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1996 Office

There’s always more to a business experience than the public face – intrigue, fascinating details, and interesting history.

The office

The office

By the time I created this 17th revision of the office layout I’d been with the company five years, longer by a few months than for any other employer.

Office map, primarily to keep track of the electronic infrastructure

The map holds more details than memory could ever retain.

In those days signal mapping procedure was a primitive exercise because of the lack of equipment to do so and the mysterious undocumented cable system (port card to cable to patch panel, out the back of patch panel to cable bundle to under the phone room and from there to the station). As I discovered details of which cables matched which terminals and ports and where they passed through that awful patch panel, I added it to this document. Then when something went wrong, I was in a better position to get to the bottom of it and find the fix. A few years later I spent a weekend and replaced all that with a modern network that enjoyed long years of near perfect up time.

A glimpse into the personalities:

Kim was the receptionist with the soft southern accent. Always pleasant, she was the witness to the car theft, even helping make it possible.

The purp came inside and asked for a drink of water. Happy to comply, Kim left her station. When she returned, the bosses car was exiting the lot. It was discovered later in Spokane much abused.

Greg was with the company until recently. He was one of those personalities who put out the tough bravado front. He prided himself on his physical prowess. Before he died of a cancer that he never admitted having despite all the obvious signs, he admitted to one regret: he’d not bought a Corvette. I remember my surprise when he showed up at work looking like he’d aged twenty years in the two weeks he’d been gone. He told me that he “threw out” his back and held to that story to the end. He tried to confess that he had cancer the day before he died, but couldn’t get the words out.

Bill and Ginnie were the highly principled and superbly decent couple that drove and managed the marketing department with their able assistant Shaneice. They’d both already retired at least once, Bill from Visa and Ginnie from the Social Security Administration. Shaniece was hard working and ever serious. Bill stayed with the company until heart problems took him. Great guy! His wife Ginnie was no less wonderful.

Ron is still with the company. He’d previously made his mark with Kelly Girls. He was one of the last to switch from using a terminal to a computer because he saw no benefit to the change. Indeed, he was right. Terminals had a simplicity that stopped many problems from existing at all.

Cindy and Heidi were our clerical department. They did the data entry and file pulls. Cindy was a tiny attractive woman whose personality more than made up for her diminuative size. She left after her divorce was final.

Of the names on this cable map, three are still with the company. At least three have since died. One went crazy, and the rest either quit or got fired. One married a Canadian and left the country.

Some of these were very good people with sterling character. Some were just characters. Some were substandard individuals. There are so many  interesting stories yet untold! Maybe they’ll never be.

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