Fun / Gratitude Project

Welderbeth Gets an Office

(I wrote this last year but it never got posted last so I’m now sharing the saga and subsequent rescue out of the closet office.)

I had a meeting a few weeks ago with my executive director (the big enchilada at our non-profit). It was about my office space at our satellite campus, where I just spend one day a week. . We were talking about dividing an existing office in half and she said, “Oh, that’s really small. Is it too small?”

My calm response was to smile and say, “Well, I spent the last year sitting in a closet almost every day, so…. anything that gives me more than 4 square feet of room is an improvement.”

Ladies and Gents-

I have officially moved out of my closet at work.

You might think that I am exaggerating when I say that I was officing in a closet, but it’s true. When my work created a new position for me last year, there was no office space available so I ended up literally in a closet. A tiny closet with no air vent, a window (thankfully), and three giant filing cabinets.

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I might be in adult time out but my hair game is on point.

The sad truth is that I also had to fight for a desk. They wanted to put me in a closet at a plastic folding table. I told them that I probably would have died in there of low morale. My obituary would have read, “Beth Wise. We found her dead in a closet, resting her head on a plastic folding table.”  Finally, they ended up getting me a $50 used desk with an Ikea table top that we glued on. (Keep it classy, non-profits.)

Oh, sure, I jazzed it up with some knick knacks and my magnetic photo board. Most days, it was okay, but there were days when I was definitely reminded where I was and my place on the office space totem pole.

You could fit about 1.5 people in there comfortable. If the other person was a big guy, then forget it. An IT guy had to come and fix something on my laptop. He laughed when I showed him my office and then when I had to type my password in, we rubbed our stomachs together trying to get in and out.

I have paid my dues.

So, when the fund development staff moved out into a corporate office, you can imagine my excitement at getting a place of my own.

TWO windows. Nice, newly painted walls (done by yours truly). An air vent of my very own.

There is actually room for three people to be in my office at the same time if there needed to be. Maybe even 5!

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Someone donated these amazing emotions cards from the 1950s so, obviously, I use them as a visual representation of how I’m feeling.

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Note: A desk instead of a plastic folding table.

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A fancy table from Ikea that cost more than all of the “renovations” and “furniture” bought for the closet combined.

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A bookshelf! A filing cabinet! A vision screening machine!

The first thing I did was paint and balance precariously on a stool on my desk to get the high parts because I am the shortest person in the building by at least 6 inches. I was able to hang up more than one picture and I have room to put books! And staplers! and a table for sitting!

When I get to work in the morning, I open my windows and turn on my lamp. I stretch my legs and sit at my big desk. I might even spin myself around in my chair a few times without fear of kicking a hole in the wall.  Also, when my executive director gives tours of our facility, she no longer skips over introducing me because she doesn’t want to show any potential funders our resident hobbit person who lives in a closet. It has truly done wonders for my ability to focus on the task at hand.

When students come visit me, I no longer have to pull out a folding chair and sit knee to knee with them. I no longer have to balance five clipboards as they sign different things.

It’s like the Sound of Music up in here!

Sure, I like to make fun of the fact that I was stuffed in a closet for roughly 365 days, but truthfully, I am thankful for a job that I love, even when it meant sitting in a room with three giant filing cabinets as office mates.

Come visit me!

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