I Hate the Office
No, no, no, not “The Office” starring Steve Carrell, not the British one with Ricky Gervais. I hate the office, no caps. You know; the place we all go to work. The place where you suffer:
- The jackasses on the roads, just to get there
- Constant interruptions
- Incessant background noise
- The lighting conditions, too bright or too dark, never right
- The environmental conditions, too hot or too cold, too dry or too humid, never right
- Your obnoxious coworkers and their disgusting eating, drinking and personal hygiene habits
What if there were an alternative to working at the office? You know, where you have no commute, no irritating co-workers interrupting you, chewing with their mouths open, slurping their tea or coffee, hawking loogies into the sink (You think I’m kidding about that one? I’m not). A place where you don’t have to suffer the inane chatter of others, who then complain if you talk too loudly. A place where you control the lighting, the heat and humidity.
Heaven on Earth
What a heavenly place to work this would be, if there were such a workplace.
Well, the advent of high quality, high-speed internet, in conjunction with the Kung Flu, has given many of access to just such a workplace, our own homes.
When I graduated Engineering school, we were in the depths of a nasty recession. I spent the entire summer of 1992 searching for work, any work, watching my meagre savings dwindle, wondering if I was ever going to get my career going.
That summer at my annual physical, my doctor told me I had slightly elevated blood pressure. Not a big concern, because I also had a nice low resting heartrate, and that slow heartrate meant my heart just had to do a little more work each beat.
Over the years I have never not worked in an office, except for the time I spent teaching English in China. Oh, and the 7 years I spent travelling North America teaching how to use CAD software. I have never not been in an open concept, low cubicle walled hell space where there was no privacy, no peace and quiet, no peace of mind.
Through all the years, through 4 different family doctors, I have never not had mild diastolic hypertension. You know, the lower number on your blood pressure reading.
Until August of this year.
Last December, my doctor took my BP, and was a little worried. I told her about my history, and the 1992 diagnosis and conversation with that doctor. She didn’t care, wanted me in for a follow up to really check my pressure.
Fast forward to January
In January, I went in for that follow up. The doctor’s assessment, diastolic hypertension and I’d best come in for a follow up in six months. You see, as a non-drinking, non-smoking, lean, fit, healthy man with a good diet, my only risk factor is genetics…you know, family history.
Later that month, I crashed the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new wing of our local hospital. Dad, the longest serving doctor at the hospital, was part of the ribbon cutting and there was no way I was going to miss that.
At the meet and greet before the ceremony, I bumped into my doctor, as I was chatting with Dad. I introduced them, and she got the family history of hypertension. Turns out there’s a lot of it, and now my doctor is thinking about how we’ll plan my future course of treatment.
Fast forward to March
The Lung Pao Sicken Lockdown began, and I left cubicle hell for my spare-bedroom-cum-study. Six months of working from home; feeding, educating, raising and playing with my children later, my doctor’s office started taking in-patient appointments again, and I went in for another BP test.
“Everything is perfect, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
The modern office may not be a place purpose designed to suck the life out of you. But if it were, would it be designed any differently?