Working in an office
An office is a place where computers, telephones, fax machines, and other work-related items sit on desks with swivel chairs under them. It's been two years since I last worked in an office. How refreshing to return to the world of 9 to 5, if only for a short while!
I once treated the company office as a stage where I'd parade in my new outfits. It was a place where I got attention, courtesy, and feedback whenever I felt the need to break away from the isolation of working from home or hotel. I'd stroll out of the lift into the main reception and walk through the rows of open plan cubicles to my rarely occupied desk. The kitchen was a place where colleagues gathered to chit chat and catch up on the latest gossip. I, for one, love the English tradition of taking tea breaks.
In my first job in Singapore, I had to get used to working in an office. For some strange reason, I'd always wander out of my little office into the open area where the secretaries worked. I'd bring my Toshiba laptop and sit at an empty desk behind their Apple Macs just to be where the action was.
One day, my Filipino American boss Alberto called me into his office.
"Why don't you work in your own office?" he asked. "I see you spreading your work in the secretaries' area. We made an office for you so that you will work in it."
Not realising that I did anything wrong, I said, "You should have seen me in college. I'd find an empty class room at night and spread out my work on several desks!"
I was too young to have an office of my own. I preferred the company of my colleagues. When the open plan concept became fashionable in my next job, I no longer needed a room to myself. The equatorial view from the 38th floor was magnificent without office walls.
The office I'm working from now is on the fourth floor in the heart of Mayfair next to one of the most exclusive private hotels in London. It's nice to share workspace with other people again, especially in a part of London that is surrounded by classy restaurants and art galleries.
5 July 2004 Monday
Work like you don't need