Confessions of a Rocket Scientist
Thursday, December 01, 2005
  My Men's Room Test

So far this new job has been all right.  I have been in a sort of limbo while the QA staff plugs away at the latest release.  They want to finish it in time for the last deployment which will occur this weekend.  This will be the last big release of the year and they want to get it finished in time for the holidays.  I don’t blame them.  The effect on me is that they can’t take the time to personally guide me through the ins and outs of their test process.  They have made a few attempts, but they have mostly had to concentrate on the task at hand and let me fend for myself.  I’m taking advantage of the situation to poke around and get familiar with the setup and to improve my own knowledge of xml.  Hopefully this situation will improve by next week.

In the process of interviewing for this gig I had to visit a lot of places, from Center City Philadelphia to the far-flung reaches of Boyertown.  Bethlehem is not too terribly far a commute compared to some of the places I interviewed.  And at every place I interviewed I applied my men’s room test.

Here’s how the men’s room test works.  At some point during the interview I ask if I can be excused to use the men’s room.  I like to do this just before the interview if possible.  I try to use the actual men’s room I would be using if I worked there.  You can tell a lot about a place by the way they maintain their men’s room.  If the place is well kept, well lit, and well stocked, one can assume that the company truly values its employees and pays attention to minor details.  On the other hand, a dirty, dark, and poorly maintained men’s room betrays either a company’s condescending attitude toward its staff or a disregard for details.  A bad men’s room indicates a bad work experience.

I have no direct experience with ladies’ rooms, but I assume the test is equally valid.

I ignored my men’s room test only once, and regretted my decision to accept a position at that particular place.  Fortunately my association with this outfit was mercifully brief.

Right now I work in a 3-story building.  The men’s room is common for all occupants of the second floor.  The building management firm does an admirable job of keeping it clean, well lit, and well stocked.  I have no complaints for the most part.  Occasionally I will find some paper towels on the floor or water splashed on the countertops, but the custodial staff takes care of this pretty regularly.  The bathrooms on the first floor are locked, and certain people are given a key.  I am one of the privileged.  The first floor men’s room seems to be cleaner and better maintained.

To take this analogy a little further, I have noticed that the deterioration of conditions in a company’s men’s room often coincides with the deterioration of that company.  The last two places I worked (both of which suffered from that new sort of economic debacle which corporate America euphemistically calls “restructure”) were prime examples: as corporate fortunes declined, so did the men’s room.

So keep an eye on where you crap.  It is very likely an indicator of your company’s future.

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Location: Quakertown, Pennsylvania, United States

Two time cancer survivor, happily married, LaSalle Alumnus

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