebadge was on this team or that team...yet I am somehow obsessed with reading each and every one someone puts up to their mouth. It's almost like every time they take a sip of tea or coffee they are whispering to you "Pssssstt…Hey check out what I did back in 2001 on the military program!"

Monday, December 05, 2005

Two Recent Random Thoughts

I often have really random thoughts... ask anyone who has heard me describe a dream, and they'll know exactly what I'm talking about. But, sometimes I just have random ideas/thoughts while I'm awake. Here is a random sampling.
1) This idea is actually kind of good... and if I had the time, it would be really fun to develop this. "EventCasting." This is just another use of "enclosures" in RSS. The basic premise is this: you get a plugin for whatever calendar system you use, Outlook, or whatever Lotus uses, etc. Then you subscribe to feeds that automatically add things to your calendar. Bands could have EventCasts. Venues could do it. TV Shows. Or it could even be a part of your Yahoo! Group. I got this idea as I was leaving my house last night, and got stuck in the traffic caused by people leaving Seattle Center, because I found myself wondering: "I wonder what was going on tonight." Since it adds to the calendar that you normally use, every time you sync up your PDA, Smartphone, or even your Audiovox SMT5600 (my favorite device of all time) the event gets sync'd too... so you'll always know what's going on.

2) I remember talking to a friend's dad a couple years ago about getting hydrogen for fuel cells. People don't think hydrogen is safe, and its also kind of expensive to "make". So, this is my random thought about hydrogen creation... and I have no idea if it has any basis in science or technology. If fish "breath" water, and extract the oxygen out of it... what happens to the leftover hydrogen? Could the corollary to the process that fish use to extract oxygen from water be used to extract hydrogen? Or am I completely bass-akwards (pun-intended)? Do fish just extract "free floating" O2 from water?

Anyways... I realized that I've never really written about this... but I'm working on my Master's Degree from Carnegie Mellon West. Its a ton of work... but my team (Team PANTZ) is awesome. And we're working on cool projects. Right now we're developing the basic functionality of eBay. I'm the Project Manager (just like on The Apprentice), so I'm trying to stay organized...