Many businesses and households are embracing the green movement in an effort to do ones part to save the environment. Whether you believe in Al Gore’s global warming ideas or not really isn’t the point. It’s tough to argue with the overall concept: The Earth’s resources are precious and to a large degree limited. Each of us is traveling on the great blue and white sphere and we are having our own impact on the environment. Despite our advances we cannot trade this Earth in on the newest model out of Detroit or Japan.
Whether it’s in my home or in the great cubicle-maze halls of my office we are doing things to help minimize our impact on the environment. Much of this is just common sense. Yet, not everyone has embraced this concept. In fact some coworkers seem to have no clue.
Mom taught me well when I was young. “CV turn those blessed light’s off!” To this day, I walk around turning off lights. I set the thermostat to a lower temp and wear a sweatshirt during winter months. And, like a good resident of the overly liberal State of California, we recycle virtually everything.
At work, our building has lights that automatically turn themselves off in conference rooms after a few minutes of no activity. Our HR team provides us with reusable canvas bags for the grocery store – of course they are emblazoned with the company logo so we can all “sell the company” while buying milk at the grocery store. They also provide us with reusable water bottles so we don’t go through mountains of paper cups. Yet, some coworkers still don’t have a clue.
Case in point, a coworker named George. He has some issues in this area. Heck, he has issues in many areas (foreshadow of future blogs). You see, he’s of the age where in the early days of his career there was no email. Some worker bees had computers, but most did not. The world was very much a paper centric place. You made copies. You didn’t email, you faxed. Companies didn’t have server farms. They had file cabinet farms.
George is a unique character. Trained pre-Inernet. Trying to exist in a Text, IM, e-mail world. As a result, George prints everything. And, when I say everything, I mean everything. Seriously, does anyone need to print email and web pages? He prints so much he acquired his own printer rather than walk to the network printer. Convenience? Laziness? All of the above?
What’s George’s cubicle like? Well it closely resembles this. Paper stacked on stacks of more paper. Paper in file folders – made of you guessed it, paper. Paper in those desktop file racks. Cube desk drawer file cabinets full of paper. Extra file cabinets under his desk. Extra file cabinets in the hall outside his cubicle space.
George has more paper than the Chicago Tribune had when people actually read the news paper.
In a meeting this week there were half a dozen people with laptops. A few with iPads. Then, there’s George. He comes in with two beige file folders each stuffed with college-ruled paper, printed emails and some other paper-like things that resembled magazine articles. Then, he breaks out the yellow legal pad and starts taking notes.
Scribble, scribble. Doodle, doodle. TEAR! Off comes sheet one. This process continues for the balance of the one-hour meeting that started 10 minutes late and will go 15 minutes over. Each sheet of paper containing roughly 20 illegible words, or are they pictures. Regardless, I’m not even sure he can read his notes.
Listen, I’m no tree-hugger. Far from it. I like meat. I like real wood fires in winter. I like big SUV’s. But, I’m also practical. I recognize that commuting in a big ol’ SUV makes little sense, thus I have a commuter car too. I almost never carry a notebook. Instead I take notes on my laptop. I have electronic file folders equivalent in number to George’s paper folders.
Again, I’m no activist hippie freak. Yet, I find myself compelled to Stop George! Even if it’s just on principle alone.
What to do? Tell HR? Yeah, that’ll work. Trust me, George and HR…that’s future blog #2. Reason with George? Some people just aren’t born to listen..future blog #3. But, I do have an idea…
What if George’s ink cartridge mysteriously disappeared after hours? What if the printer cable grew legs and walked out of that cube resembling my Tuesday recycle bin? Wait! Is it a WiFi printer? Perhaps the mysterious cubicle gremlin changes the settings. Maybe a call to the Fire Marshall is in order.
I think this is my duty. My corporate calling if you will. Must stop George’s clear cutting ways. Maybe it’s in his genes; his DNA. After all he isn’t that different from his namesake, who reportedly said, “Father, I cannot tell a lie, I cut the tree.”
What other crazy ideas do my fellow cubicle dwellers have? How would you stop George?