Office Space

This is my last week of work and so I thought in honor of that bittersweet ending, I would take you on a tour of my little office.  Its a pretty small office so the tour won’t take long.  Please keep your arms and legs inside the tour bus at all times.  Thank you for your cooperation.

This is my desk.

See those keys sitting there?  Those are the keys that I lock in my office at least once a week.  And then I have to call the one other person who has the master for my office to come let me in.  And sometimes, she’s not on campus and so I have to sit in the lobby and read the newspaper until she gets to work.  Seriously.  Once a week.

And that lamp on the corner?  The cord hangs off the back of my desk and I always catch the cord and knock the lamp on the floor.  And every time the lampshade pops off and the light bulb breaks.  I kept thinking that I should move that lamp, but its been three years and there it sits.

This is my pen holder.  It is actually a big candle holder from Halloween.  But it holds a LOT of pens and supplies and so I put it on my desk and turned it into a pen holder.  Voila!

This is my computer.  Where all the magic happens.  And those are my post-it notes where I keep important things such as the phone number to the deli up the street.  See that little pink box?   That is a cute little going away gift from one of our faculty.  Inside are cake bites.  I haven’t unwrapped them yet to find out what cake bites actually are because they are wrapped in beautiful gold paper and I don’t want to open them.

And underneath that expense report on my computer screen is a picture of Bean Man in a diaper, fat and giggly.  Sometimes in the middle of a particularly busy workday, I’ll minimize everything on my computer screen and just take a peek at Bean’s belly.  It makes me smile.

This is the other corner of my desk.  That’s my inbox on the top.  Its where I kept anything I was working on.  Most of the time, my desk is fairly clean.  I don’t work well surrounded by paper and so I like my space to be as clear as possible.  That means that sometimes it looks like I have nothing going on.  But in reality, there were a lot of things happening, they were just all piled in that inbox until I could get to them.

And see that notepad under that memo sitting there?  That is my brain.  Seriously.  Anywhere I go during my workday, I have that notepad with me.  Its where I write EVERYTHING.  Between you and me, I have a really bad memory.  Really, really bad.  If I don’t write it on that notepad, chances are I’m not going to remember it.

This is the top drawer in my desk.  It holds anything I use on a daily basis.  Mostly, that’s post-it notes of all sizes.  I love them.  I couldn’t live without them.  I need them.  Also, that staple remover?  I use that quite often because I like to staple things and my boss likes to paper clip things.  So, I staple things until I have to give them to him and then I pull the staples out and throw a paper clip on them.  Weird?  Sure.  But it worked and we were both happy.

And see that gray calculator?  I use it to do simple math.  Math that I really should be able to do myself.  Math like if I have an invoice for $190 and $20 of that is deductible, how much is the balance?

(crickets, crickets, crickets)

Hang on, let me get my calculator.

This is the drawer below that other drawer and its where I hoard office supplies.  And keys.  I have a ton of keys that I have inherited over the past three years.  Some of them – most of them – I don’t even know what they go to.  I also randomly hoard highlighters.  Which is weird because I don’t really use a lot of highlighters.  And note cards.  I bet I’ve used four note cards in my entire time in this job and yet I have, like, twelve packs of them in this drawer.

But this drawer is the mother load.  This is my junk drawer with personal stuff in it.

Like these Life Saver mints, which I always forget that I have.  But boy does it make my day when I remember they are in there!

And these instant oatmeal packets. Just add a little hot water from the water cooler and on a cold morning, you’re suddenly warm and toasty!

And these are my cough drops.  Without them, I would sit in meetings and cough until I had properly infected every person in the room.  Thanks to Bean Bean, I have become much more prone to sickness this year (that’s what you get when you birth a carrier monkey) and so I have just accepted my fate as one of those people who always smell like menthol.

And, of course, there are the sanitizing wipes.  (See the previously reference carrier monkey)

This is my family wall under my window.  I have two pictures of Bean Man.  See that taller picture of him in the back?  That’s his fall school picture.  Isn’t that funny???  They took school pictures in his daycare.  If you look closely, you can see the red rim around his lips where they yanked the binky out of his mouth right before they took the picture.  I love that.  And there’s a picture of me and Chris, a picture of Lucy Goosey on a beach, feeling the wind in her ears.  And then there is this…

My BFF Emily made this for me a year or two ago.  Its a salt shaker for happy thoughts.  You just sprinkle them all over when you’re having a bad day.  She got all crafty one Saturday and made this for me and I just love it.  Who knew a little salt shaker, a little ribbon, and a couple sequins could brighten your day?  Thanks, Em!

This is the art that I picked for my office in the first month or two.  I work at a music school and I know NOTHING about music, so I was really intimidated about picking art for my walls.  When I found these prints, I thought they were perfect.  My abstract style, but in the right area.  And I loved that they had jazz instruments because I am a big fan of jazz.  But – guess what!  WE DON’T HAVE A JAZZ PROGRAM AT OUR SCHOOL.  So, here I am with jazz art on my walls and that is the one area we don’t instruct in.  Perfect.

