Friday, May 28, 2010

Some Bathrooms Never Change

Last year, through some cosmic déjà vu, I found myself working at the facility of my old company.  I was laid off five years ago, but my new company had entered an agreement with my old company (they have since broken up and now we treat them like an old boyfriend). I found myself testing our new instrument in their labs, right back at my old facility.

The biotech instrumentation field in the Boston area is quite close knit and you will most likely know everyone within two degrees of separation.  This can be good or bad, but it mostly means that you can’t burn any bridges because you’ll never know who you’ll have to do business with in the future.

The first time I walked into the building my old company after three and half years, the lobby filled me with memories of good years with great co-workers and fun, often stress-filled projects.  I felt a strange sense of familiarity yet I could see that things have changed.  The cafeteria and stairwells were updated.  There were new faces as well as old.  It was great to catch up with some of my old colleagues, some of whom I had worked closely with.  Although I ran into many familiar faces, all of my closest friends in R&D were laid off eventually. 

But nostalgia didn’t really hit me full force until I walked into the bathroom.  It was exactly the same as when I first walked into this building for the first time 15 years ago (when I say that, I feel really OLD!).  Nothing had changed.  The tile, sinks and walls were exactly the same.  Even the door to the handicap stall was hanging crooked like it always had been.

The first time I walked into the ladies room at my current job, I was surprised by the light pink color on the walls.  Now I've gotten used to it.  But if I leave this job and then come back to visit, I'm sure that color will immediately jump out at me again.

In my new bathroom, there are auto flushers.  So when I was travelling back to my old facility, I would use the toilet and stare at it wondering why it didn’t flush.  It’s a work bathroom, they should all be the same right?  Somehow I can’t get around the fact that they were two different workplaces.  Even after spending a year working at my old facility part time, I couldn’t get used to the two different toilets.

From an old PostSecret.

Since the break-up, I’ve been back to pink auto-flushing bathroom.  But the break-up has just been another way my old company has screwed me over.  I had worked there for 12 years and was well on my way to becoming a lifer despite an hour-plus commute when they sold and then closed up their R&D shop.  Now with the break-up, it looks as though my days at my new company are numbered as well (hopefully by choice).  Good thing I haven’t burned any bridges.  As far as I know, most people would be willing to work with me again.  There are just some people that I would refuse to work with unbeknownst to them.  Because you know, some bathrooms never change.


Anonymous said...

I am impressed that you used the bathrooms to connect the work you have done in the past to your current project. So far as I could understand. Your workstation that you and your colleagues designed is an extension of your previous project but a better instrument. I think they are all connected just like universe.
Powder pink is my favorite color too, but it fades,what a pity! Your father and me tried to paint your bedroom into powder pink. But at that time, we did know how to blend the pink color into powder pink. So you slept in a pink room for years until it was repainted to pink blue.

Bigqueue said...

I thought I was the only one who blogged about bathrooms and toilets....glad to see I am not alone.

I don't know about powder pink, but the bathrooms at Sun had actually changed a little in the 5 years I was away.....they actually ADDED (to some of them) a utinal that does NOT flush at all....apparently "new technology" in the world of bathrooms, who knew.

But while I take photos and taunt that particular urinal, I suppose I am more than a little "old school" because I just can't come to use it. (other than that first time I came across was quite a novelty, but I fear it is a novelty no more)

Stairwells are another architectural feature of buildings that I focus on....not the main stairs, but those in the back corner of the building....those that don't get much attention, but are used regularly.

brochures said...

It's funny how bathrooms in office buildings are the last thing to be updated. I worked in a building a few years back and the bathroom had this 1960s tile on the floor, and was really dimly lit. I HATED going in there. Seeing the photos you posted, reminded me of those nasty bathrooms. gross.