First day on the new job, I went to a hanging. It’s a publishing term; we joked at the pun, but at times it felt like the end of a life. By the time I got back the contents of my desk had been moved: my computer, plants, pictures, the myriad papers scattered about, all relocated to similar positions in my new office.

I’m sure I’ll get to like it, having windows, a door to close, and a glass wall through which to watch the people passing by. I’ll like the job, which I’ve been doing off and on since I arrived there.

On the first day, though, it was slightly depressing. I never particularly wished for an office. I like the informal community of cubicles, being one of the guys, able to talk to people from your desk, and greet people as they pass by, fall into an unexpected conversation. Nobody’s going to unintentionally walk into my office. It feels like the difference between the city and the suburbs. You go to the city to be with people; you go to the suburbs to be alone.

I kept wondering if people were looking at me differently, thinking of me in a new way. More guarded, more adversarial, less like a friend. Thing is, I want the people working under me to be my friends, to want to hang out, confide in me, go out for drinks, joke with, invite me to things. I don’t make friends easily; I don’t understand how people do it outside of work.

I can see Ned’s vision of the darker me emerging, the one who kicks kittens. First you get moved into an office, and you end up staring at your coworkers through your glass walls, wondering what they’re thinking about you, slowly becoming more suspicious. You become overburdened with work, and you stop joining them for Friday night drinks. Eventually you will be forced to call them out on something, force them to do something they don’t want to do, and the adversarial relationship is cemented. You can forget about hanging out; suddenly they would rather talk about you than to you. And you start to think of them as obstacles, as tools to be manipulated in the accomplishment of your task.

Friday after work everyone went out for drinks. I said I would be there, but at 6:30 I was still in the office with my boss, revising documents, scanning pages, sending E-mails. I could feel the sweat stains forming, my hair falling out. Any kittens better watch out.

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