One of the biggest adjustments I’ve had to working part-time is the fact that I share office space. There are four “stations,” used by up to seven different part-time employees, and we’re expected to remain flexible and use whichever one is available (rather than claim a favorite). It works well, but, like any congregation, we have one member who has been sitting in the same seat since the Reagan administration, and we all know better than to use “her station.” Everyone else operates on first-to-work, first-to-choose, yet still accommodating the personal preferences we’ve noted in one another (ex: one likes a window seat, another likes closest to the exit).
At first, I thought the lack of privacy would be my biggest challenge, but I was far more befuddled by my inability to personalize my space. I have a cubby, to store personal items, and use of a drawer for my purse and/or lunch bag. But after 20 years of having an entire office to feather, I’ve become accustomed to having some comforts of home around me. When I left my last job, I needed two friends to help me box all my things, filled our entire Honda Odyssey, and still left some things behind.
Now I’m both surprised (and rather proud) that this little box is the extent of my office space.
It’s just a shoe box, covered in scrapbook paper and filled with extras – duplicates of my favorite pens, the fancy hand lotion I hesitated to use, and the essentials (drink mixes, hand sanitizer, tissues, nail file). It fits inside my cubby, so it’s easy to pull out or put away (or grab and go if I’m offered a hug and a severance package).
I’m sure there’s a metaphor in here, about how my significantly smaller office reflects my shift in focus from work to home, vocation to avocation. Most days I just think: darn, that’s a cute box! I wonder what else I could package like this?