I’ve had the same desk chair since sometime around 2008 or 2009. It’s a fine chair. It still looks good and isn’t held together by bailing twine or duct tape. After more than a decade of periodic use and now the better part of a year of daily use, it does seem to be starting to show its age, though. The seat is a little out of level, which can’t be doing much to improve the occasional nagging pain in my left hip. Otherwise, it looks almost new – no small feat considering its survived at least three household moves.
I only bring this up because I’ve started poking around online office chair retailers. There’s a phrase I never really expected to use, but as the plague rolls on, I’ll eventually have to look seriously at replacing the current model with something new. Knowing the terrain before starting my search in earnest felt like a worthwhile effort, though… especially since I picked my current seat out of a shed full of leftovers and seconds in someone’s back yard.
Years ago, surely following a fit of spending end of the year money before it expired, I worked in an office that had Aeron’s at everyone’s desk. Back then it was a slick chair, felt good, and was enormously adjustable for each individual. I thought maybe I’d look into getting one of those for myself, in the clearly misguided belief that like giant televisions, the price of fancy office chairs would decrease over time.
Boy did I call that wrong.
So, am I actually thinking about spending something close to $1000 on a desk chair? They’re comfortable and it’s tempting. I find myself stuck somewhere between “treat yo’ self” and middle-aged disbelief that reasonable person would spend that much on a chair that doesn’t recline and vibrate. For now, the whole discussion is purely academic – to be shelved for further review some time in 2021 when my political masters aren’t fighting over funding the government one week at a time.
I think I’ve said it before, but it feels well worth repeating that the standard work day is considerably less onerous when you’ve got a view of your own sun dappled woods rather than the inside of a concrete box coated in low bidder paint with a view of your closest colleague’s lunch leftovers. Increasingly, as spring weather tries to take hold, the windows in my home office have become the best part of the work day.
I’m not a head shrinker, but I’ve long suspected that at least some of the general antipathy I feel about most days at the office can be attributed to having spent the vast majority of my career occupying horrifyingly bland interior rooms. I’m sure there are a host of other reasons too, but just now, with the good light streaming into the room, that feels like an element that can make a significant difference in the day’s mood. Having a couple of dogs and a cat who are blissfully indifferent to rank around shouldn’t be undervalued either… though my chance of having a window to look out feels far more likely than ever working in an office where bringing your pets to work is encouraged.
For now, though, I’m focused mainly on the idea that my office here at home is more comfortable, better laid out, and significantly more pleasurable to work in then even those reserved for the most high of our own little band of Olympian gods. Giving that up to go back to sitting it a poorly ventilated, badly lit, and overcrowded little corner of cubicle hell will probably be the single hardest thing I’ll have to do in my career.
When it comes to driving in snow, I’m not what one would usually call a Nervous Norvis. Couple that with capable 4-wheel drive and you can count on a few fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve wanted to go somewhere that it was prevented by the prevailing weather. Today, though, was one of those days.
This morning, the tail end cut out from under me before I even made it through the turn off the driveway and into the street. Add in sliding gracefully through the next two stop signs and it might not have been my worst day of driving but it easily ranks in the top ten. I’m told the main roads were fine, but living among a warren of back roads running across hill and dale, it’s fifteen minutes to the closest “main road” under the best conditions.
A decade ago, I’d have pressed on and damn the consequences. This morning, though, was more of a “screw this, I’m going back to the house.” After all it’s warm there and the coffee is fresh. There’s also damned little I can do at the office that I can’t do from the much nicer office I have at home. It seems that my tolerance for risking my neck – and the body work on my nice shiny Jeep – just for the joy of sitting eight hours in a cubicle is decreasing as the years go by.
Regardless of where I was sitting, the calls got made, the email went out, and this little cog in the great machine did his bit… but I got to do it it worn out jeans and fuzzy slippers. Is it wrong that a big part of me hopes things gent frozen over more often?
I’m still settling in to the whole idea of working from home. Not schlepping through the pre-dawn darkness to sit in a badly lit room with thirty other people doesn’t really suck. I like the view and my coworkers are appreciative of ear rubs and the occasional milkbone. Honestly it’s a whole lot of up side and not much down, at least so far.
It’s a learning process for sure and what I’ve learned this week is:
1. Dogs make the best coworkers. They’re content to find a convenient spot on the floor, preferably in the sun, and stay put until you want them for something.
2. Cats are attention-seeking little hoodlums who want to interrupt you 47 times a day. So basically, working while a cat is in residence is a lot like having actual human coworkers.
3. Happy hour begins promptly at 4:00. Getting that tasty beverage to start the evening an hour earlier is an awfully effective way to put a fork in Monday.
4. There’s something to be said for a lunch that doesn’t come out of a cooler bag / paper bag or from the hands of a sandwich artist.
5. The availability and freshness of the coffee / tea selection is way, way better. It’s hard to underestimate just how much better life is when you can fresh brew all day long.
I wish I could offer up something a little more insightful, but work is work no matter where it’s getting done. The best we can seem to hope for is improving the venue where we spend our eight hours.