Today marks the one week anniversary of starting my new job at Lawson Software in pleasant down town St. Paul. At some point, I’ll have to write about that in greater detail. For now, I am reveling in the downtown work experience.
For those unfamiliar where I used to work, the BAE Systems “plant” in Fridley was just that. It is a massive 2million square foot manufacturing building whose closest neighbor is huge rail yard and the only food within walking distance was the Aramark caf in the building. At one point, I believe there were more than 10,000 workers at this building and it was considered out of town. In my time there, the number had dwindled down to something like 1,000, resulting in a ghost-town-like creepy feeling. No windows were present in the part of the building where I served my tenure.
Anyway, the vibe here is much different. Downtown St. Paul seems pretty nice with plenty of shops within walking distance. Where I work, the Lawson Building, is full and bustling with something like five restaurants and a convenience store inside of it. I am up on the 10th floor and the set of windows near my cube overlooks a park, the St. Paul Library, the Museum, and finally the river. Today I wanted a quick lunch so that I would have time to walk to the Waldenbooks down the block – I was down to Chipotle and back to my desk in about five minutes. I was Zune shopping recently and I managed to find a seller in downtown St. Paul so we just met over lunch to do our business which was very convenient.
Is it all wonderful? Our commute lengthened by about eight miles (worth 10-15 minutes) one way and parking is expensive (~$6.50 per day.) The parking situation also makes it tough to justify driving anywhere during the day as that would incur more parking fees. It is hard to meet non-St. Paul colleagues for lunch because of this, and running home over a lunch time is no longer feasible. We plan on making extensive use of the bus system to reduce the cost but that really hinders our flexibility just that much more.
In the end, I am excited to be downtown. It feels different because it is different and I think that in the near term it will be much better.
Now to figure out how to pick up a half eaten Chipotle burrito without spilling it all over my desk…