Musical Chairs: A Tale of Unnecessary Office Reorganization

I went the whole day yesterday without ever once realizing it was Thursday. It wasn’t until I was feeling happy that today was Friday that I realized I missed my regular posting day!

Now, those who’ve known me long enough know I tend to operate in geologic time. I don’t really relate to the calendar or even the clock too much. But this particular occasion was caused by something else. The real culprit serves as a classic example of government waste and inefficiency: I had to move to a new cubicle. For no real reason.

Why, you say? Well, due to staffing changes (ie, reductions), we had to move the mailroom so our front desk person could handle the duties. This required moving two other people. No worries: they could just move to the old mailroom, or to one of the other empty cubes in the building.

But no. Someone decided they had to switch around a whole bunch of people. So four people moved — 2 to the mail room, 2 to other places. Then the 2 mailroom people moved back to their original space, after the new mailroom construction was finished. Then more work was done on the old mailroom, and then myself and two other people moved down there. Why? So we could sit together.

Now, I agree that sitting with one’s staff group is in general the way to go. And in the end I probably scored a better space out of it (bigger, better window!). But the convoluted hullabaloo that has resulted from all this has rendered me unable to do my job for at least the past week. For three days I couldn’t answer the phone, cuz I was doing the physical moving and setting up. Since then, I’ve operated in this netherworld between trying to reorganize and trying to actually accomplish something.

And that’s just me. I’m the most efficient of the three people in this new space. Don’t even get me started on the time they have wasted/will waste as they settle in. (One person spent a workday and a weekend painting, because apparently white walls aren’t good enough. She also bought sitting chairs from a thrift store. Like we need a sitting area?).

And the money……While we scavenged the actual cubicle furniture, we ended up buying two brand new desk chairs, a new conference table, and fancy-pants chairs to match. And a door with a window, for the conference room. And guys to put it all together for us.

All this is thanks to your tax dollars. I understand that this sort of thing happens from time to time, but in this case it was completely unnecessary. I didn’t sit right with my staff group, but I was close enough to hear them talk. Oh, and did I mention: someone else from a diff. group will be moving, equally unnecessarily, into my old cube next week?

All I hear, time and again, is how we have so much work to do and we can’t get it done. If we eliminated all this kind of b******t from the picture (and dont’ get me started on useless meetings – that’s another post), we’d have so much more time to get things done. I realize this is more of a one-time instance and that the day-to-day inefficiencies are the real culprit, but add them all up and it makes me sick. Because my work is piling up, and the end result is that the public is not being served adequately. And that’s what chaps my hide.

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Ed Albetski

Yeah, two moves are equal to one fire.
We have some managers in our outfit who love to move staff around. Everytime they get new projects, they rearrange. They don’t seem to realize what a waste of time and money the process is.
This seems to reflect a lack of confidence in the managers. We (in IT who have to coordinate the IT resource moves) refer to this as “rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic”.
It snowed decently here in DC, so I’m filling the time reading blogs… 🙂