November 17, 2006

I got promoted, so where's my partitioned office?

Apparently, at our sick and unprofessional work environment, if you don't have a walled or partitioned office, it doesn't matter if you're a manager or not, what's important is to have the latter and then command the blunt acknowledgment and attention usually associated with being one (a manager), and I happen to experience both, being an office-less manager and just recently added another key to my key-chain, having my very own office!

So after a year working for our marketing department, doing geo-marketing research and liaison-work between the technical and marketing departments; I finally went back to my career routes, crude engineering work, were dust, sweat, informal (yet practical) attire & cluttered work spaces among other things are all a token of pride and love of the work in hand, to everyone's expectation, I seem much lively and sport a much more enthusiastic face instead of the lame and pale one while suited inside a cubical.

When I used to be a manager at the technical department, we had some sort of an open-space office policy at the time, were the whole hierarchy of staff set together without any obstacles except for the director/chief of the department, who's walled inside his own partition, so I really never knew how it feel to have your own, not that I never thought of it, but in general I was in favour of open-space offices policy and the positive synergy it trickles throughout the organization, but with the recent change I had, I was assigned with my very own office…

I've been with my current company for two years now, I was the 10th person to join, so I'm fairly old in the organization, and I fairly know everyone around, and everyone knows me as one of them "old" faces around, but really I only knew the extent of how ill treated non-senior staff get until I was walled-in, were you get far more than what you bargained for, as you seem to get some of the respect reserved for those behind partitions instead of it being the tandem of all interactions with all employees!

Although I was a senior manager from day one in the company, I was never treated as such, partially because I never sought such distinction, I view the mere act of baring the responsibilities of a manager as the ultimate reward for being one, but as I was relocated to the office, suddenly the word "Mr." became a prefix to my name, the IT trouble-tickets that aged for a couple of weeks at the help desk were now seen-into promptly, and colleagues who never spent the effort to know me beyond my name are now congratulating me for my new office(or was it my assumed new position, it doesn't matter by now)!!!

What did change? I'm the same smiley and down-to-earth person i always strive to be, I wasn't promoted per-se, just a simple change in capacity that eventually led into having my own office… what a sick sea of deluded mentalities do i work in.

I personally envisage the perfect organization to value each and every employee as its greatest asset, not simply rhetorical slogans but rather in practice, were all of them get equal distribution of benefits and privileges, for everyone to feel being invested in and appreciated beyond any titles and organizational hierarchies, everyone must be rewarded on a transparent scale.

The most destructive of forces in an organization is the negative sentiments induced by feeling unappreciated or unprivileged in comparison to the privileged few who're usually managers closer to the upper management and their side-kicks, forcing one to set his/her mind and expectations to such that will turn him/her to an executive-freak oozing with blunt requests and wasting valuable work time ensuring that his/her business cards are in print hours after being seated in the new post.

For instance, we have a limited underground parking space that fits 40-50 cars depending how tactful we –managers- were, the remainder of the company have to find their spot in the alley ways of the neighborhood behind us, a nuisance task considering the 200 staff competing every day for the scarce lots.

With such a pretext, the underground parking becomes some sort of a privilege that's offered to senior staff, to the point that one of them who lives in a walking distance from the company not to abandon his "privilege" in the parking lot out of courtasy as he feels its his "right"... flippin heck, i'll fire'em right up if it was my call.

But in my utopian vision of the company, I'd pool the parking lot among all employees, perhaps reserving a couple for the top-management and their guests, but otherwise on a first-come-first-serve basis, and what I'll get in return: a positive synergy from having all employees equally "privileged", and those who thrive to come early on time will be rewarded by finding a convenient spot right under their offices and the late one's can endure the pain of finding space in the scorching heat outside.

Back to my private office, I can't say that part of my sick psyche is dripping with ego and happy about it, you must admit that having your office translates into less intrusions and dealing with nuisance interruptions from people whom least of thier concerns is being productive while being paid for his time. But really I'd like to see myself outside of it with my staff, more – platonically- interment and face-to-face.

Investing in one's employees from the bottom of the organizational chart and up while valuing each and every staff member is crucial for a productive and homogeneous workforce and will ultimately change the sick attitudes and perceptions about becoming a manager or taking a senior post, humbleness must be the core of the corporate culture, by understanding that some people's job are to manage others, but it's no different than doing any other job in the team, just like a football team, were you have a captain & a goal-keeper along with 9 others, the former two may have a special role, but they're all part of the team of equal members.

Truly nothing like an open-space and open-door office policies.

Related DCMS reads:

I've been promoted; so where's my laptop?


Tamara said...

Basem Mabrook

I like your attitude, I do agree with you that a manager just has a different role in work, but that does not give them any right to be obnoxious. I work with Americans and have had a few offers that I'm considering and every one is warning me about working with Arab managers, even though I would be moving to a senior position. Very sad for us, that we get our sense of worth from titles. And none the less Omet Mo7amad.

Anonymous said...

Inshallah moubarak Basem

Hourani said...

fre7tellak :)

Khalidah said...

Hi Basem

Please send me your email address

Jordan Planet

MaherK said...

when you don't keep what you have been offered (parking lot, office, signing in & out) you ll get some respect of the decent majority while many will think you are being downgraded, and trust me some of the many will saddly take advantage of your humble attitude & hurt you.

I like you perspective, should be teached ;)