“Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)”
Everything You Want
The past few days have been weird. I worked late most of last week to a) make up for the snow days and b) make sure all my stuff (save my computer and one pen) was moved to my new office.
My company has been running things out of a rented retail space that used to be a Starbucks. Before we moved in, we modified it to make it work for us — and it did look quite nice — but I was still basically working exactly where the baristas used to serve lattes every day.
"Sure, I'll get right on that tall half-skinny half-1% latte with whip just as soon as I finish designing this logo!"
Several years ago, we built an office on a property we owned, but we rented it out when the local Starbucks folded and the landlord offered us the space for free when he couldn’t find a tenant. We decided to use the old Starbucks as a temporary space, and figured we’d move back whenever necessary. We’ve just finished renovating the old office and we’re moving back in on Tuesday.
See, there are a few problems with running an office out of a space that was meant for a Starbucks. The first issue was that there was no real “office” space. My boss had a large cubicle-ish structure built at the end of the bar for his office, but the rest of us were working at the bar itself or in a desk that had been set up just kind of anywhere.
This is not an office
This made us aware of our largest issue: noise. Imagine an empty Starbucks; no tables and chairs, no little kiosks for overpriced CDs and ground coffee, no coffee machines, no muzak — nothing. When all these things are taken out of this kind of space, you can sit at your desk in the front and hear a pin drop in the bathroom (so, imagine when someone is actually using the bathroom). Not only that, but since my boss’s office-cubicle-thing didn’t have full-height walls, every employee heard EVERYTHING he said.
Bosses — bosses who do their job appropriately, anyway — have very delicate jobs. They need to have a fairly private place to handle private meetings, discuss inner-workings of the company, and handle employee issues… not to mention sensitive phone calls.
However, since there was no such private space in the old Starbucks, everyone knew everything about the company and employees, whether they needed to know or not. This led to a lot of very awkward issues in and out of the office. Miscommunication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, gossiping, paranoia — things that will happen in most office environments anyway, but to an extreme degree. It was madness — the kind that would have been avoided with the private offices we’d had before.
So, we’re returning to our old place. While we were renting it, the layout was changed a bit — so, what used to be my office on the first floor was gone. The most private office spaces had been changed around a bit, so while things were going to be much more acceptable than Starbucks, I wasn’t guaranteed a private office.
When we originally built the office building, the vice president had a corner office on the second floor that was absolutely beautiful. It was large, private, and had a ton of natural light. If that building were a home, that would be the office I’d use as my bedroom.
I’d been working on the first floor between two other offices. My office also had a door and a window, but the window just looked into some pretty thick foliage, and if I left my door closed, air didn’t circulate terribly well. It was fine for me, though.
When it was announced that we’d be moving back, I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going to end up. All I was really hoping for was a room with four walls and enough space for my desk and a chair.
After I got off work on Friday, I stopped by our new/old office to see how the new space had been set up. I hadn’t seen it since the floorplan had changed, so I just wanted to know what I’d be dealing with on Tuesday.
I walked around the first floor, which had my boss’s office in the corner and a few areas for work spaces. I didn’t see my stuff, though, so I went upstairs.
My eyes immediately went to where that gorgeous corner office had been, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was still there. I was there after dark, so I couldn’t see very well, but I could tell that it hadn’t been changed at all.
I spent a few minutes wandering around looking for my stuff. After a while I became slightly concerned, because I’d made sure to pack and label everything clearly… and I knew there would be hell to pay if my favorite stapler had been misplaced (yes, I mean that).
My stapler: I believe you have it.
Finally, the only place I hadn’t checked was the corner office. I flipped on the light to find not only my desk and boxes, but extra bookshelves and storage space. It sounds stupid, but I think my heart skipped a beat.
I am usually pretty happy at work. I have a creative job that gives me a lot of freedom to do things the way I’d like. When I’m not working on design, though, I have plenty of time to handle the company’s IT. I’m not really a left- or right-brained person, so the ability to switch back and forth between fluid and rigid occupations in the same day is an absolute dream.
But this — this office is everything I could ever ask for. It’s large but cozy, bright and cheerful, private and comfortable. Now, I just need to move the entire office about 15 miles closer to my house and a raise… but I’m definitely not complaining.
Anyway… besides all that, I’ve been having some ridiculous nightmares recently — I’ve been waking up at 5 AM and focusing on the fact that whatever I’d just experienced was only a dream… so if there is a song, I’m not paying attention to it. Today was the first day I ended up with anything mentionable.