Thursday, February 28, 2008

Office Collective

In my last job search, one of the first prospects that I seriously considered was for a development research consulting firm. When it first presented itself, one of the big attractions for me was that it was a networked group, in the sense that everyone worked from a home office and there would be a great sense of independence. After the miserable experience in the particular office I had gotten myself into, the idea of working from home was incredibly refreshing. No one would critique my appearance, I could eat at my desk without worrying about people catching me with a mouthful of sandwich, and I would no longer have to put up with thin, industrial toilet paper.

And yet, two weeks into the process, having spoken with the firm's CEO on the phone and met with her in person, I began to wonder if it would be as good as all that. Working in an office hadn't been all bad, I'd made a few friends, and it was nice to have that social activity. When I spoke to the VP of the firm, who worked out of his home--in another state--I developed serious doubts about it. The VP asked me if I wouldn't be tempted to turn on the television during the day. Part of me still wonders if that wasn't directed at me because of my relatively young age (because all youngsters are slackers, of course) but even though I told him I wouldn't (who really wants to see Jerry Springer anyway?) I think I knew then that it wasn't for me.

I was reminded of this in Marci Alboher's column on the rented office space available from In Good Company for women entrepreneurs. The premise is simple: women who work from home need a space for meetings, or to work without the distractions of home, and In Good Company provides this space, in a warm, well-designed environment with reasonable pricing.

Work environment is definitely important in my own career. I work much better in this office than I ever did in a cubicle or receptionist's placing. I can have my own reed diffuser, my own photos on my desk, and I finally got to hang up my master's degree on the wall. I can play my own music without disturbing other people, and I can close the door to talk on the phone. People don't wander through my space and ask me to do random things "because you're right there." I don't feel like people are peeking over my shoulder at all times.

And at the same time, I get out and socialize with my researchers and other administrators, so I'm not just up here in my ivory tower. This is the perfect blend of independence and socialization, and I'm grateful for it.

1 responses:

Angela said...

As much as my coworkers annoy me sometimes, I definitely agree about not being able to work from home. I actually "worked from home" last Friday and failed pretty miserably.

I'm glad you're enjoying your office (and your job). It's too bad most offices are cube farms!

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