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June 02, 2005

My Guest Chair

I always like to have two guest chairs in my office, because it makes it easier to have meetings with just a couple of other people invited. However, the official Microsoft rules (or at least the official Microsoft rumor) is that you can only have one guest chair in your office. When we were packing for the move a couple of weeks ago one of the movers told me I could request two guest chairs, but on the form they only let you choose one. I could have written in two, but I didn't know if that would work (Am I spending too much time thinking abut this issue?).

Now I did have two guest chairs in my old office. I had also had two guest chairs in my office two offices ago, and when we did that move (last November), I snuck one of the guest chairs home so I could bring it back once the coast was clear (the movers are around for a couple of days after the move is done, double-checking office setups and whatnot). But, lo and behold when I was setting up my new office last November, I found a guest chair in the hall, so I grabbed that one, and was back to two guest chairs.

When we moved again this last time, I decided that 3 guest chairs would be even better. So I took the second guest chair from my office and put it in my garage next to the original second guest chair (pay attention, there will be a quiz). Then I once again innocently requested one guest chair for my new office, planning to bring in the two (2) guest chairs currently taking up room in the garage, to the eternal amusement/annoyance of my wife.

BUT, when I moved in to my newest office, I discovered in the hall...not just a guest chair...but a lobby chair! In the lobby of 44 they have these pretty nice upholstered chairs. Well, there was one sitting in the hall across from the bathrooms. Trust me, my practiced Microsoft eye could tell that the chair was lonely and abandoned and needed a home. It had had that look about it...you know that look that chairs get when they have no owner? Plus I also had 2 visitors coming that day (actually it was Gretchen Ledgard and her manager's manager), so a second guest chair would be nice. I generously decided to give this de-lobbied lobby chair a nice comfy home in my office. I figured the worst that would happen was one of the movers would see it and remove it from my office.

Of course my fellow employees were amused and astonished at this, but I confidently predicted that nobody would care.

So imagine my surprise when I came in on Wednesday there was a note on my chair telling me that it belonged in a particular office in Building 43. My initial thoughts were 1) WTF does this moron really think I dragged this chair all the way over from another building, and 2) like I am really going to bring it to his/her office. Instead, I put it back in the hallway where it had been--although I was certain it would still be sitting there a month later.

Then, I was going to visit a co-worker in his office and as I approached I noticed that his office number matched the one on the note...except we are in Building 44, not 43. And the first thing he said was, "Did you bring my my chair?" It turns out that HE had left the note...except he got his own building number wrong. What kind of goof doesn't know his own building!?!?!?!?! (Maybe he has building number trauma, this is the same guy who went on vacation for a month last November and came back to discover that our group had announced, planned, and completed the move to a different building, so when he got back late at night and went in to work to check his email, he discovered that his office was nowhere to be found.) The funny thing is that if he had put the correct building number I would have realized right away it was a joke, but the wrong building number was just strange enough that I believed it.

As penance, I made him help me carry the chair back to my office. Where it sits to this day, along with my one allocated guest chair. And I still have the two cached guest chairs in my garage. I guess I should bring them in, although there really isn't room for all of them.

Posted by AdamBa at June 2, 2005 10:17 PM

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... Oh the problems with having your own office. :P

I hit 4 years at the company today actually and have always shared an office with either 1 or 2 people. When each person has 6 machines or so, that makes our office around 90 degrees most of the time.

Guest chairs indeed. ;)


Posted by: J.P. at June 3, 2005 12:05 AM

I would like to see a picture of this chair.

Posted by: Paul at June 3, 2005 11:26 AM

The chair is made by Bernhardt, but it doesn't appear to be in their current catalog. I found a picture: http://www.designerswarehouse.com/chairs/images/r39_s.jpg, except it has a different fabric (NOT textured mohair). I got that picture from http://www.designerswarehouse.com/chairs.htm, which claims it is $625 (maybe the textured mohair costs more). The actual fabric is some jazzy multi-colored cotton (I think).

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at June 3, 2005 11:52 AM

Don't know why the trackback didn't work but:http://blogs.msdn.com/larryosterman/archive/2005/06/03/424895.aspx

Posted by: Larry Osterman at June 3, 2005 11:52 AM

Sorry, nevermind. Someone else asked Larry Osterman for a picture, so I guess that makes my request invalid.

Posted by: Paul at June 3, 2005 11:53 AM

That's Larry's 20-year-old guest chair. Mine is different (see photo I mentioned above).

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at June 3, 2005 01:42 PM

As a shareholder, i kindly ask you to bring all the guest chairs you have in the garage back. Preferably to my office.

Posted by: Dennis T Cheung at June 3, 2005 06:07 PM

This story gives new meaning of the word "chairman".

Posted by: Ivan at June 8, 2005 03:36 PM

Back when I worked as a Software Development Manager at InfoImage I had, in addition to my guest chair, a guest Papasan chair.

This chair became the preferred location for many a needed mid-day (or night) nap by members of my development team during "crunch" time (the last 2 weeks prior to a gold release). Many times (day or night) I would return to my office to find a developer, tech-writer, or QA tester sacked out in the chair. It actually made me feel good that my team members were comfortable enough with me to know that I "got it."

When I left the company, I decided to leave the chair there. I have no idea what eventually became of it.


Posted by: Devin Olson at June 27, 2005 09:34 AM