The Xerox Room – Office Life
In my 25 Things entry, I mentioned how the movie Nine to Five had a great influence on my views of office culture and this past week or so, I’ve noticed a recent parallel. We’re well past the days of the copier being just a copier, it’s everyone’s networked printer too, but what hasn’t changed is that when it breaks down or freaks out, most of my co-workers fare no better than Judy Bernly:
This scene remains one of my favorite from the film and that line, “Just watch this panel, the machine will tell you just what to do,” is still true of Xerox.
Our copier/printer will tell you exactly what needs doing should a paper jam or similar occur. That doesn’t keep my co-workers from not only staring at the machine, but lingering in the room until someone comes along that’s brave enough to mess with it. So when someone–often me–comes along to sort out what’s wrong (by following the on-screen directions) I’ve got an audience. One day I was fortunate enough to see someone’s genius repair method of kicking the machine. Brilliant!
The only other weird thing about our copy room is the theme of abandonment. It’s also our pantry, so there’s the fridge and coffee machines, toasters, the microwave, etc. At first I thought it was strange that people would send jobs to the printer and leave them there… for days. And not just work-related stuff, but personal things: e-mails, financial statements, map directions, church fliers, job offers… many of these things with their names or e-mail addresses on them. It then occurred to me that it was only natural considering the microwave and fridge suffer from the same problem. There are days that you can’t even open the refrigerator without getting ill and the question, “Do you know whose food this is?” is a constant.
Also a constant following a clean-up, “Who threw away my…?” Ah, office life.