Sure, It Has a Window


One of the things I hate most about the “workplace” aspects of my job (the parts that aren’t confined to being a lawyer, but just the part where you have to go work somewhere) is sitting in my little white-walled box with a window.

So cubicles are worse. I worked in cubicles and hated it — I always felt like I feel in a crowded train station, where I’m just slightly too short to see where the hell I’m going, but I can hear all these interesting things going on. It was at once distracting and isolating.

But prior to this, I spent a lot of time working in open offices — newsrooms, charitable organizations — where all the desks are just in one big room. I found this energizing and interesting rather than distracting; there was always a lot going on, always someone to bounce and idea off of or shoot the shit with between bursts of work, always people laughing or bitching.

Now I sit in a white box that belongs to me, and has a window. This is supposed to be one of the perks of being a lawyer, a private office with actual walls (rather than a cubicle) and a WINDOW, the deepest longing of middle management, if popular culture is to be believed. Window offices mostly look at roofs, other office buildings, or parking structures, so the view isn’t all that exciting, but at least it is some actual natural light.

So I sit here in a small white room with a window all by myself for 10 hours a day. They do that with people in insane asylums, too, except in an insane asylum they give you things to play with. I’m supposed to be writing excruciatingly boring filings on matters nobody really gives a rat’s ass about.

Sometimes other law-office drones pop their heads in to get something from me or see if I need anything. Nurses in insane asylums either bring you good drugs or new toys. The best I get offered is coffee, which I don’t drink. But mostly I just sit there, in the quiet, pristine little office of my own being lonely.

The window doesn’t open — ever since air conditioning was invented, that’s no longer the old law for office buildings, that every person has to be no more than 30 feet from natural light and air. The walls are dull and just cheap office-building divider walls, so if we move they can renovate the office really fast, so they’re not real good at holding up pictures or anything. Not that I’ve gotten around to framing my plethora of diplomas and bar admissions anyway, the ones I’m supposed to hang behind my head to impress people. Who am I going to impress? Everyone else has them too, and it’s not like clients go into lawyer’s offices; that’s why there are conference rooms. I have no control over the temperature, and because of these big windows the lawyers’ offices get viciously hot in the summer with the sun beating in and brutally cold in the winter because they’re poorly insulated.

So here’s the workplace dream of American executives: I sit all alone and lonely in a little 225 sq. foot dull white box, listening to the electricity humming in the walls and the flourescents buzzing overhead, with a window that doesn’t open and looks at nothing and absolutely no control over the temperature of my office. Also, my door sticks.

Boy, America, I have it made.


One Response to “Sure, It Has a Window”

  1. 1 mark51douglass

    The Sunday, May 6th, 2007 edition of Dilbert sheds some similar light on the subject.

    Mark Douglass

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