Story Value

random musings and episodes from the life of a 40 something comidienne/corporate refugee/mom - since whatever doesn't kill you provides excellent story value.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I love the smell of white boards in the morning

Three years and six months ago, I cast-off from corporate America, looking to make my way as a free-lance consultant. I had had it up to here with "the man." I was burnt-out on office-politics, the thankless tasks of middle-management and with hauling my patootie for a 3 hour round-trip to a glass office tower.
I wanted something different. Anything different. And I felt I had to whole-sale reject all the corporate trappings to pursue my true creative muse.
And now, I'm contemplating making a return trip.

What could possibly make me go back? Many things. As with most decisions, there's a push and a pull.

Consulting is lonely. For three of my years, I had the best of both worlds with a "Sugar Daddy" client. Two days in the office, two at home, one of pure freedom. The paycheck was solid and steady, the work compelling. My colleagues didn't really have the chance to become truly annoying before I'd have another break from them. A few colleagues rose to the annoyance challenge, but that is to be expected.

Now that I consult remotely, I find myself loathing my home office -- a laptop, desk & printer shoved in the corner of a guest-room. It's challenging to structure my day so that work gets done before midnight. Too many distractions. I am my own annoying colleague. Boy I can be a pain in my own ass.

I miss learning, bantering in the conference room and hashing out solutions in a group. I miss cracking wise with my peeps and killing in the hallway with my dead-on impressions of Senior Management.

I miss the routines, I miss the free coffee, and I miss the smell of fruit-scented magic markers. I miss commiserating and offering advice to quell the sting of petty office dramas. I miss buying Girl Scout cookies in the spring. I miss those huge vats of bad caramel corn that comprise 2 of my 3 daily meals for months after the holidays.

I miss crazy off-sites where we endure forced bonding and think big thoughts on flip-chart paper that never gets looked at again.

I miss feeling "mue importante" when people bring me tough problems to solve. I miss "being the client" and getting my bootie kissed by potential vendors with the odd pair of Red Sox home game tickets.

I miss dumb jokes, dispatches from the Onion sent from bored colleagues, and huddling around an office computer to watch wildly inappropriate YouTube videos.

I miss sharpening my pop-culture references and musical knowledge by bantering with the 20-somethings and burnishing my political and cultural opinions by talking them through before meetings begin.

I miss the ribbing of the sweet, funny, English-challenged parking garage attendants and making the lunch lady giggle and blush by complimenting her bling.

Sock puppets don't have the same effect. The 'interweb' doesn't satisfy my need for contact. I'm just not being all I can be sitting by myself in front of the laptop screen in my room. My chair's not ergonomic, my time-management is shot, and my hairdo is suffering from severe lack of effort.

The grass is always greener I suppose. How quickly I forget the grind part of the daily grind. I am sure I would cringe if I re-read my diaries from the last year before I 'left-office'.

I wouldn't trade a moment of the last 3 1/2 years of creative self-discovery. It has been an exciting and wild ride. I don't know for sure that I'd give it all up ... but I have rediscovered some of the small pleasures of office co-habitation. That would get me through the first 3 days back at least.

4 Comments:

Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

As a former circus ape, I know what you're feeling. You're a performer who misses her audience.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Well, when you put it like that, sign me up!

Weirdly (considering the only office job I've ever had was Cabot) you made me miss it with your very specific inventory of small pleasures. Or maybe I just miss you! :)

Also weirdly, I am about to submit a resume for a job I just heard about...I'm not really qualified, but it's exciting to put myself out there! :)

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Violet said...

You don't need a job; you need an audience. Well, maybe you need a job, too. One that has an audience.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Don't do it!! don't sell out!!! Isn't Neil enough of an annoying co-habitant? And can't you grab Cameron in the hallway and show him how you can imitate his dad (make yourself feel better by calling him the VP of the house). Call the kitchen sink the water cooler and stand Neil's blow up doll next to it and just start yabbering about last night's episode of Survivor.

THEN, start looking for another local sugar daddy so that you can return to the best of both worlds like when you were at 1st Marblehead.

If you must return, don't move the desk out of the guest room just yet, you'll come back.

Hope all's well.

4:03 PM  

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