Working from home full time these past several months has been great for me. I guess some would consider me an introvert but I'm not sure. I'm not the most outgoing person but I'm by no means shy. I tend to be pretty laid back and reserved, especially if I'm not completely comfortable with the people I'm around. And if there's a "battle" for center stage, I easily give in. I won't fight to be heard if others are more forceful in conversation. I just don't have the energy for that.
I remember one time years ago, in the office at work, I was the only one sitting in my row for some reason. My manager came to talk to me and he said, "you must be lonely over here all by yourself."
I was just fine being there alone.
Alone, never lonely.
But now as I sit at my desk, behind a computer monitor set up in my home office, I can't help but reminisce about those in-office days from a former time.
~ Making coffee in my travel mug and packing lunches for myself.
~ The commute. Oh, the annoying highway travel and congested roadways. And the morning show I would listen to for entertainment while driving in.
~ The parking garage. I remember circling around to find the best parking space while trying not to burn up the last few minutes I had to get to my desk and not be considered late.
~ The hike to the building. Crossing through the skywalk and the adjacent building when the weather was bad, and taking to the streets when it was warm and sunny. Passing men in suits and women in sneakers who would later change into heels at their desks.
~ Going to Dunkin' Donuts to get my usual (medium hot chocolate and blueberry muffin warmed up with butter) when I eventually stopped drinking coffee so much.
~ People mingling in the lobby.
~ Saying good morning at the elevator.
~ "What floor?" or "4 please" once inside.
~ Signing into the systems while chatting with co-workers.
It feels like a lifetime ago. My job was downtown for years and on breaks I would eat lunch with colleagues, walk to the store or the nearby park, or just sit on the short concrete wall outside with a friend and people-watch.
I remember trips to the cafe for breakfast, lunch or a quick snack.
Finding reasons to walk around the building because I thought I looked cute that day.
I remember taking selfies in the bathroom lounge area. The mirrors and lighting in there were the best.
I remember discussing life events with my teammates, helping people plan their weddings, planning my own, organizing holiday parties, NOT participating in pot lucks unless there were a lot of store bought items on the list, going to company cook-outs, having baby showers and bridal showers, decorating things for team competitions, running out of the building to take care of errands, or going out to lunch with a friend. Meeting up with people outside and walking around the grounds to get exercise.
I remember getting dressed!
Can we just give 'getting dressed' its moment?
I remember conference room meetings. (I love meetings).
I remember town hall meetings. (Seriously, I do).
I remember people.
I remember interactions.
I went into the office 5 days a week for many, many years. I eventually transitioned to a job where I was home 3 days and in the office for 2. Then most recently I was only in for one.
Now it's none.
I love working from home. I sought out a position that would allow me to do so. And with more and more flexibility to do this, my office had gotten scarce of people even before the pandemic. Still the opportunity was there to be "at work."
But today, Monday December 7th, 2020, the option doesn't exist. People aren't allowed back to the office where I work even if they wanted to be there. Something about that fact is saddening.
And as I sit at home, at my desk, with only the four walls around me, I grow nostalgic. I wonder, could it be that I actually miss going to work?
And I can say that yes...yes I do.