Part of the deal of being a consultant is having to go to different client offices on a regular basis. The first thing I do when I arrive at an office is visit the ladies’ room. Partly because I’ve drank 16 to 20 ounces of coffee between home and my destination, and partly to assess the corporate culture.
You can tell a lot about a place by the bathroom. If it looks like this, people probably like working there, take pride in their work and workplace and I’d bet there’s at least one woman on the executive team.
On the other hand, if it looks like this – well, best to work from home as much as possible.
One client’s office had a shelf installed next to the sink that was full of half-used cosmetics and communal hairbrushes. Ewww! I’ll bring my own lipstick, thanks just the same. Another not only had a lifetime’s supply of tampons and pads under the sinks, but in every stall there was a tampon, a panty liner and a maxi pad sitting on top of the toilet paper dispenser. Maybe people were too embarrassed to reach for the goods in the Costco packs?
Then there’s toilet paper. Note to corporate America: spend the extra 5 cents per roll and buy the stuff that doesn’t feel like dried leaves. Or just put a big bucket of leaves in there, it would probably be more aesthetically pleasing.
The other day I arrive at my second client of the day at 1:00 (like I told them I would), and the VP of Finance tells me he is leaving at 3:00 so I can use his computer then. And of course he has the only computer with the software I need. So I sat in a chair in his office checking my email and surfing the web for 2 hours before I could get started working.
When I finally get his computer, it keeps crashing because the dumb- ass has everything on his C drive and its near capacity. He had iTunes on it (which probably was the problem), but all it kept playing was Rod Stewart. He had over 6,000 songs in the library but it didn’t matter how I tried to change the settings, every other song it came back to Rod. Finally I just turned it off. I was there until 8:30; I should have been out of there by 6:00 if it wasn't for his stupid computer. Then it took me two full hours to get home because of a huge accident on the only freeway I could take to get home. This is why we get the big bucks.
One more thing...in the past couple of months I've been to six different offices, dealing with some combination of VP of Finance, Controller, CFO -- accounting people. THEY ARE ALL THE SAME GUY. Seriously. All of them are white, average build, balding and between 40 and 50. It’s starting to creep me out. And I am having a hard time keeping them straight in my head.
As if it wasn’t hot enough here in the Bay Area, D and I are leaving on Thursday for a long weekend in Texas (San Antonio and Austin). I know, we are certifiable. We will be spending the majority of our time indoors freezing our asses off in the 60 degree air-conditioning. Good times.
The Beat -- Mirror in the Bathroom mp3