Remember when polar bears roamed the Great Lake State? (and people smoked in their offices?)

Neither do I. But I am thinking about the Jurassic Age right now. The one during which I gave birth to a baby dinosaur and a baby mouse within three years.

Yesterday I posted a gorgeous photo on my blahg of where I park at my work [almost] every day. I also posted it on facebook and today DogMomster posted a couple of pics — her parking lot and out her office window. I don’t have a window in my cube these days. I work in a cube farm, albeit a beloved one. If I want to look out a window (onto that pond), I just swing up outta my chair and walk a few steps and I’m there.

Back in the Jurassic Age, I worked over at “That Darn EPA”. I have to clarify that I worked for a government contractor (for years). I worked for Byron. In the early days of my career there, I was the keeper of a window that looked out upon a dusty old hallway with a shredder and I dunno what other kind of stuff. I can’t really remember. I don’t think that window exists any more but in the Jurassic Age, people were always coming to The Window. My job was handing out printouts to people and accepting hand filled out “data sheets” for keypunching and processing. I didn’t get paid very much and my buddy Byron wasn’t into training and during the first six months, I had some serious issues with the whole situation. I liked Byron but I was totally bored and there was a “tech supervisor” who absolutely drove me nuts with his Christian conservative misogynism. I thought I might have to quit and find another job but then (out of the blue) the “tech supervisor” quit and I didn’t get his job but I did get end up with a pretty big raise* and some new responsibilities. I taught myself everything under the sun including FORTRAN and, instead of quitting in six months, I stayed around for 15 years. It turned out to be a great job to raise young children by.

So, fast forward a bit. I had two kids. My supervisors created a part time job for me that allowed me to share child care with the GG, who also worked over there and they allowed us to devise our own schedule. He would drive over to work at six AM. I bundled the kids into the car and got there at two PM. He met me in the parking lot and drove the kids home. It was a cool way to avoid day-care but it wasn’t always easy. Were we tired at the end of the day? Yes!!!

Back to windows… I still spent a lot of time dealing with the The Window but by that time, I also had a cube I could retreat to. It also had a window. That window allowed me a view into my boss Byron’s office. If Byron wasn’t hiding from me (and he often was), I could see him in there. I will never forget the time he was printing ASCII nude women from the Merit Network on his dot matrix computer. I was *not* freaked about that and neither were the other young women I worked with. We totally cracked up. Look what the boss is doing! He was a wonderful boss and this didn’t feel creepy to us, in fact, I made sure to tell Byron’s beautiful daughter about that incident (and others) at his funeral a few years ago.

Those were the days. I have to admit that I don’t miss all of the ashtrays around that old office at the EPA but I do miss a lot of the people I used to work with.

* Don’t get me wrong. It was a huge percentage point increase but dollar-wise, it just barely allowed me to pay my rent and car payment.

3 Responses to “Remember when polar bears roamed the Great Lake State? (and people smoked in their offices?)”

  1. Margaret Says:

    That child exchange would be very stressful! But we were all younger back in those days. 🙂

  2. Pooh Says:

    The stinking ashtrays! Ugh and double ugh! I worked with one man who took glee in blowing smoke at a pregnant woman, who was still having morning sickness and afternoon sickness into her second trimester. I’d have barfed on his desk if he blew smoke at me.

  3. jane Says:

    a couple of jobs ago I worked in a nice suite that had windows to the parking lot, but at least there was natural light close at hand. A friend of mine printed a transparency that said ‘Window of Opportunity’ and put it where everyone could see it. 😉