Gathering No Moss

Shaun works in our editorial department and elaborates on the mobile tendencies of a Groupon employee.

I’ve been with Groupon a little longer than a year and I have moved workspaces six times. This is a significant increase over past occupations I have had where I’ve moved workspaces a total of zero times. Then again no company I have ever worked for has been as successful as quickly as Groupon.

Starting off at the company in fall 2009, I shared a space with another company on the seventh floor of a building. Yes, Groupon was small enough to be sharing space with another company. Though technically, we were occupying the space because we’d grown too big for the eighth floor. We didn’t even have our own coffee machine. It was not unlike working in a Charles Dickens novel, except without the harsh living conditions, poor food, and lack of electricity.

Eventually, it was decided that people needed to not be sitting together like peas in a container for peas, so a vacant space of Groupon’s own was purchased on another floor and we moved into that. It was significantly quieter until they moved in the ping-pong table, then the foosball table, and then the room dedicated to playing Rock Band. Oh, and the room set up for street hockey. An employee using one of these many fine amenities during break or lunch could be a bit distracting to those who were not. Fortunately, the place was big enough that one could do customer support on one side of the office while someone was trying to play “Eleanor Rigby” on expert on the other side of the office without too much trouble.

Of course we quickly ran out of space there, so it was decided that more space had to be acquired. Further, it was decided that we probably needed some offices that said “Groupon” in nice, big stenciled letters because it would firstly, look fantastic, and secondly, make it easier for the throngs of new hires to feel at home.

So, there was some demolition of our floor. With hard hats on, many walls were drawn on and kicked down. Then, construction was started. Since there was no place else for us to go, we had to work around construction. Hammering, sawing, hammering some more, then sawing through metal. It was as if the construction workers were competing to see who could make the loudest noises for the longest period of time.

Eventually, construction was completed and there were nice Groupon-stenciled glass walls and walls that you could write on with dry-erase marker. There were new chairs and small drawers that could be used as chairs. The color green and cats were everywhere. It was a beautiful space that quickly ran out of room.

Michael’s Room—which you may have heard about—was also built at this time. It was designed to be a snapshot of a brilliant bipolar teenager’s room from 2001. Antiquated computers, clocks that display the time for different cities in the same time zone, and a bike that runs a record player are all accounted for. It’s the perfect place to hold interviews with prospective employees because it makes those we hire unsure of what they are getting into and makes those who don’t get the job unsure of what they didn’t get into.

My department, the Editorial department, was quickly moved to a whole other building, a whole other building high in the Chicago skyline and there we work, not knowing if we’re here to stay or going to be moving again. Though I get the sense I shouldn’t get too comfortable with my current cubicle, which is fine. There’s no problem with a changing view when you are always looking up.