I work in a large office building that houses a lot of cubicles. The majority of my department is located on one floor, and a smaller subteam of our department is on a different floor. Because there are so many floors in the building, access to different floors is available via different elevator banks. In order for me to get to the subteam’s floor, I have to use my elevator bank to get to a shared floor (either the lobby or our company’s “training” floor), then move to a different elevator bank and go to the subteam’s floor.
Elevator etiquette is a big deal at my company. If you use the elevator to move only one floor, like 24 to 25 or 8 to 7, it’s highly frowned upon by the others in your elevator car. They won’t say anything to your face, but they will be damning you in their minds. And then when they see you in the cafeteria, or in some kind of important meeting, they’ll remember you as the jerk who couldn’t muster up the energy to take the stairs one floor and instead made everybody else in the elevator have to stop one extra time so you didn’t have to walk.
When I go to the subteam’s floor, there are two options for me to get there, and one of those options forces me to choose whether to take the stairs or elevator to travel one floor. Sometimes I’m all for walking, but other times, like when I’m wearing heels or a warm sweater, I’d prefer to take the elevator. Plus, I almost always get lost on their floor when I take the stairs because I’m unfamiliar with the area by the stairwell.
If I’m traveling with my own subteam to the other team’s floor, I’ll generally just do whatever everyone else does, mostly because if we take the stairs, I know someone else will lead and I won’t get lost. I was demanding once and insisted that I take the elevator due to my extremely high heels and absolute lack of coordination.
Last week I was traveling alone and wearing comfortable flats. I had eaten an exceptionally large lunch with a giant helping of Mountain Dew, so I felt sick and knew an extra trip or two with the stairs would have been good for me. But I cast that judgment aside and instead told myself I’d use the elevator.
The problem with this is that I really don’t want to be that person who others hate because I took the elevator for one floor. I will most likely never have to work with those people, so it won’t really matter, but what if I do? What if those people are what’s standing between me and a super-awesome raise or promotion?
So on my trip to the other floor, I decided to go the longer route, which meant I took the elevator all the way to the lobby, walked to the other elevator bank, and took that elevator up the five floors to the subteam’s floor. This alleviated any judgment-inducing choices.
On the way back, I really didn’t want to go all the way down, so I decided that when the elevator doors opened, if no one else was in there, I was going to go down one floor to the shared training floor and then switch elevator banks. If someone else was in the elevator already, I’d go to whatever floor they were going to (either the shared floor or the lobby) and continue from there.
I pressed the button, heard the ding signaling that my elevator had arrived to pick me up, and as the doors opened, I saw a woman who was just slightly older than me, which means she probably wasn’t going to be in a position to prevent me from getting a raise or a promotion, but I still didn’t want to be judged, so I traveled with her to the lobby instead of making the one-floor jump.
That’s office laziness, in the most over-analyzed, long-winded way possible.