It’s a little after 8 a.m., and I’m by myself in the office.
This isn’t a surprise. I’m usually one of the first arrivals, and the one person who is ever there before me doesn’t work Fridays. He, like most of the rest of the people I manage, finish their work by Thursday and work long hours to do it, so they get to take Fridays off.
Everyone else will arrive later.
As long as they get done what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to, people are largely allowed to set their own schedules. I mostly do busywork on Fridays, and coming in early means I can go home early.
I actually could probably do my work at home, or just skip Fridays altogether, but we get a delivery on Friday that I like to take care of, and I don’t want to get into the habit of planning days to work at home.
As much as other people being around creates a buzz, sometimes it’s good to be alone with my thoughts.
My personal office is basically in the middle of our office. The cubicles to my right are vacant — the people got moved to another office — between me and the kitchen. There’s a conference room that’s not used much these days, and storage off of that.
Everyone else is at the other end of the office. I had a friend who used to sit nearby who, in addition to being one of my favorite co-workers, kind of kept me tethered to everyone else. But she moved to another unit, so sometimes I’m sort of floating in space.
As much as other people being around creates a buzz, sometimes it’s good to be alone with my thoughts, even if those thoughts are about how I’m not sure I handled something right recently.
A couple guys arrive about 9:15. They pull the aluminum foil off the container on a filing cabinet, hoping I’ve brought in something my wife baked.
Being by myself also lets me turn my music up as loud as I want — I don’t use headphones because my office shields me a little bit, but I still assume it would be a bother if it were too loud.
Today, I’m listening to Josh Groban’s “Bridges.” I’ve been a fan since the beginning of his career, and this is his best album yet. It’s the work of a great talent, fully matured.
A couple guys arrive about 9:15. They pull the aluminum foil off the container on a filing cabinet, hoping I’ve brought in something my wife baked. No matter where I’ve worked, my co-workers have always liked my wife (how could you not?), but her baking is legendary.
Alas, it’s the leftover salad from the previous day’s pizza delivery. They’re bummed.
One of the guys asks if we had heard the story of the kid who died after eating pasta he had left out for five hours. Turns out it was five days, which he called “Darwin at work.”
We chat about the weather — it has been really cold lately, although not Midwest cold — and then we go back to work.
Back in my office, I turn off the music after “99 Years,” Groban’s duet with Jennifer Nettles that I’m convinced was the music gods deciding I’ve been good and needed a treat.
Conference call at 10.