"I have seen personally what is the only beneficial and appropriate course of action for people: to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all their hard work on earth during the few days of their life which God has given them, for this is their reward." (Ecclesiastes 5:18, NET)

November 18, 2015

The big move

News of the big move broke over a year ago. It was a major life event I wasn't ready to accept, mostly because it made no sense.

The reason given for the forced migration of employees from their home offices to the corporate "offices"—a misnomer since there are only cubicles—was better collaboration. But my manager was on the east coast, the vice president I did communications for was on the west coast, and the rest of the team were scattered in between. I was the only one of us in Houston, so who was I supposed to collaborate with?

Plus, I had a lengthy list of valid reasons why teleworking was good for myself and good for the company. My manager knew me as an employee who was always at work rather than always at home. And she knew the long, uninterrupted hours I put in were needed to keep up with the demands of my job. So she asked that I be put at the back of the line for a cubicle on the Houston campus.

Thanks, Bonnie, and thank you, Lord, for giving me plenty of time to get accustomed to the idea. You've been bringing me along at the pace I needed. And how far I've come since the "old gang" dinner in January when, on my second margarita, I ranted to former colleagues about how stupid the move was. How a capital-E-extrovert like me who likes to have a good time couldn't be around people all day, or nobody would get anything done. I warned that I'd be chatting people up. And I vowed to bring back hallway bowling, Nerf ping-pong, and other such workday activities of old.

A couple of months later, I learned where I was landing in the new organization because of the company split. My new manager would be Melissa, and our VP would be Tracie. Fantastic! I adore them both. Oh, but guess who was sitting across from me during my margarita-fueled rant about how little work I would do after I got back on campus ... yep, my new manager. It's a good thing Melissa realizes that 90% of what I say in that type of situation is just to get a rise or a laugh.

The boss ladies were looking for space to get our new team together on campus, and I would be expected to come in. They gently broke the news to me over a lovely lunch with gifts and cake to celebrate my birthday as well as my 25th work anniversary. No rant this time. I had already accepted the inevitable, and it made sense for me to be physically with the people I'd be working closely with on a daily basis. 

That's all I ask before I fall in line—just make it make sense.

My first day back was September 28. As I headed out the door with my backpack and my new lunch kit, it felt like the first day of school, like a fresh new beginning. But by the time my 18-minute drive along the back roads had taken 35 minutes and I narrowly escaped a wreck, I was over it. Where did all those people come from! I'd been blissfully sheltered from rush-hour traffic for so long that it was a culture shock. (Spoiled. I know.)

One of the boss ladies suggested that I leave the house either early or late to avoid traffic, whichever worked better for me. Leaving early was the most appealing option, so I just had to decide what I could do at the office instead of at home. The two choices were put on my makeup or read my Bible. Charitably deciding not to subject the nice guy at the coffee drive-thru with my zombie face, I opted for reading at the office.

It's working out great! Not only do I beat the traffic, but reading Scripture in my quiet little cubicle before the others arrive is the best start to my workday. And since I'm no longer reading in bed with a groggy brain first thing in the morning, my reading pleasure and retention have improved.

I was relieved that the cubicles weren't as bad as I had envisioned. Ages ago when I started teleworking, I left a giant cubicle farm in the bowels of the building where there were no windows. But I returned to a single aisle of cubicles on the 7th floor with windows all the way down one side. Not too shabby.

The boss ladies wanted to give me a cubicle with a window, but the only one not occupied by a team member had been claimed by a squatter. He refused to move even though his team was in another city and he rarely came to the office. (In 6 weeks, I saw him exactly 3 times. And yes, I was nice to him even though he was in "my" spot.)

I had to take the cubicle right across the aisle from Squatter Guy, sharing a wall with a huge server room that emits a loud, constant hum. It's like sitting in the back of a plane all day.

To alleviate the sting, Tracie gave me a fake window to a fake beach for my wall. That was really nice. When I'd get claustrophobic, though, I'd have to stand up and look out Squatter Guy's big window to the real world.

But you know what? If I hadn't spent two months in the hole before Squatter Guy quit, I wouldn't be enjoying my big window so much now. That's right, it's finally mine!

I'm also now facing the other direction and I'm a bit farther from the hum of the server room, so it's like I moved from the back of the plane to the front. I tell y'all what ... God's timing on every little thing is absolutely perfect.

Naturally, I'm enjoying the social aspect of working on campus. Can you guess what I dressed up as for Halloween? Hint: My slogan was "business on the top, party on the bottom."

If you guessed that I was a teleworker, you're partially correct. Specifically, I was a teleworker at a video conference. The only times I dressed up in my home office were on the rare occasions I had to be on the webcam. So I'd dress on top, but stay comfy and casual on the bottom. 

I first considered going as a nonspecific teleworker. But I was concerned that my colleagues would never look at me the same had I shown up in full-blown teleworker mode. "Party on the top" would have meant bed hair, no makeup, wife-beater undershirt, and no bra.

Yep, I made the right decision.

Although the list of positives about teleworking is way longer than the list of positives about working on-site, I'm staying focused on the latter. And some of those positives carry a lot of weight, especially these two: 1) It's invigorating to be out among the living again; and 2) My back is hurting less since I'm not super-glued to my chair for a ridiculous number of hours each week.

I won't lie, though. It's been a difficult period of adjustment. Here are just a few little examples: 1) I'm still unable to keep my shoes on all day; 2) I still talk out loud to myself while working; and 3) I tend to get pouty in the evenings when I have to get up from watching TV in my recliner to pack my breakfast and lunch for the next day.

But when all is considered, what else can I say but this ... How blessed I was to be where I was. How blessed I am to be where I am.
How blessed are the people whose God is Yahweh! (Psalm 144:15)


  1. We live in parallel "work" universes, though you may be 6-12 months sheaf of me on returning to cubicalville

    1. If you're like me, you'll have to go through the 5 stages of grief before you get there. ☺