There have been many changes in the workplace in the last 30 years. I have welcomed the business casual dress code. I used to loathe wearing ties just to sit at a desk and push paper. The PC has made carbon paper, typewriter, calculator, liquid paper, rubber cement, and interoffice mail envelopes all but obsolete. Pension plans have given way to 401K saving plans. Some days I even can telecommute and just log on to work from home.
One of the strangest changes in the workplace, to me, is evolution of the lunch or break room. We have 3 such rooms on each floor in the building where I work. Each room has a refrigerator, two microwave ovens, sink, coffee maker with 6 carafes, pop, snack and candy vending machines. In the past these rooms have been used on your breaks – 15 minutes periods in the morning and afternoon- and lunch hours. Today, they are used 24-7.
My first “real job” was with Texaco in a 5 story office building at 21st and Lewis in Tulsa. Twice each day a woman pushing a cart loaded with snacks, pop and coffee would get off the elevator on each floor. She would ring a bell and everyone working on that floor would walk out (in their white shirts and ties), get in line and purchase their snack and beverage and have their break. Today, this would be considered employee humiliation and degrading.
Each morning while my PC boots up I go the break room and get a cup of coffee. I am astounded at the number of people making breakfast. Microwaving frozen breakfast sandwiches, instant oatmeal or warming a honey bun purchased from the vending machine these people apparently come to work and spend their first few minutes eating breakfast while starting their workday.
Mom and dad ingrained in me that you eat breakfast when you get up. I woke each day with the smell of breakfast cooking. As soon as the feet hit the floor we were headed to the table to eat. After breakfast we would get dressed and head for work and or school. That sticks with me to this day.
I find myself wondering what the next 30 years will bring in workplace changes. I envision “washing rooms.” Bring your dirty clothes to work and do your laundry in company supplied washers and driers while you work.