One day over the summer, while my sister was visiting, I had a brilliant suggestion to save her from the impending boredom waiting for her after I left for work: I suggested that she come to work with me. To strengthen my case, I told her that there was a computer lab and they were all hooked up with an internet connection. Plus, I would be there, doing the life changing marketing work I do.
Whether it was the thought of seeing me in action or the idea of watching wrestling all day with my grandpa that was compelling, she followed me to work. First we got breakfast in the kitchen, and then, after making a great show of the different kinds of milk and coffee creamers we have available, I introduced her to my boss. My boss asked her what she thought of our company and of being at work, and my sister proceeded to say that it was really quiet. Then she started asking if it was always that quiet and what do we do if it’s so quiet? Before she could question if anyone in the building was doing any real work at all, I quickly rushed her away to show her my cubicle.
“This is my desk,” I said. “I sit here.” I sat in my chair and pulled out my keyboard tray.
“What do you do?” she asked.
“Well,” I said slowly, quietly hoping that I might get called right at that moment to see about a secret mission to Peru. I remembered I don’t often get those calls reserved for women sleekly dressed in all black like you see in the movies, so I decided to be honest. I opened up a few Word documents and showed her the stuff I had been working on. It must have made an impression; she looked at it for a full minute or two before asking if she could go back to the kitchen to get some Goldfish.
Since then, she would be proud to know that I’ve shaken up my work routine. Namely, my lunch hour. Whereas before I’d make a sandwich and sit at my desk or stand outside awkwardly with the smokers, now Nathalie and I drive to a nearby park and do bootcamp workouts. The first day we went, there was a deafening sound ringing in my ears. I covered the sides of my head and turned to Nathalie, “What is that noise???” Turned out it was the sound of joy and laughter coming from the nearby school, all the kids out on recess. There were kids running — running for fun — kids playing tetherball, climbing jungle gyms, they were non-stop movement and energy.
As I did my lunges, I felt a pang of envy. I wanted to sound joyous like that. Perhaps I could talk to HR about getting a tetherball pole installed in that underutilized walkway by my cube. I bet Google doesn’t even have tetherball.