(Romantic, with the big R…. I didn’t start thinking about office romances until I was older and really by that point I was finding romance everywhere… Cafeteria romances…. Flag pole romances…. Grocery store romances….)
Anyway. It wasn’t until I started working in offices myself that I realized I was mistaken. I had imagined a place where adults did secret big important things, where there was intrigue, drama, ground breaking discoveries, meetings that shaped industries, people walking around in fancy clothes doing fancy things with numbers, late nights full of deadline driven chaos that would end with someone shouting “We Got It!” and someone else popping open a bottle of white wine spritzer…..
I was a child of the 80s.
For a while in the 90s my imagination of “office work” entailed skateboard ramps, all the free food you could eat, foose ball tables, company sponsored trips to Vegas, people slugging down expensive imported coffee while wearing shorts and flip flops, more meetings that shaped industries, a sense of exploration and new discovery, and the overwhelming sense of camaraderie.
I was a child of Silicon Valley.
But I don’t work for Google, I don’t work for Yahoo or EBay, or even Sun (although right now, that’s probably a good thing). I have worked for insurance companies, software companies, and now a semiconductor/storage device company and my last delusions about “office work” have crumbled into the dust of forgotten pastries.
Because while the work we do is important… it isn’t dramatically important and a lot of the time it isn’t very much fun.
And that’s ok. I mean, it IS work, not play right?
And it isn’t all bad… I get to use acronyms, refer to things involving “recons” “terminations” and “audit files.” I get to get all excited when things balance, take a moment of personal pride when the files are all up to date, email people all over the world, and twice a day walk to the on site café and try not to over do it with the cookies.
I actually really enjoy aspects of my job and the people I get to work with.
Recently our department got a major face lift. We moved to another section of the building and they gutted re did, and expanded our offices. We now boast a painted accent wall, new cubicles, twice as much space, three times as many file cabinets, four times as many trash cans (seriously), a new conference table, mew carpet, and three new clocks.
Its not just sweet, its super sweet.
Some of my favorite aspects of the news digs:
Distance: There are 5 of us in a room that could easily accommodate 10. We are verrrrrrry spread out which has led to the fun game of “office telephone.” Possibilities are endless…
White Boards: Yes, each of our cubicles has one now. Some of my coworkers use it for listing priorities, work schedules, etc. Ok, ok, so most of them. Ok fine… all of them but me. Mine says “Go Bears” and “Happy Birthday Debbie” and occasionally I remember to update the date.
The In Box: If you have eve been an admin without one, you know how essential one can be to help keep you organized. My desk is twice as big now… which really just means more piles of stuff.
Half wall counter: Now, when people come into the department I can actually see them… no more random employees looking for help inadvertently sneaking up on me when my mouth is full of yogurt or I am half under my desk trying to plug my stapler in. (Yes we have automatic staplers, they rock.) This is good because I startle easily and after spilling yogurt on myself an average of once a week and banging my head an average of … more than that…. I am glad that I can see them coming.
Floor mats. I didn’t have one before. I have one now. The fist time I went to roll across my cubicle I misjudged the supreme slickness and sent myself flying for four feet to crash spectacularly into my desk.
The New Carpet: What? Wait… let me explain. See our door is held open by a door stop and because our carpet is all new and flat the door stop isn’t really doing its job all that well. There is a small sound, a sigh if you will, and then the door slooooooooowly moves across the carpet until it is only half open. It does this multiple times a day no matter how forcefully one pushes the doorstop under it. Haunted Door! Excellent!
See the true joy of working in an office, making your own fun.