Outlasting the winter office doldrums.

It was a long day at work today.  For those of us lucky enough to have jobs at allow some flexibility for work outside, the onset of winter is a difficult prospect.  I am convinced that I was not made to sit still – it is simply a prospect that I seem unable to achieve – and indeed dread when the necessity arises.  There are whose that seem to be able to commit to this requirement in their daily lives, indeed some seem to relish in it.

I have a friend, she works for a large insurance firm and one day it was necessary for me to visit her at her workplace.  I found my friend seated inside a small cubicle that she was required to share with another worker. Her computer displayed a large spreadsheet of figures. As we sat there talking I realized the this was not a place designed for visitors, there was simply no places to sit.  When I inquired about this my friend was confused, “why would we need a specific place for visitors” she said. “How do you meet with people that you are working with?” I asked.  “We don’t ever need to” was the reply.  I was astounded to discover that no (or very limited) face to face time was ever required by most of the people in her office.  What connection she did have with others was  almost exclusively electronic.

To this day this discovery still astounds me. Surely interaction with other people is something that is necessary for sanity?  I say sanity and not survival because there are those people who eschew interaction and find solitude in the wild places of earth, these people are quite frankly, in my humble opinion, insane.  Some solitude is fine, I am the first to admit it, but choosing to live inside the active caldera of Kilauea on Hawaii is taking things a little bit far, don’t you think? Anyway, I found out lots more information that made me shake with fear of a death row inmate.  I had always thought that people that worked in offices wore suits, or at least business causal clothing.  At my friend’s office however everyone seem to be sitting in their boxes in cargo shorts and ratty tee-shirts!

Don’t get me wrong, tee-shirts and I have a special relationship, the rattier the better, and cargo short as just “my bag baby”, but what made me want to run to the window and throw myself down 7 stories to the concrete pavement was the reason. “We don’t need to dress up” my friend said “who would we dress up for? We don’t need to meet anyone”. Am I alone in thinking that this whole situation is a little bit weird?  My friend spends up to 12 hours a day, five days a week (and more time over the weekend besides) in this situation.  My hat off to her, she is a wonderful person and says that the situation suits her, but I am a loss as to how.

My job has it’s fair share of office time to be sure, but I can get up and go outside to work on something whenever the urge grows to hefty.  These moments often occur during those warm Spring days when everything seems to be alive.  During the winter, when the wind is blowing, the temperature is below freezing, and the ice lies think on every horizontal surface, it is a little different.  In these moments I walk to work thinking,  “today is a day for office projects”. But barely an hour will pass when I find myself looking outside longingly at that cold, icy wasteland and thinking, what excuse can I come up with to go out and do something, anything. Such was my battle today.

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