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Monday, May 4, 2020

Three Plus One Working Conditions to Look Out For When Looking for a Job

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Toilet paper, hand dryers, dual monitors. Bonus: open office spaces.

You might have been laid off your job in the past two months. Rough. Or perhaps you've been working from home and haven't been in the office. Regardless, in many areas around Earth, people are going back to work. All of this time away may have stunted your perceptions on what a good workplace environment looks like, so I'm writing this evergreen thought-piece on it. This'll be as relevant now as it will be for years to come!

Some of this article is directed towards the class of office-bound knowledge workers who do their tasks on computers. Others apply to every kind of job, since every workplace has to at least have a bathroom. (And if yours doesn't, that's obviously a big problem!)

This article is based on Frederick Herzberg's two-factor theory, which separates out motivating factors that can only increase job satisfaction, versus hygienic or maintenance factors that can only decrease job satisfaction. This article focuses on key maintenance factors in the form of working conditions. You'll be more likely to want to leave your job if some or all of these factors are at your work environment, so if you keep these in mind at the job interview stage, you can avoid that inevitability ahead of time.

Toilet Paper Quality

There is little that's worse than going to your job's bathroom and having to deal with bottom-tier toilet paper. There is some toilet paper that is just of such bad quality, you may as well be wiping your behind with your hands. Or you'll need to roll many squares more than what should be necessary and bunch it together.

Truly, try to imagine it. If your workplace is willing to try to save a few cents on buying terrible-quality toilet paper, it's easy to extrapolate off of that for what other things they may be willing to cost-cut on. Any company that does this will leave you miserable and it isn't one you'll want to work for. Bad-quality toilet paper is also a public health hazard, coupled with the next factor...

Hand-Dryers vs. Paper Towels

Yes, it's another bathroom-based factor. Here's my suggestion: Whenever you go on a job interview, ask to use their bathroom. Inspect the quality of the facilities there. If they have the thinnest-possible toilet paper and a hand dryer but no paper towels, you do not want to work there. And you should tell them that, for that reason.

Western market-based economies are the wealthiest you humans have to offer, yet you insist on sacrificing convenience and public safety for... I don't know what the argument for hand-dryers are. The environment? Yeah, I guess the environment will be saved after the hand-dryer spreads around bacteria, viruses, and the dang plague all over the bathroom with its air blasts. Worse yet, they don't even dry your hands. They're ineffective. Catering to environmentalists—who want nothing less than a depopulation of humanity—is the opposite of what the human resources department should be doing.

Paper towels are vastly more efficient at drying your hands, as well as being portable. You can take them with you and open door handles with them. Sometimes you can do a technique with your elbow to open a door handle, but maybe you have to deal with the accursed door knob. I don't know why anyone thinks door knobs are a good idea. But you need a paper towel to deal with them, or else you're touching everyone's plagues that also touched that door knob.

To make this videogame related: In 2010, Nintendo of America was bragging on their Corporate Social Responsibility page about how they “purchase recycled paper towels, report covers, message and writing pads.” Recycled paper towels sound disgusting. You'll notice KoopaTV doesn't do that kind of stuff on OUR Corporate Social Responsibility report. And you may also notice that on Nintendo's CSR page today, they no longer mention recycled paper towels. I have no source on if that's because it looks bad to brag about that, or because they truly no longer engage in that. Working at Nintendo seems like a dream job, but not when you're too sick to go to work because of you handling someone's recycled paper towel. Just imagine what was being done to that before you touched it. Ew.

Dual Monitors

Those who really know me can quote me as saying, “there is a direct correlation between how much your company likes you with how many monitors you get to work with.” One monitor—unless it's a very widescreen one—is painful and woefully inadequate for even yesterday's business world and challenges. Employees are expected to collaborate around the world and always be available with a slew of tools. Instant messaging, email, project management software, and whatever you're using to actually do your day-to-day job. Well, that might be multiple things. Plus, your Internet browser. Perhaps you may want to have two windows of your browser open simultaneously. More monitors allows you to handle all of these applications simultaneously, as opposed to constantly switching and closing windows.

Your company (or at least their IT department) doesn't care about your productivity if they make you work on one monitor. Worse yet, if it's a mere little laptop screen. You can't work like that. When you're on a job interview, this should be a question you ask. You should be able to walk around the office environment and see how employees are doing their work.

Triple monitors are cool, too!

An Overall Bonus Problem: Open Office

This is something you should be able to observe easily when you tour the office. Open office environments—where there isn't assigned seating and there aren't cubicles—are a threat to both productivity and public health. They're a Petri dish for pathogens. They're also noisy and inconvenient, and stupidly pointless. You don't want to work in one of these, and they carry a whole series of individual issues that are more encompassing than what's been covered throughout this article. They also don't let you keep personal belongings in your work environment, like photos of your family or, if you're like me, plushies.

Well, perhaps you may consider working at a company that uses an open office policy if they also have a lenient work-from-home policy where you can avoid suffering under that regime. When you work from home, you can use your own toilet paper (and actual WIPES!), use cloth towels, and have your own monitors! ...But that might defeat the purpose of how this article opened. Hm. Well, I'm sure once you go back to your office, should it have any of the issues in this article, you'll be missing all of the home-bound fun you've had under the Chinese Communist Party Virus stay-at-home orders!

Ludwig acknowledges this article has little to do with videogames, but it's a rant he's wanted to establish for a long time. Even if it's a technically a listicle. Ludwig could've put a picture of a toilet paper roll or something in the article, but is that really necessary? Ludwig has been a paranoid germophobe long before the Chinese Communist Party Virus struck Earth. All of this attention towards hygiene has justified years of being made fun of by people he has known (who also take a lot more sick days than he does).

If you want to work for KoopaTV, we have none of these poor working conditions. (You also don't get paid.)
Work hard, play hard offices that serve alcohol at work are also red flags.


  1. I do want to expand on one idea that you mentioned regarding hand dryers and paper towels. Personally, I feel like there are good hand dryers as much as there are bad paper towel machines. I know this is anecdotal evidence, but the best hand dryer I’ve seen was in an AMC theater, where you can move your hands up and down and it removes the water particles away, much as a bad paper towel dispenser where the towels get jammed and you have to get the paper outside of the opening (I’m thinking of Wal-Mart here).

    While I do have a preference in a quality hand dryer, the point I want to make is, from my point-of-view, I believe an emphasis on the quality and maintenance of the method of drying hands is a better indicator than the presence of a towel dispenser or drying machine. It shows that there’s an effort being done for an easy bathroom experience by corporate.

    Also, I find it interesting that two out of the four points you’ve made regard the bathroom quality.

    1. Bathrooms are important. I spend a disproportionate amount of time there. (Don't tell my employers.)

      It's also topical.

      Here is some evidence of the public health hazard represented by hand dryers:

      If a paper towel dispenser is malfunctioning, at least you can open it ('cause the sanitation employee does so) and retrieve them.

    2. I came back to respond that I actually didn’t know about the health hazard with dryers, so I guess I learned something new. Thanks.

      However, what about the issue with recycled paper? I personally am fine with it (with the newfound information, I may prefer it), although I would agree on it looking pointless to promote.

    3. According to this guy, paper towels aren't recyclable because the crap (germs, dirt, liquids, whatever) that gets absorbed into the paper fibre aren't fully removable by the recycling plant's processes, so when you get the second generation of the paper towel, it's not sanitary.


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