How many people do you know that live like robots, trudging off to the office every day, to do the same thing over and over and over while trapped in their own personal 4’x4′ cell. Office Space became an instant cult classic for a reason: millions of Americans feel trapped with no way out.
Once upon a time, corporate executives sat down and asked themselves how to orchestrate the office environment to promote productivity. First, they had to determine the obstructions to productivity and then design to prevent those horrible things. Sadly, these schmucks thought that face to face interaction with one’s coworkers and personal conversations were a bad thing, so they threw up some cheap walls and required personal conversations be restricted to the lunch hour and other scheduled break times.
Do what? Someone actually thought this was a good idea. Of course, someone also made millions on the conveyor belt, which brought the need for specialization in a way that required one person to turn a bolt the same direction the same number of times a thousand times a day. How wonderful! Capitalism in action!
I was part of the madness just a few years ago. I was held captive. But by the grace of God I broke free. My wife loves me so much that she insisted that I take a risk and throw myself into a full-time copywriting internship that was available. The company I interned at actually split in half within four months of my joining the team, so I didn’t actually make it on staff there, but I did get the chance to escape the evil office cubicle.
This place occupied office space in Addison above the photography studio for a national hair salon chain. I walked through some funky, post-modern decorative art every day I went to work. Upstairs, we all sat at metallic tables with curves and cool designs. They never did finish decorating the space, but it felt like a creative think tank, not a stuffy office building. Watching cool photo shoots through the second story windows and listening to the photographers choice of alternative and pop music all day didn’t hurt, either.
Granted, the company was pretty much a flop, but there were some redeeming qualities to the place. As I was saying to a friend of mine the other day, the goal when searching for or building a company is to find a balance of creative expression and organizational structure. The first is chaos without the second. The second is dead without the first.