Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An Office with a View

One of the downsides of consulting is that there is no permanence in what you do.  By permanence, I mean that I never get too comfortable with whatever I am working on or even where I am located.  They just change too much.  Unlike 'normal' jobs, where your title and responsibility remains the same for long periods of time, consulting is inherently about change.  I suppose one might argue that this lack of permanence might be a good thing as well - especially if you hate your job or situation and desperately need change.

I have never had an office.  I have never had an admin (or secretary as we used to call them).  I have never worked in the same role or with the same client for longer than 18 months.  Even at longer engagements, my role on the project is constantly changing according to needs.  One day I will be writing code and another I will be writing business cases.

My latest project comes with an unexpected perk - an office.  Well, not really an office as much as a phone booth.  It is approximately 6' by 4' in dimension with a table, phone and a window.  However, this piece of real estate has a door and is not a cube for once.  Today was my first day in my new phonebooth office.

My excitement at having a semi-private working space was dampened a bit this afternoon as I discovered what my view consisted of.  I look directly over some train tracks nestled between a building to my right and a scrubbrush covered hill and highway overpass to my left.

I don't know what it is about train tracks that attracts bums and filth, but there is an unmistakable association between all three.  Throw in a highway overpass nearby and you have a regular cesspool (though, not in an Indian-train-depot kind of cesspool way).  Today I was reminded of this even more as I unavoidably had to watch the homeless man under the overpass walk into the scrub brush, lower his drawers, and presumably drop a deuce.

Perhaps offices are overrated...