If you asked me to name my biggest complaint about my job, I wouldn’t say that it was the long hours, continually asking people for money or dealing with rock stars with attitudes. It’s the lack of office space.
I do realize that an office is a luxury.
Many people don’t have an office. Teachers just have desks. People who work on assembly lines don’t even have that. Roofers are stuck on roofs.
Lots of people have it worse than I do.I understand that.
But even though it’s a “first world problem” the lack of a private work space still drives me crazy.
It’s particularly annoying this time of year when the office is overrun by patrons and staff of our resident opera company.
I’ll be working on a grant or donor letter and suddenly there will be someone standing in back of me waiting to talk to one of the ticket agents, killing time by reading everything on my screen.
The other day a woman moved my things from my desk — files, a notebook, my cup of coffee — to the floor so she could set her purse down.
I’ve returned from the restroom to find a person sitting in my chair.
That’s one of the biggest problems with open office spaces. People have no boundaries. They don’t see a desk that’s obviously in use and think, “Oh, that’s someone’s workspace and I should respect that.” They think, “All that stuff is in my way so I’m going to move it.”
Customers aren’t the only ones who do this.
Facility renters and volunteers seemed to think the office is a big catch all — a place to leave their coats, charge their phone or just hang out. They use my desk to plate cookies and pour cider for intermission.
Whether I’m sitting there or not.
And they don’t bother to remove the crumbs and spills when they are done.
I have to hide my pens, scissors and supplies when I leave so they don’t disappear while I’m gone.
I can’t imagine treating another person’s workplace that way.
I wouldn’t go into a doctor’s office and rearrange the tongue depressors and take the stethoscope. Or walk into the bank and eat my lunch at the teller’s station.
In addition to the all-too-easy access to my space, I don’t have a place to make a private phone call (ie. ask for money or deal with rock stars with attitudes) or even relax for a minute (ie. recover from the long hours).
Some days when I have a deadline or long “to do” list, I want to yell, “My kingdom for a door!”
A while back someone who works in the city offices downstairs told me that they were considering some renovations to the building. If approved by all the powers that be, the redesign may include an extension of the lobby and the creation of a small office under the stairs.
The project architects said to the city guy, “Why would anybody want an office under the stairs?” so he brought them into our space.
There was a customer with two toddlers and a screaming baby buying tickets and three telephone lines were ringing. I was working on my computer, earbuds in my ears trying to write a grant report over the din.
The architect turned to the city guy and said, “now I get it” so maybe that means I’ll have a chance for that office under the stairs.
If I do, feel free to call me Harry Potter. If it bothers me I’ll just close my door.