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March 25, 2005
Post-It Notes Turn 25

From The Rake: Once upon a time, the American office was a nightclub with typewriters—at least according to mid-century myths like The Hucksters or The Apartment. Formal dress was mandatory. Client meetings had a two-drink minimum and every plush blond secretary was as tightly tufted as a Florence Knoll lounge chair. On occasion, there were papers to shuffle, bosses to placate, but ultimately all it took to succeed in this hectic but undemanding middle-management Eden was a crisp white collar, a bottle of aspirin, and an aptitude for caustic banter. This was the American workplace. Alas, once the mid-sixties rolled around, innovative geeks started ruining everything. Secretaries gave way to Xerox machines, calculators, mainframes, terminals, personal computers, and fax machines. Private offices were subdivided into cubicles. Steel desks as solid as tanks were replaced by cheap particleboard workstations and an ever-expanding tangle of incompatible beige devices. It was enough to drive one to drink, but office life perversely had become far too complex to negotiate with a hangover. Even goofing off required a user manual.

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Posted by Greg Beato at 10:56 PM