Office move 2009
Yesterday afternoon some long awaited details about my team’s upcoming office move made their way out to the team. At Microsoft, it’s a common practice to divvy up offices based on seniority – meaning those who have been at the company the longest get the first shot at window offices, and those who are newest get the last choice (often this means farthest from a natural light source). Note that seniority in this context does not include factors like level / title or where you are on the management hiearchy (though I’m sure there’s some point on the way up where you’re able to “pull rank”). For example, I am not a manager but I’m higher on the office allocation list than one of our development leads who joined the company 6 months after I did.
As a result of all this, when word of an office move arrives it is a safe bet that at least half the team will immediately begin compiling their own personal seniority list. The goal of course being to see where they fall and estimate their chances at a window office. Among the colleagues I share a hallway with, yesterday’s list compilation was group effort.
It occured to me that a lot of effort is duplicated at times like this. For example, I’ve heard that each team’s admin was working feverishly on various logistics for the move, including compilation of just such a seniority list. I began to wonder if there were any crafty admins out there who indirectly delegate this task by simply walking the hallway roughly 20 minutes after the move announcement is sent out and appropriating one of the various excel spreadsheets the team members had invariably just produced.
A bit of trivia:
In my roughly 4.5 years at Microsoft I have occupied 8 office locations.
Most of my office moves roughly correspond with a change in manager.
The longest I stayed in a particular office (my current one) was 1.5-2 years.
The shortest was about a month.
My office history includes being doubled up in an interior office, sitting in a “shared workspace” environment (basically a big room with about 8-10 fancy / large cubicle setups and a big common area with a projector and conference table), having rather nice window office for a few months, and most recently having a more run-of-the-mill interior office.
This time around, I fell exactly at the middle of the seniority list. Most likely this means I’ll have my pick of non-window offices.
Additional trivia: The gap between me and the most senior person on the team is about 15 years.