What I miss about office life
David Weinberger on Business
I've been working at home for almost exactly ten years now, and I love it. But every now and then I spend time at a client's office and get wistful...
I miss bumping into people I like. Getting an email from someone you've never met in person just isn't the same, no matter how delightful the message.
I miss eating lunch with people. In fact, I miss eating lunch. At home, I grab something out of the kitchen and get back to work while the last bite is mid-esophagus. In the office, each lunch time was another little adventure: Who to eat with? Where to eat? How major a lunch?
I miss the full-bodied project experience. Now the projects I work on feel abstract: There's a piece of work that gets done via collaborative-but-separate efforts. In an office, a project has a body, not just a brain.
I miss watching the dynamic social relationships expressed in nuance because they have to be accomplished outside of the official structure. Org charts simply don't - and couldn't and shouldn't and don't want to - capture the friendships, rivalries and loves that are inevitable when people occupy the same space. But because office relationships - and I don't just mean romantic ones - have repercussions, they are often tentative and accomplished through subtle symbols - a cocking of the head as someone listens attentively, a smile as budget numbers are passed from hand to hand...
I miss the giddy joy of taking the second-to-last cup of coffee.
But then I get pulled into some client's weekly 'status meeting' (and believe me, it's all about status), or one of my kids pulls me out to play or help with homework, and I remember why I like working at home.
How about you? What are the little pleasures of your life in the office?