Friday, October 7, 2011

Personal space

It's interesting how much the space in which you are working can affect how you feel about any given gig in TempTown. There are the obvious downers, such as computers too close together, bad temperature control -- although in my opinion, this includes only when it is too warm. If it's cold, put a sweater on. When it's hot -- and that's usually the problem -- you can't take your clothes off. You'll get fired. And most of you, I don't want you to take your clothes off. Nonetheless, there is always some sack of shit, usually an older woman, but always a woman, who wants to fuck with the thermostat, and trust me, they are not trying to make it cooler. The room we're in on my new project is perfectly comfortable, 11 people happy with it and one sack of shit over there fucking with the thermostat. Yes, she wants it warmer and yes, she's in this room even though on the first day one of the agency people pointed out the warmest room to sit in "if anyone tends to get cold." Did our thermostat-fucker go to that room? No. I think passing on the warm room and then jacking with the thermostat is punishable by death, but, once again, the District of Columbia's oppressive gun laws stand in the way of justice. But I digress.

No, you expect it to be crowded, you expect the temperature to be higher or lower than you would like. Veterans don't really even notice these things. And while veterans notice it, they expect some jackhole to unilaterally mess with the thermostat even if everybody else is happy with the temperature. No, I'm talking about the things that can't be changed, the things that vary from one work site to another, the things that determine whether a job is tolerable or not. The things that are the difference between a project that is OK and one where somebody is going postal.

Yeah, baby, I'm talking about radio reception, internet access and cell phone signal.

First, don't tell me to get an Ipod. If I want to listen to AM talk radio, or even FM music, that's what I want to do.  An Ipod won't change that (unless I want day-late podcasts, which I don't, so don't play the Luddite card on me, emeffer). Yes, I can bring CDs on many projects, so that would take care of music even in the absence of an Ipod, but I actually prefer news and sports radio, so radio reception is key.

Internet access should be a no-brainer. Of course I want it. Most project don't allow it. They figure (rightly) that you will spend too much time fucking off surfing and not enough time coding documents. For those of us capable of sprint and drift (code a bunch of documents quickly and correctly, then surf for a bit), lack of web access is particularly irritating, since we are paying for the sins of temps who can't balance access to the outside world with the requirements of the job.

Finally, there's cell phone signal. A stunning number of buildings in DC have crappy cell phone reception. Sometimes, though, this goes to the extreme. The project I just left was in a space where there was no cell phone reception. Text messages, voice mails, everything came through hours later. Plust you were forced to wander the neighborhood (OK, leave the building) to make an outgoing call. Serious pain in my butt.

In any event, I would hope that anyone would understand how these three things can affect your view of a project. My last project had no cell reception, very limited internet (meaning the filter sometimes didn't work and you could break free, at least briefly, into the great wide open) and no FM reception. No wonder I hated it.

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