Parkinson’s law on perfect corporate buildings seems to apply to homes, too

I think we'll want a separate entrance for the nanny's suite, don't you, dear?

I think we’ll want a separate entrance for the nanny’s suite, don’t you, dear?

Parkinson’s best known law “work expands to fill the available time” is only one of several, and his law on perfect buildings seems spot on.

When a company or other organization is finally able to plan and build the perfect building for itself, the building best suited to its needs, that organization is in the throes of petrification and death.

Parkinson observed that a vital organization is always working in makeshift quarters, cramped spaces, making do, and splitting up into multiple sites to handle its overflow of employees. The dying organization has time to plan, and perhaps a static target to plan for. Beware of that perfect building. (I’ve worked for three companies that followed this law faithfully; the third time, it was easy to see that the company was obeying this Parkinson law.)

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My own observation is that there are a lot of homes put up for sale by divorcing couples in Greenwich shortly after the construction, either of a total renovation or new, is completed. I wonder whether the project has served as a diversion from marital troubles for a few years and then, when it’s done, the couple returns to a normal schedule, spends far more time together, and remembers how much they disliked each other in the first place.
Just a thought.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Parkinson’s law on perfect corporate buildings seems to apply to homes, too

  1. edgewater

    my take on that phenomenon is that building a house, especially in greenwich, is fully laden with crisis and conflict and compromise, all of which are corrosive of the marital bond. most couples actually lead very separate lives these days, with either two careers or at least one that keeps them apart for large segments of the days and weeks. but dealing with the town’s building department, or, worse, p and z, and the builder and the subs and the architect and the neighbors will pull the nails out of any marital structure, so down go the less sturdy marriages. just guessing, of course.

    • housecat

      Do NOT get me started on the Buildings Dept!! The spouse and I think they take collective joy at f-ing with residents: Yes you have a CofO for that. Psych! No you don’t, suckers!!! And just to be cute, we’ll give you three different answers to the same question, and will also change the answer depending on who’s asking. Hee hee! Screw you, taxpaying schmucks!!!

  2. Anonymous

    very, very true.

  3. Mazama

    “My own observation is that there are a lot of homes put up for sale by divorcing couples in Greenwich shortly after the construction, either of a total renovation or new, is completed. ”

    I observed the same phenomenon in Seattle in the 1990s.

  4. Anonymous

    which building is that?

  5. Amazon and Apple are both building new futuristic office buildings:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/12/24/255859905/check-out-these-gorgeous-futuristic-tech-company-headquarters

    Maybe I should get out of those stocks.

  6. Anonymous

    Cupertino friggin’ sucks. Unless you’re about 40 or so, married, with a kid or two, and don’t want your precious to see the sight of disheveled people.

    Just like Greenwich.