Back Again

All good things must come to an end, someone once said. And, in my reality, the work-from-home gig that I’ve enjoyed for the last 15 months has come to an end. The company has called me back into the office.

I arrived about 45 minutes early to get the computer equipment installed. It’s been over 15 months since I’ve sat at this desk. It was hot in the office, humid outside when I arrived. There was a cock roach crawling along the file cabinets behind my desk. I stepped on it. First roach I’ve ever seen in the 20+ years I’ve work in this office. There’s been a few mice that have run across the carpet but I’ve never seen a roach.

The people are the same, friendly. There was two guys that I just did not talk to before Covid came along. They are the Office Narcissists and I just stopped talking to them as it was always a dick measuring contest with them. For a long time I needed to battle with them to prove my worth but any more I just don’t care. You can quickly get drawn into a measuring contest with them. Before Covid, they politely ignore me and I politely ignore them. It is kind of weird being back in the office and picking up when I left off in regard to them.

I haven’t been briefed on any social distancing or mask mandates. I’ve walked around the plant and office without a mask on and no one has said anything to me. Most of the people are wearing masks. So, I don’t know the policy.

I have mixed emotions about returning to the office. I had a routine at home. I brought the Huion Graphics Tablet from home so I can drawing during the lunch hour. At least I am fully vaccinated.

Water Tower in Lafayette, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo by Dave O taken on May 29, 2021.
Water Tower in Lafayette, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo by Dave O taken on May 29, 2021.

Returning

This day, Friday June 4, 2021, ends the 15 month exile to the home office as on Monday June 7 I am to report to the Office.

I suppose that is good. It will be good to see some people again, not so good to see (or listen to) others.

What I’ll miss about working from home :

  • open windows to listen to the outside ambient, the birds, the traffic, normal outside sounds.
  • my own porcelain throne.
  • the relaxed atmosphere in my home office.
  • the ability to sleep in every morning as it is a fifty foot commute and I don’t need to take a shower or brush me teeth every morning … the work-in-underwear myth is really true.
  • playing iTunes at any volume level.
  • freedom to take naps … as long as the work got done there was no reason not to … and during the months of September 2020 – January 2021 during all those surgeries and the recoveries the freedom to take 20 minute naps was priceless and so refreshing.
  • the fresh air when the windows are open.
  • the ability to do light chores between work tasks, like dishes and laundry. I never did any DIY projects during work hours, honestly.

What I don’t look forward to working in the office:

  • the factory sounds, the constant grinding of metal, the whirl of air ratchets.
  • the narcissists and their arrogance and their conversations.
  • will need to plan for my own refreshments. The Company provides a beverage and snack vending machines. I pumped many dollars into those machines. But I’ve become refreshed by the cheep Big K diet soda in two liter plastic bottles and so will need to take a cooler with my own refreshments. Plus, I need to cooler to keep the can-chicken-cream-of-chicken lunches I plan to take. At home all that was readily available but working at the office I will need to organize and plan ahead.

What I look forward to working from the office:

  • that when the 5:15 pm bell rings the work day is over. Working from home the ‘work’ is always here, available. It can press you to work more. It was hard for me to separate my time as ‘work’ and ‘personal. Now, after 5:15 pm on weekdays and all weekend there is no work.
  • more desk real estate. My home office desk is really not big enough for the two PCs and the scanner and power strips, keyboards and mice.
  • return to the Emporium … which is a flea market type of store in Greenwood. I made it a ‘treat’ to walk through the Emporium on Fridays after work. It kind of started the weekend. Before Covid, I usually bought used DVDs from the Emporium. At one time I cataloged all the DVDs and reviewed some of them giving up to 4 stars for each review. But I fell out of that. I probably won’t buy used DVDs much but some booths offer comics and books. It was just the walking through the place that I enjoyed. I usually don’t have any where to go after work on Fridays since I lead such a party animal life. A thirty minute walk through the Emporium did not infringe on anything.

What I don’t like from working at home:

  • I never really felt like I was ‘actually working’. I could play the music loud, I could have the windows open, I could walk outside. There are many perks for me when working from home. I will miss those perks. But, maybe due to the many years of task driven floggings and verbal assaults when real or imagined mistakes were made make me wonder if I’m not doing enough and quick enough.
  • neighbors cutting their yards in the middle of the day. Most of my neighbors are retired and so they can cut their yards in the middle of the day. When I hear the sounds of their mowers I wish I could do that as well, at least to get the chore over with before the end of the ‘work day’.
Example of 'practice to make progress' on June 3, 2021. Drawing by Dave O, screenshot by Dave O.
Example of ‘practice to make progress’ on June 3, 2021. Drawing by Dave O, screenshot by Dave O.