My office smells like old snacks.

Apparently, this is what happens when you trade your corner office for a minivan.  I really miss the old digs: the custom-ordered swivel chair; the view down 56th Street from 40 floors up; space to “think.”  And all of this guarded by an assistant who sat outside my door ready to intercept anyone who might try to enter the inner sanctum uninvited.  It was luxurious, organized…peaceful.

The new headquarters are definitely a step down. The only amenities being a cup holder and lumbar support, and those came standard.

Sure there’s a 360° view.  But all I see are the backs of other people’s minivans with bumper stickers telling me their kids are “Student of the week”, “Citizen of the month” or just plain better than mine.

There is no assistant.  Unsavory people who need baths and tell bad “Knock-Knock” jokes come and go as they please.  They see my office only as a way station where they can empty their backpacks, track sand, and spill snacks while I shuttle them from activity to activity – a never-ending stream of “meetings” where their attendance is mandatory and refreshments are served.

I can’t take calls.

Meetings are attended by a brain trust of three elementary school age children who, like so many executives I knew, are sure their ideas are the best.   And the only intellectual activity that occurs here is an incessant stream of questioning that bombards me while I’m driving.   “Mom? How was God born?” “Mom? If I ate a sparkle, would I die?” and, “Mom? If I accidentally killed my sister would you still love me?”   There are no “right” answers to these questions. But they do get me thinking…

Office supplies are sprinkled about uselessly.   Stray socks, Legos, dried out magic markers, note pads, tissues, broken pencils, a year old cereal bar, and a diaper bag filled with all of the stuff I would ever need should I ever be in an emergency with a six month old baby.  My youngest are twins…and they’ll be seven this year.

Every day is “casual Friday,” there is no filing system, and the noise level is about 20 decibels over the limit necessary to think straight.

Moreover, I’m in my office from morning till night.

My latest meeting is at the park and all of my co-workers are with me.  I forgot to pack snacks, so we’ll probably share the old cereal bar.  But it’s a small price to pay.

I’d rather climb a jungle gym than the corporate ladder any day.

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Sarah is a comedian, freelance writer, and the founder of "Mommy Lite" (www.MommyLiteOnline.com), a parenting humor site. Her work has appeared in Los Angeles Magazine, on More.com, ParentsAsk.com, DivineCaroline.com, Shine.com, and TheWellMom.com. She has appeared at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, The Hollywood Improv and Stand-Up New York. Sarah is the creator and co-author of "The Bridesmaid’s Guerrilla Handbook" (Berkley Books) and her second non-fiction humor book, "Got Milf? The Modern Mom's Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great and Rocking a Minivan," will be out in Spring 2011. Sarah lives in Los Angeles with her ten year old daughter, six year old boy/girl twins and three ridiculously overweight guinea pigs.

10 responses to “Office Space”

  1. Irene Zion says:

    Sarah,

    I do miss those days when the kids were little and the questions never, ever stopped coming.
    Oh, I do miss those days.
    Keep writing, it’s like old home week for me.

  2. Anon says:

    My daugher is a non-stop Inquisition machine and I admit it was getting a little exasperating, mostly because I was trying to concentrate on other things during her nightly barrages. She has the cute/annoying habit of announcing every inquiry – “Daddy, I have a ques tion.” And she says it like that, as if it’s two words. She pronounces it fine under every other circumstance except her preamble. Ques. Tion.

    I briefly responded with a slightly snide “Of course you do…” but I have since amended it to “Of course you do, darling, and I love it. What is it?” And I do, too.

    Sarah, my wife used to be a hard-charging EA. Sales, telco, IT, whatever – she was the right-hand (and sometimes both hands) for CEOs, CTOs and C-whatever-else-Os. Then, two years ago, she said, “Screw it.” She works harder now than then and for less pay but her bosses – five years and sixteen months – are slightly more mature and less demanding.

  3. Slade Ham says:

    I don’t have kids, but my niece tends to ask those kinds of questions. I just make my brother answer them though. It’s his kid.

    I don’t have an office either really. Ok, that’s kind of a lie. I sort of do, but not a real one. I’ve never had one now that I think about it. I find it weird that I can relate more to the kid part than the real world, office job part.

  4. Simon Smithson says:

    Wait…

    What happens if I eat a sparkle?

  5. Loved the article! I feel the same. My world also includes having to make sure the house is tidy at all times for the clients that feel like they can drop by unannounced, and a computer that doesn’t like to stay connected to the network so I’m always under my desk tinkering with wires 🙂 I guess we trade in one set of issues and responsibilities for another, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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