Worst Desk Location Ever

After getting laid off as a highly-paid programmer at a startup I had the good fortune (??) to land another job within 2 weeks. It was a three month contract at another startup company in a high-rise downtown. The pay was much less and I had no benefits – but I had to take it or lose my unemployment checks. Despite the circumstances, they saw fit to assign me the title “Senior Sofware Consultant” – a bullshit title if I’ve ever heard one. On my first day, I arrived promptly at 8:30 and they had: no desk, no chair, no computer, and nothing for me to do. My new boss was out of the office.

Feeling less than welcome, I spent the first few hours putting my Senior Software Consultant skills to work with the the office manager (a rarely helpful, frequently interrupted, and psychotically perky woman in her 40s – you know the type) removing my desk from a cardboard box and putting it together with a hex-wrench. When I was finished, they had me watch someone else program who was very annoyed at my unexpected presence and much too busy to explain anything. My first day ended with me being introduced by some manager in a department-wide meeting as “our new programming resource”.

When I showed up the next day they had put my rolling mini-desk in a busy little hallway sandwiched between two cubes. No desk had been in that location before. Consequently, as people walked around the corner during the course of the day, I was collided with no less than five times and endured endless, inane and consistantly smirky “Oh, look where they have you!”-type comments. The two cubes on either side of me were occupied by none other than my boss…and his boss.

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12 Responses to “Worst Desk Location Ever”

  1. 1

    This is great…really, it makes me laugh by not having to think about how silly and inane my day has been. Please keep posting little rants about bs corporate culture.

  2. 2

    I just had to make some smartass replies after reading “Worst Desk Location Ever.” I am an engineer. Please do not take any comment as being offensive.
    “Startup company” – is that an official title for a company or is it a convenient label these days to give an excuse for management being totally unorganized and unable to run anything?
    “Software consultant” or “Programmer” – Those sound like titles for the jobs we all consider high paying and we could all upgrade our position and do someday after taking a few short on-line courses or after reading a few books.
    “Arrived promptly at 8:30” – Promptly and 8:30 don’t go together where I work, where earlier than 7:30 is the office culture for many.
    Your desk location reminds me of my first desk – a small table stuffed in the entrance hallway to a corner space where two other engineers were already sitting.
    At that same company, we’re now downsizing and preparing to move to a smaller office space; I’m notifying the office manager responsible for the move that I’ll take any desk, even in the storage room with the boxes, as long as I continue to receive my paycheck and they don’t take my stapler.

  3. 3


    Permit me to make a few snarky comments of my own.

    Office ‘culture’? Now there’s a bullshit term if ever I heard one. There’s nothing remotely cultural about the work environment unless you work at an embassy or travel agency. I know what you meant, but I just find it an amusing way of putting it.

    Unfortunately, reading extra books and one-liners is what it takes to have those job titles some of us would like to elevate ourselves to.

    Where you work isn’t what this entry is about. It’s where he works, which just means your point on what you think of the timing is pretty moot.

    And in conclusion, just because you’re prepared to work in any crummy old location, doesn’t mean other people are, and if your employers don’t see enough value in you remaining with them by sticking you in god-awful places, perhaps a career change is in order.

  4. 4

    how low can you go?

  5. 5
    Philip Von Schmack

    James, you sound like a real db.

  6. 6

    This story makes me crack up. This kind of stuff makes you feel like you’re in the twilight zone.

  7. 7

    “…Just as long as they don’t take my stapler” — too funny!

    Hey, if I can have my ipod and a decent KB/Monitor I can program just about anywhere.

  8. 8

    Hahaha, this is seriously one of the funniest posts on this site. I love the pictures too, just wow….

  9. 9

    I had a similar experience. I was hired to run sales & marketing for a company and they put a small desk in the corner of the main conference room for me. At first I thought it was cool that I had my own conference room and then discovered that everyone still expected to use the conference room and would just show up for meetings there ( in my office?). At first, I just pretended to sit in on the meetings as if I had called them, but soon after I learned it was just a good excuse to vacate my office and disappear for an hour.

    After a week, I moved all but 3 of the chairs out of the conference room to give people a hint.

  10. 10

    No doubt your location made you highly productive.

    I had a similar experience when working for a software company at a client site, but I didn’t get any desk, I was directed to sit at desks that were ‘open’ which ended up meaning I got to work while people were either in a meeting or at lunch. I spent 4 days moving from desk to desk or standing in the hall waiting for a desk, then I went home.

  11. 11

    Is that an inflatable giraffe ?

  12. 12

    @James – how do you know someone’s an engineer?

    Don’t worry he’ll tell you.

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