Inside Office Space
It’s Day Four of the new job, and all in all, things are good. The work is coming along well so far, and the learning curve has not been too steep; though I hate being the newbie and not being all that helpful in the beginning, I’m finally starting to keep up with the rest of the copywriting crew. My coworkers are all wonderfully kind and welcoming, and I was pleased to learn that 1) I can wear jeans to work and 2) I’m allowed to listen to my iPod while I work. As far as desk jobs go, that sort of freedom of work style is definitely helpful.
Still, it has been one hell of a rough transition. After so many years of working from home, becoming a 9-to-5-er is going to take a real attitude check on my part. Working from home definitely had its pitfalls, but the joys of waking up whenever I felt like it, wearing yoga pants all day, taking mid-afternoon General Hospital or nap breaks, and having my dog with me all day long did their part to make real-life work seem daunting. Though I do really like this job and am thrilled and grateful to have it, I’ll admit to you all that after the second day of work, I came home and cried to my best friend, Jenna, whining that my life sucks because “I’m gonna have to get up every day at 6 am for the rest of my life.”
Now, I realize that I’m being quite dramatic here—I admit that resenting my job pretty much just puts me in the same boat as the rest of the world. I’m lucky to be able to work at least somewhat in my field of interest and not too far from home. The truth is that I really have been spoiled rotten over the last few years. Office culture is new to me, and I’m startled at how very plain working in a cubicle makes me feel. Suddenly, Mike Judge’s classic movie “Office Space” has a whole new meaning to me, since apparently I’m living it. Besides having a new identity as just another speck among the masses—just another one of those workers spinning the gerbil wheel–I worry about how I will find time to fit all of my creative pursuits in now that I spent the vast majority of my time in a cubicle, which could be any cubicle, inside an office building that could be any office building, in any city. Plain, plain, plain. It’s funny–as much as I judged my new coworkers for their choices in cubicle adornment at first, I admit that it didn’t even take me a full week to start nesting in my own (see picture below).
Among the many things I have learned in this first week include tidbits such as that my beloved Ernest Hemingway appears to have a posthumously-created shoe collection, whose catalogs feature quotes about his life as a writer (which doesn’t seem to add any relevant information about heel height or leather midsoles…hmmmm). I have learned that while Seattle city public transportation isn’t so bad, their website is entirely unreliable. I have learned that sitting directly under fluorescent lighting and an air-conditioning blower will evidently give me a headache every day by precisely 10:30 am. I have been reminded that I make friends easily, even when unable to apply my wildly inappropriate sense of humor. Also, I am realizing that I seem to be the only nerd who eats in the lunchroom.
I already stay up way too late every night trying to squeeze out a few drops of creativity, though this hasn’t been easy. My only hope is that I will eventually grow accustomed to the new schedule and will find ways to keep my writing life vibrant and consistent. For now, it is all I can do to type this blog with one hand, while petting Mona with the other hand in an uninterrupted fashion. I’m being completely literal here–I’m actually typing with one hand while placating her with constant petting so that she doesn’t get mad and boss paw me inthe face. She has had a bad attitude about this whole thing since Monday, but even she is beginning to show signs of adjustment and resignation to our new routine. We’re resilient girls, she and I. I’m pretty sure she’ll settle down, and I’ll settle down, and the writing will get done because it always does. We’ll deal. What else is there to do?