We moved to the new St Elizabeths campus, Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters Building last month. Our first day in the new space was 11 Aug 13, after months, no *years* of hearing and talking about the first new Coast Guard-specific Headquarters building we've ever had, built just for us.
|The best view on campus -- overlooking the Anacostia River|
According to the move schedule, we had to be out of our spaces at Transpoint by 1600 on Thursday, and we had Friday off. I teleworked, declining to participate in the chaos that I knew would be the temporary worksite arranged to accommodate CG-82's aggressive worklist.
Showing up at St Es on Monday was some weird combination of the first day at a new school and moving household goods. CG-8 was assigned to the second increment, so we were the second bunch of people in the new building. CG-1 had moved over the week before (which has been *really* nice for me because all my programs were immediately available in the new building and I knew who to ask for all the good gouge about where stuff was and how it worked). I took nearly the most indirect, but most obvious route to get from the parking garage to my new cubicle that first morning (I have since refined by route to one that is completely inobvious, but super convenient -- gotta love the freight elevators!).
|The exterior Ceremonial entrance courtyard|
|The cafeteria, still in early stages -- now there's outdoor seating :)|
I'm not really sure how that FY15 budget got put together -- I suspect it was due to the very very very hard work and dedication of the Coordinator and one key analyst. By that time, all my stuff was pretty much done, and I was just standing by to help however I could. Regardless, not much got done besides the budget build that week, and even that was done begrudgingly. We were all too busy exploring our new home.
|View of one of the interior courtyards -- the shade structures are on LL5|
But it was somehow very exhausting anyway. I left the first couple of days by 1730, feeling like I had put in an 18-hour day. I think it was just the newness of everything...even figuring out where to change into uniform wasn't as simple as it used to be anymore. I used to wait until MC stepped out, close the door to my office, and be done with it. The new cubes don't allow nearly that much privacy. Now I have to make sure I've got all the requisite parts and pieces and make my way to the changing room down the hall or the restroom. At least I can multi-task if I change in the restroom :)
Things have settled down quite a bit now, and will continue to normalize as time goes on, programs come over from the other buildings, and amenities start up at the new one. My biggest dilemma right now is dry-cleaning. I'm out of clean uniforms for next week, and just dropped two off at the local dry-cleaners in town yesterday. I didn't have a chance last week (it felt like I bounced from crisis to crisis with not a minute to spare) to look for the temporary dry-cleaner's location in the new building...which really is pathetic on my part, since it's even on the same floor as we are. Once I get back into the dry-cleaning routine, one uniform in, one uniform out, I will have crossed a major hurdle in the move.
I'm still getting used to working in a cube farm. I didn't realize how spoiled we were, with our own offices. Sound is somewhat dampened in the larger space, but I can still hear distinct conversations from at least seven other Reviewers if they're talking in their cubes. And it's much easier to interrupt and distract people. It's just a pop of the head over the cube, instead of walking past their office door. I'm trying to use IM a little more effectively, so they can ignore me for the moment if they want to. The "gopher city" effect is definite cause for hilarity though...you call someone's name from a little ways away, and 9 times out of 10, if they're at their desk, they'll pop their head up above the cube wall, just like a gopher emerging out of their hole. The stand-up desks add to that effect, but I have become quite attached to mine.
I rearranged my cube twice before I feel like I got it right. Within the first five minutes of being in our new cubes, MC and I had taken out one panel of the cube wall between us, so we could sit at our desks and still talk to each other. Definitely a configuration management faux pas, but critical to coordinating work in the Body Shop. I tried putting my computer on the stand-up desk, but that meant my back was to the cube entrance which was a little awkward. Now, my computer is facing MC's cube, and my phone is on the stand-up desk, which I try to use for phone calls and for things that don't require computer work.
And I don't think I've said it yet, but the new building is just plain *nice.* Natural light, lots of views of green plants through the windows, the courtyards...all of it is such a welcome change from those dark, sick buildings we were in. The inconveniences are minor, and will be part of the landscape soon enough as people find ways to deal with them. I have high hopes that the new building, with its communal feel may help to change some of the culture at Headquarters...but that's a post for next time.