My work team is moving to a new building. Yesterday afternoon, as professional movers burst into our cubicle and lifted our packed boxes onto trolleys, I took my laptop to main campus to work from an isolated conference room.
Four hours later, ravenous, I instant messaged Sha-mayn and then Dan to get dinner with me.
After being summarily rejected, I sat for a moment at the long conference table, staring at ethernet cables and laptop power connectors spewing from its middle like entrails. Why would I feel so disconnected from the world due to a simple fact of not having a cubicle to call home?
It is perhaps the danger of deriving the majority of your friendships from work.
I remembered Dan's words from 1999, when he left Microsoft to co-found a startup. One of the hardest things, he told me, was going to work every day to the same eight people, day in and day out.
"Don't you work in the same building as other startups?" I said. "How's that different from when you worked at MS?"
"It's not the same. At Microsoft there were always people I'd greet in the hallway or kitchen, or that I'd chat with in the cafeteria."
I understood this last night, in a froth of insight and hunger.
Then I walked outside, and immediately ran into my ex-roommate, a Googler, who invited me to dinner with her husband (also a Googler) and their half-dozen Googler friends. We went to a shanghai noodle shop.
And now I'm about to go eat with 25 Chinese engineers from Google. Because I've learned nothing about diversification from this experience.