I have had desks in four different spaces since first moving into this office back in 1999. I have had this current location since 2007. You would think that with that many moves in such a short period of time I would be used to packing things up and moving.
The oddest move came after a major reorganization of the department back in 2005. At that time all of my coworkers, except for two others, were moved to a different building and continued to report to the same manager. The three of us were given a new manager, a new group name and left behind to await a whole new selection of teammates to arrive. For a period of a week there was just three of us here, with the vast space echoing the silence.
You always adjust to the changes. Despite the many reconfigurations and renovations that have hit this office space over the past 11 years this has always been my work home. The “boneyard” where we experimented and made launched many a “skunkworks” project is long gone, replaced by cubicles. A brand new classroom sprouted up right in the middle of what used to the spaces set aside for the summer students. Over the months I learned to stop referring to “Kevan’s office” or “Kerry’s desk” and instead began thinking of them as the home base of the new coworkers. After all, for every ending there is a new beginning.
This time is different yet again. I sit at my desk and behind me I hear a coworker also packing up the office that I will start moving into on Monday. I can hear him pounding out his final emails, setting his voicemail notifications, and loading the boxes. I am starting to do some of the same tasks — sorting through piles of papers which at some point in the past seemed too important to recycle so they sat on the corner of my desk gathering dust for months. Today those papers are finally deemed expendable and are dumped into one of two bins — those destined for secure shredding and the other destined for general recycling.
There is a key difference between the two packing jobs taking place, however. On Monday I will be moving one spot to the north into a spot that has an actual door. He will be moving to a brand new company. We both will face new challenges as we adopt to the changes around us, but mine will still be for the same employer I’ve had for more than a decade now. I fear that this change is the first crack in my team’s foundation and that others will follow. Even if that doesn’t come to pass I know things will never quite be the same again. I must struggle to remind myself that while this is an ending, there must be another beginning right around the corner.
It will hit me on Monday when I begin to move my things into the new space. I will be setting up my computer in the space that was once Kevan’s and then Sean’s and lastly Johan’s. I will finally have the office space I have been waiting a decade to achieve. I will be expanding my job duties and thus be forced to leave some things behind for others to take over.
I guess it is time to bid farewell to that box that my old LG8100 cell phone came in. All those boxes full of used DIMMs that no one will ever use? Trash, I guess. All those folders shoved in my bottom drawer because I didn’t know what to do with them during the last move? Not sure yet. As is a tradition for some of us in the group, I will crawl under my current desk with a Sharpie and write my name on the underside. “Dan Overes 2007-1010” Monday I will crawl under my new desk and scribble my name beside the spot where Johan will have written his name. “Dan Overes 2010 – “