Be nice to the Engineers


John Baker

A tech company was in the process of relocating, so I had business in-house. Because of the sensitivity and nature of their work, confidentiality and security was very tight.

My space was in a temporary corner office, not much bigger than a broom closet. But the location did offer a front row seat to the comings and goings of the engineering and research staff. Now I'm not poking fun at this profession, but still, a very unusual crop of individuals to say the least.

For example:
-Everyday, one after the other, the engineering staff walked up to a turnstile - like in a subway, put a badge in a slot, pushed themselves through the turnstile and proceeded to a large metal door, pushed their finger on a keypad of sorts, then opened the door, which lead to another door. I watched this, day in and day out.
-Whenever they had meetings, they'd all go into the men's room, right across the hall, and each engineer would pick a stall, close the stall door, take a seat, then the director of development would turn off the lights and they'd have a skull session. Why? Well, according to the director of development, he didn't want any facial negativity to be seen by anyone offering ideas.

Time came to close the place down, and I was gathering my things. The temporary office that I was in was being dismantled, with a security staffer sitting right next to me. In addition I looked across the hall and up came the turnstile being unbolted to the floor. There was nothing attached to the turnstile - no wirers, no cable, nothing. It served no purpose. The keypad that was on the wall outside the engineering section, was held on by a glue pad, no wirers, no cables, - nothing. It provided no purpose for access to anything. The metal door wasn't metal at all - only painted with metal looking paint. When the door was propped up for other work, I saw the bolts on the door were hand drawn with a magic marker. The inside double door was just a door with no walls - nothing. Anyone could have just as easily walked around the thing. The men's room was dismantled, no plumbing, no sinks, just an empty room.

As the security staffer and myself watched this, we both kept looking at each other with this …. are you kidding me, expression on our face.
I signed out and headed for the parking lot. I got to my car, turned to the security staffer and looked up at the floor we just came from and said to him, "Strange." He leaned over to me and quietly said to me.. " In a week, I am so out of here . This place gives me the creeps!"
So for any of you accountants taking a position with research and development companies - be nice to the engineers.

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