I get to work in the Batcave!

Its not as fun as it sounds, hear me out. I work for a mid-west retail company, on a dev team that consists of 6 programmers and one pseudo project-manager/java developer; who can’t seem to stop coding and actually lead our team for one second, but that is another story. Together, we work in what is lovingly referred to as ‘The Cave’.

The Cave is a small office, formerly a war-room for marketing, that houses seven developers. Not so bad right? Except you have to wonder where a name like ‘The Cave’ comes from without being properly referenced. I first heard of this term for the web team’s office the first day of my employment here, a little over eight months ago. At the time, the term seemed fun and novel. I would get passed in the hallway while getting water or using the restroom and people would jokingly say, “How’s it going back in the cave?” or “You made it out of the cave today!”. I was absolutely ecstatic, the web team was notorious and we had our own cool cave, and that is when reality hit me like last night’s bean burrito.

Our hole in the wall is a generous 20' x 20' room* with no windows tucked into the back section of our corporate offices. In order to get to our cave you have to walk through corporate through a warehouse like mezzanine, past an indoor fenced tech-supply area, and round the corner of an unfinished (Yes, insulation is hanging out of it) wall to the Web Development Room. Where, if you open the door, you will run right in to my back; I’m about 3 feet from the door, work exposed and uncomfortable.

*I’m making an assumption here based on how large our desks are and how little room we have to cartwheel.

Are you already catching on to why its called ‘The Cave’? While the rest of corporate: executive team, marketing, payroll & accounting, etc., get airy open cubicles and large offices we get a muggy box that faintly smells of Mexican food and cookies.**

**We are located behind the largest corporate meeting room. Can you guess the most frequently catered meal they have? Tacos! My love for Tacos has diminished these past few months. I know, treason right?
In addition, we are right above our showroom cookie shoppe. In hindsight this sounded like a wonderful thing, until you are 4 hours heads-down into a coding project and the tempting waft of chocolate chips and oatmeal fills your brain. Goodbye productivity!

Our room is consistently above 70 degrees and 50%+ humidity, nothing in comparison to the workplace of those who literally sweat away the pounds doing manual labor in factory settings making my cheap Walmart shoes. On the frequent occasion that the rest of the team doesn’t show up ’til 9:45 or so, I get to enjoy about an hour of a cool dry room. Ahhh. I’ve no doubt in my mind that what I’m complaining about is a first world problem, but its still a problem. I get to bitch right?

You see, all these miserable factors add up to a poor workplace. As one of the smallest teams in the company, we don’t have group activities on Friday’s or potlucks or social gatherings, and we’re often secluded from such things from other divisions, stuck in our little cave. Granted, our boss could do a better job at creating a team dynamic here but remember, that is a whole other story. Also, our office isn’t fun — most of the co-workers are but this cave definitely needs a saber-tooth and wooly mammoth chase scene. The walls are covered in cork, a remnant of the war-room, and the room is awash in shades of brown. Blegh! What started out as a cute catch phrase for our team’s office, quickly, over the past few months, became a thorn in my side. Not to mention the low team moral — trust me I’m not the only one feeling less than happy & prideful about my workplace.

I say this, just as I went to the break-room, conveniently not located anywhere near us, to grab a soda when a corporate employee remarked to me, “You made it out of the Batcave today? (gestures to other employee) She made it out!” I think, just maybe, I might’ve been okay with that comment if we had some other perks about working in a so-called ‘Batcave’. But seeing as we don’t, it just set me off. I might have been okay with that continued nickname if every day I walked out of the office,someone from corporate didn’t remark that I was coming out of The Cave, like some sort of mole-person. I might still be cool with that name if it was our own — something, as a team of coders, we could joke about together. Now? Its just slander. Its everyone else making fun of where we work, knowing full well the craptastic conditions we work in, all the while joking behind our backs.

Seclusion sucks. Shitty work environments suck. Feeling like we are the outliers in a decades old retail company, full of good ol’ boys and nepotism, just makes my whole day go the dumps. Which, now analyzing it would prob be a better place to work. The wi-fi might be terrible, but at least I’d get to see the sun.

Writer’s Note: Co-worker just messaged me via Hangouts “lol ok now it’s like an oven in here”