Foremost, I do apologize if any images seem haphazard or out of place. It was hard to find creative common images that depicted office life in the era that I’m talking about, or show images about devices or setups that I describe. Any images of hardware are of those I took myself of devices I used to own. With that, let’s get started!
As someone who’s been working in an office for two years now, I can see how people can get annoyed with it. However with working in Food City and what was available for jobs when you were 16-18, working in an office was a dream.
Now I did have some sort of experience working with my parents. But it wasn’t really office work. Truth be told, I was still an observer. And even then, they were still busy trying to keep you off a computer rather than letting you grow with what you were good at. (One reason I’ve entered the gaming scene so late).
But having after found some stuff in my later years, I really wish I was either five years older or getting the chance to work in a real office environment. I probably would regret it with all the stuff I’m trying to publish right now, but I suppose I have a romanticized view about office work.
My vision was a suited guy going into a multi-story office building, carrying a Dell Latitude X1 in a laptop bag and going to an important meeting. An iPaq is stuck into the same bag, talking to over ten coworkers about projects and coordinating what to do. Clean like an expo center. Having an office not on the first floor, with a window showing out what the city was doing. Even it was something a bit menial, be in a group of different people doing stuff.
It didn’t help that the advertisements for business tools fed these dreams. Seeing business-attired people cradle PDA’s in their palm, unboxing flatscreen LCD monitors and looking out big glass windows. Most of it was emphasis on the tech, though. Palms, the first generation of smartphones, big old servers. Being in workgroup in Windows. Having a network. The office environment was taking a radical change due to the new tech that was coming out.
Network was actually a big thing. Everybody always emphasized that it was a business utility. Then all of a sudden most everybody’s house could see each other’s computers. Even up to this day, at least where I live, I believe I’m the only person in the neighborhood with a network that shares data on a network and deals with other computers.
But one of these “relics” I got to fool around with in 2013. I was able to snag an iPaq 5500 series of Craigslist, toting it home. It was the first time I really got to use Windows Mobile on a PDA. I eagerly tried to stick it into my workplace at Insight Publishing, but soon discovered that it was sadly obsolete. It wouldn’t connect to the newer wireless networks. You could only sync mail when it was in a dock, which you might as well just checked it on your PC. Newer Outlook software didn’t sync with handhelds anymore. I could see it was a dying trend.
In line with this, my workplace got a new server. Their old setup wasn’t even a server, just a Windows XP desktop parting out information on a shared hard drive. Lo and behold a Dell Poweredge 1950 got plopped in their lap. It’s been sitting around a week now because of obsolete computer issues; can’t put 2003 on it because of service ended. Any OS higher and everyone has to upgrade their computer.
And all of these things would be maintained by the IT guy. Or the “Administrator”. The tech gurus to grant you access to thy holy server. And you had to know a bit what to do when you were poking about there. That’s why they had user and “client” machines. I will admit, I think people were a bit tech-savvy smarter in offices back then.
Point of all of this? It may have been pretty cool to have worked in an office environment with all these new technologies at the time. It’s probably easier now. But its a different way of doing things, and most certainly not how things were. If its better or worse, that’s for you to decide. I think it is better. Still, nothing beats having a blade server in your closet handing out information.