I’ve spent part of today packing up my office. No, I’m not leaving Siemens. I’m not changing jobs. I’m simply changing where I work from: I’m going to start working from home a majority of the time. It’s just a trial for now, but I’m hopeful its going to work out long term. I do have a few folks that work for me that are also in my office, but they’re all grown ups and I will be in the office one day a week if they really want to remember what I look like (or buy me lunch).
I’ve been in this office since 2002, shortly after I came “back” to what was then EDS (when I left it was SDRC). I started “back” in November of 2011, but we had space in another nearby building so I haven’t been in this office since the beginning, but nearly so. It was my first “real” office, i.e. not a cubicle. It was pretty prime real estate – an actual corner office on the top floor (albeit it was only a 4 story building…).
All things change with time and the need for me to have an office has changed. Out of the gate I can save 2 hours a day of commuting. Even if I split that with work, that’s an extra hour of work and an extra hour for me. A lot of what I do these days involves creating, writing…or being on calls. I can do all three from home, and two of them (the first two) I can actually do better from home. And in case not, I will still have a cube in the office.
Packing up has given me a little glimpse into the work years that I spent in this office. I’m by no means a pack rack but I am still throwing away about half of what I’ve gone through. Here’s a look at some of the things I’ve come across on various shelves and in drawers that will not be making the trip to either my home or my cube:
- Many really thick strategy and planning books, some dating back to 1999. I did flip through some of them and marveled at how many good ideas were in them – some we still haven’t pursued. (Note to any competitors that might read this: don’t sully yourself…these all went to the shredder).
- Newspaper clippings that almost got me fired. This is a long story, one that probably deserves a post of its own….someday, but there once was a time that I thought I was doing the right thing, but turns out I wasn’t and had to spend a frantic weekend and a little bit of the next week undoing the wrong thing to make it a right thing. I saved the newspapers (where the wrong thing would have happened) as proof that it didn’t. I don’t think any of the people involved in that are even working anymore, much less at my current employer, so those can go to the circular file.
- CDs. Literally Terabytes worth of CDs. MSDN CDs. Marketing CDs. Video CDs. Mini CDs. Business Card CDs (remember those?). Event CDs. Collateral CDs. Training CDs. A whole drawer of CDs. Life was messy before dropbox.
- Old org charts. When I first came “back” to EDS I had more than 40 people working for me. I immediately had to make the choice of which of the 25 would remain working for me. Over the course of the last 13 years, I’ve been as low as having no one reporting to me, but never had more than that initial 40+, even though it only lasted a few weeks. There are the names of people on those charts I consider friends still today, names of people that probably don’t like me very much still, and names of people that are no longer with us – both the business and some the planet.
- Lots of shiny brochures. Most for “us”, some from competitors and some from partners. Those were fun to read to see what we used to say about ourselves – how much its changed and how much it hasn’t.
- Cables. Probably one for every CD I found. There is no way I have had as many gadgets as the pile of cables I had would indicate. It must be that cables reproduce in some abiotic process when closed in office drawers for weeks on end. But is anyone needs a fat to slim SCSI cable, let me know (quickly).
So what is coming with me? The few books that I keep in a reference library. A few pieces of art that do give me something to reflect on. And of course my PC (with only a few necessary cables – power, network and video).
Going through all of this has been a nice trip down memory lane. Getting rid of it has made me realize what’s important now.