Position is everything, so said a wise man.
At my earlier office, I sat at the office space equivalent of a crossroad junction. My left elbow practically jutted out into the corridor (and jabbed unsuspecting souls who turned the corner!). The watercooler was across the corridor, within nearly arm’s reach (if I had arms like an octopus). The photocopier was a hop, skip and jump away (if I could hop around the cooler, skip over the staircase banister and jump without bumping my head into the overhead closet).
Since I was also close to the door, I functioned as an alternate helpdesk (not paid for the additional services to company, of course). Oh those smart, conniving, money-saving minds in human resources, who planned the layout! They probably figured I wouldn’t mind talking to strangers who came asking for directions.
“Where’s the ladies washroom?” – Down the corridor right where the totally guy team sits (yes, HR must have been an all-male team too, to come up with an arrangement like that!)
“I want to meet Mr.Khatpatia” (Do I look like his secretary? Or even worse, like I’ve had a sex change?And do you suppose I’d call myself a name like that?)
People also have a way of dumping their messes on other people’s tables. Each morning as I walked into work, I was reminded of the times I lost a tooth. What would the tooth fairy have left me? What UOO (Unidentified Office Object) would I find on my table? I gathered enough printouts (travel plans, resumes, indexes and appendices and various other parts of a report’s anatomy), pen caps, twisted paper clips, sundry keys, newspapers and once a dead cockroach. I briefly considered setting up a junkyard.
Then there was the stuff that went missing. I like personalizing my spaces. But I’d have to lock up my pen holder, my ladybird sandbag, my teacup and stapler away at the end of the day if I wanted to see them again. Even the notes I tacked to my softboard managed to get lost! My softboard would typically look like this: my travel schedule for next week, a one-page calendar, a doodle of warli dancers signed with a smiley (done by me!) and a copy of IF. Apparently someone else loves my rubbish too.
Now in my new workplace I’ve shifted a few places here and there. Each one had its merits. The first place was while we were waiting to move into a new office and there were 6 of us crammed into a tiny room, elbow to elbow. It made me appreciate the 6:20 fast local train.
I’ve just spent a few weeks in my newest place. This one is close to the door too and across the cubicle wall from the printer. So I have to stretch over and extend a long hand to pick up a printout (yes, I could do the trek all the way around too but my yoga teacher said I need stretching exercises not walking exercise).
NN was here earlier and we were chatting when some unfamiliar guy walked by. According to him, I went “So this is where I was…there was all this crowd….and….and….and…..and…..who is that guy?” Shameless ogling he calls it. Yes, well, I enjoy the perks of the job.