Five days a week I come to this physical place called work, where I do non-physical work that works out into a paycheck. The environment I work in is a typical office layout, though it is strikingly different from the set-up I was in previously. I have a cubicle, a fairly large space sectioned off with lovely fabric-covered, temporary walls. I have a large desk space which allows me to spread out my belongings, which mostly are comprised of the various containers I use to truck my food here daily. My cubicle is in a small sea of other cubicles, probably 15 in total, in the middle of an office surrounded by actual offices, i.e. spaces delimited by drywall that reaches the ceiling and doors that close. Prior to coming here, I was working in a building that was once a hotel, among other things, and there was no attempt to revamp the space for office culture. My office was fashioned out of a former hotel room, though nothing that would come close to being billed as a “suite.” I shared this space with someone else, and there was a bathroom adjoining our office to the one next door. This was, well, an interesting arrangement to say the least.
Not so much that (but I’ve had the song stuck in my head all morning). More like this:
I’ve stumbled upon an odd little pocket of propriety in the most curiously small place: the elevator in my office building. During my first couple of months as a rider, I thought the niceties were a fluke attributed to a handful of cheerful ladies, accidental encounters with people who happened to be having a good day. But the longer am I here, and the more trips up and down I take, I have slowly come to realize that the elevator has created its own ultra-polite subculture with very clearly defined etiquette. Perhaps someone forgot this essential piece of my training when I came on board, but I’ve slowly caught on. I know what you’re thinking. “Maybe the people in your building are just really nice people.” This would be a logical conclusion, and while I wouldn’t disagree, per se, I am not afforded the same courtesy elsewhere. For example, it is completely optional to acknowledge a pleasant smile and hello in the hallway, but the elevator? You might as well get off on the first available floor.
Until this past January, I was your typical office worker, complete with a long commute, a cubical, weekly meetings, the whole nine. While I haven’t ditched the desk job or the meetings, my situation has changed drastically; instead of commuting 90 minutes each way in my car, I am now walking 0.8 miles each way. Additional feature updates included with the new gig: a shared office (no cube) with a real window that lets in real natural light, and a flexible schedule, complete with a laid back boss who doesn’t keep tabs on my exact time of arrival or departure. Today I took and hour and fifteen minutes for lunch. I am a liberated woman.