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Nobody Here But Us Vacationeers

(Which is the bestest quantum mechanical exclusion principle?

That's right! The Pauli exclusion principle. Read all about it, and other scientifical oddities, over at Secondhand SCIENCE. It's a pip.)

Working in a small company is kind of weird sometimes.

I've always avoided big companies, because it seems too easy to get lost in the shuffle. If you've got nine thousand people doing the same thing, then I figure you either end up redundant or way, way specialized. Neither of those seem good.

"I don't want to build some application fourteen other people already built, probably better. And cheaper. And with a coordinated color scheme more pleasing to the eye."

For instance, I'm a programmer. I don't want to build some application fourteen other people already built, probably better. And cheaper. And with a coordinated color scheme more pleasing to the eye. Also, I don't want to be stuck at my desk, only allowed to use the 'J' and 'Z' keys on the keyboard, because the good coders have all the other ones covered already.

I'm pretty sure that's how big companies work. Also, in my world, all the business travel is done on those old galley ships where the slaves row everyone back and forth. I'd be in the back. And probably only allowed to use the downstroke. Big companies suck.

Still, there are tradeoffs to small groups. I learned that in college. My school had less than a thousand people enrolled, and less people in my class than I graduated with in high school. On top of that, I picked a wildly unpopular major, so by senior year I was taking most classes with the same six people.

That's a recipe for disaster, right there. With six people, you can't hide. You can't skip a class and hope nobody notices. You can't sit in the back and nap through the boring crap. There's six people -- there is no back. We could've had class at a freaking booth at an Outback Steakhouse.

Given what they usually served in the school cafeteria, I almost wish we had. Lunch Lady Clara does not understand what a "blooming onion" entails. Trust me.

A small company is a little like those tiny classes. There's no fading into the background or napping the afternoon away in a stall in the mens' room. People would notice.

Also, there's only one stall in the mens' room. So people would also form a very long line. And possibly make an extremely unfortunate mess.

The point is, in a small place everybody knows pretty much what everyone else is doing -- and what they're about to do. I don't talk to a lot of people on a daily basis -- usually, I'm too busy banging on my 'J' and 'Z' keys and waiting in line for the bathroom stall. But I told a couple of people I'd be on vacation for the next couple of weeks. And today, everyone seemed to know about it.

That's not a bad thing. It's kind of nice to be told "bon voyage" by the boss. And the boss' boss. And the boss' boss' boss. And the HR lady and the CEO and the comptroller and the security guard. And maybe the lady who comes in to clean in the evenings. It's possible she said "barf in the garage", instead. We have a complicated relationship.

So anyway, I'll be out of the country for a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I'll be updating things around here, but either way I should return with plenty of stories about a remote and exotic foreign land. And maybe an island. Maybe some mens' rooms. Who knows?

In the meantime: bon voyage. And happy weekend. From me -- and everyone in my office. Probably.

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