The ups and downs of lifts

Well, with my current contract job expiring, ceasing to be, going to meet its maker, etc on Friday, I’m merrily job hunting once again. I wouldn’t have left it so late, but The Perfect Job(tm) reared its head last week and appeared to be the ideal way for me to continue bringing in enough dosh to feed the family over Christmas. Alas it evaporated on Tuesday, as is the case sometimes.

But I’m not panicking yet. Much. No no, I’m keeping calm. Just pursuing all available avenues and considering my options.

It’s been an interesting six months at this job. There have been good and bad points. I think the absolute worst bit of it, worse than the lack of things to do (it may sound good, but it loses its appeal), worse than the antiquated equipment or the "only introduce you to the people you need to know" way of working, worse than all of these things, has been the lifts.

Sure, the lifts are clean and shiny. They’re big and roomy. They have nice buttons that light up in a beautiful shade of red when you press them. But the software that controls them would have to be some of the worst I have ever seen. It’s probably why everyone who works in the building who has anything to do with computers spends their time waiting for the lifts complaining about them and making jokes about re-writing the software.

If I was writing software for lifts, one of the first principles I would include is that in the morning, and just after lunch (say before 10am, and between 1pm and 2pm) there are a lot of people entering the building. That’s what people do. But the lifts in this building, and whoever programmed them, seem to be unaware of this. In the morning and after lunch, while dozens of people wait in the lobby, most of the lifts are zipping up and down on the floors above, while just a single lift comes down to the ground level.

And as soon as that one lift arrives, the request button light goes off. Even if there’s dozens more people than can fit into the one lift, waiting. (And I refuse to believe that the stated limit of 24 people in one of these lifts has ever been achieved, unless there was a meeting of the Anorexic Dwarves Association being held in the building.) The request light won’t go back on again until that lift has gone, and typically this means that until that happens, another lift won’t come down unless absolutely no one calls it to one of the floors above.

As for the job hunting, there’s a few hot prospects I’m considering. I won’t be shattered if it takes a few more days to settle down – you never know, this time I might get a few days’ relaxation at home. Then it’ll be back to work – hopefully in a building where the lifts work properly.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.