Milton from Office Space, Swingline Staplers, and 10-Year Old UX Conversations

Like Milton from the cult classic, Office Space, I’m being moved to a new office.  I think this will be my eleventh or twelfth office move.

I believe I hold the unofficial record for Least Time Spent in an Office Before Being Told to Move.  One day.

Within hours of moving into a new office, colleagues from a different business unit complained the office space had been allocated to them. I had to move the next day.  I was seven months pregnant.

Yes, I agree Milton, it’s nice to be able to look out a window and see the squirrels, but I could be perfectly happy sitting in the office cafeteria all day.  I don’t mind moving.

(Except that time when I was pregnant. That was not cool. One year later the office I was kicked out of remained unoccupied.)

Moving on a regular basis has its advantages. For instance, I know things like:

  • It takes me exactly three days to complete a move.  Pack, Move, Unpack.
  • Playing Tetris obsessively has benefits.  I can pack everything from my office into 4-5 boxes.
  • It’s a great time to purge and walk down memory lane.

This time I’ve been torn about what to keep and what to recycle.  For instance, I just came across my User Interface 7 East (October 14-17, 2002) and User Interface 8 (October 13-16, 2003) conference materials.

Conference Materials

Ten years have passed and the conference is now in its 17th year. Check out the line up for UI17 taking place in November.

Should I move these two huge stacks of paper, or recycle them?

My gut told me to recycle them.

Surely, I thought, we aren’t talking about the same things now that we were talking about ten years ago, right?

But as I opened the Featured Talks book from User Interface 7 and scanned the table of contents, I was reminded of the old adage, the more things change the more they stay the same.  Here’s a taste of the conversations that were taking place in 2002:

  • Power Writing for the Web: How to Write and Layout Web Contact that Attracts the Impatient Scan-reader, Gerry McGovern
  • Heal Your Web Site: 8 Steps to Cure Progress Paralysis, Peter Merholz
  • Design for Community:  The 3 Golden Rules, Derek M. Powazek
  • Be a Better Designer, Kim Goodwin

These conversations are just as relevant today as they were back then.  Terminology has changed slightly, some of the companies no longer exist, the website examples are hilarious because of how dated they are, and the same goes for the slides themselves.

But, by and large the core messages from 10 years ago remain true.

So I’ve concluded I will take these two huge stacks of paper, along with my own trusty Swingline stapler, to wherever my new office home ends up being.

P.S.  I just hope they don’t ask me to pack up my stuff and move it down to Storage B like Milton had to.


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