Along those same lines, one time in the first few months in my job, I was working with a group of staff on a concert that we were planning.  Someone had the music selections listed on a piece of paper.  Next to one of the sheets of music was the name of the composer, “Anon.”  So, I snickered and said to the group, “Anon?  What?  Is that person too good for a first and last name?  Like Madonna?  Or Meatloaf?”

“No,” said one of my co-workers.  “That stands for Anonymous.”

Sometimes I really wonder how I got this job and then how I survived in it!

This is probably my favorite part of my office.  This is the poster from Yale’s 300th anniversary.  It is a photograph taken of the bell tower on Yale’s campus.  Students managed to hang a handmade flag of a smiley face on the tower.  And it just so happened that streamers from the celebration drifted up to the bell tower this clear, fall afternoon and blew in the breeze just as the picture was taken.  I think it is such a wonderful dichotomy:  the old and the young, the traditional and the spontaneous.  I love this picture.

So, that’s my office.  That is my office.  That was my office.  That will be my office until Friday.  And then I will box it all up and have it to take with me to my next professional home.  And when I unpack these little trinkets and doodads, I’ll think about this office and the people who came and went through my office door every day and I’ll smile and remember how truly lucky I was to work at such a wonderful institution.

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20 Thoughts to “Office Space”

  1. I love your office – I think peaking inside one’s personal space shows show much character and reveals so much about the person. Now, my workspace is about 600 times more cluttered than yours, so I don’t know what the heck that says about me.

  2. I’m so glad someone else has a obsession with post its! I work for a University too, so its kind of fun to see what offices are like on other campuses. Good luck on your last day!

  3. Amy

    Notepads are ESSENTIAL to life! With all of the crazy thoughts that bounce around my head during the day, I have to have a catch-all or I’ll forget them. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

    Katie, I really hope you find a job that you enjoy in Florida. Maybe soon, you’ll be writing another Office Space post! 🙂

  4. September

    I worked as a project accountant/property manager for a real estate developer; I “retired” when my daughter was one and when cleaning out my office I was horrified to gather up–from all the nooks and crannies–a grand total of 59 keys. Keys that I had no idea where they came from, what they were for (and I was secretly the most horrified how many of them had “master, do not copy” stamped into them).

  5. Ella

    Thanks for the tour! Your desk is so tidy 🙂

  6. Jessica W

    Must be a higher education trait. I too work for a University and collect Post-Its. I about threw a tantrum during a previous fiscal crisis when my boss tried to deem them “non-essential supplies.” She’s seen the error of her ways and that hasn’t happened since, despite the fact we have even less money now!

    Your office is beautiful, I envy it! I work in a academic department, primarily with graduate programs, and we’re an open office. What I wouldn’t give to have a door to close for just a couple hours a day to work! And I love the personal touches you have added, from the pictures to the pen cup!

  7. colleen

    HI Katie,

    Best of luck on your new journey! Are you nervous about job hunting in Orlando (if you plan on working)? Will you give them your blog website on your resume? Or attempt to keep it from them? Best of luck to you and your family! I hope Lucy handles the change well. She seems to be most stubborn. 🙂


  8. maureen

    A comment about index cards: I use them for a certain task at my job and found they are the PERFECT size for making lists. Because I like to make a lot of lists, I use them all the time. They’re a good size to stash in your pocket and they’re stiff and crisp and it makes it seem like you’ve written an Official To-Do List.

  9. kk

    Your office is so classy and clean too.
    I know about the halls too. i have a easily irritated throat and halls are my life cause once i cough, it doesn’t go away.

  10. Shana

    It’s so weird seeing your office! Every time I walk to my husband’s building at the end of the day (carpool!) I walk past the School of Music and think of you. It will be sad to know you are gone 🙂

  11. I have a notepad ‘brain’ too! I’d be completely useless without it. And I’m totally stealing the ‘happy thoughts’ shaker idea… that is so cute!

    Good luck with the move and best wishes in Florida!

  12. Tressa

    I love your office! Thanks for taking us there. I look forward to seeing where your new job will be…..we will stay tuned!
    I’m alot like you, I have to have clutter free and organization on my desk to work. Doesn’t mean I’m not busy, there is ALWAYS work to be done!

    Thinking alot about you and your family as you prepare for the move.

  13. I love post its too!! And I have a horrible memory, but thats why I love post its so much to write all my ‘to do lists’ on them. I currently have 17 random post on my desk at work. Yes, I’m reading this while at work. 🙂

  14. Laura

    Our desks are scarily similar! I really enjoy the Happy Thoughts shaker. I like it so much I wish I had a BFF who would make me one. Hee hee, maybe I’ll make one for myself!

  15. Maybe cake bites are just small cake balls. Either way I bet they are yummy.

  16. Post its save my professional life at least once a day! I love mine, too!
    Love love love the salt shaker for happy thoughts! What a great idea!

  17. I love the Happy Thoughts shaker. I might just have to make one of those myself 🙂

  18. Lee Ann

    Katie – Ha, ha! I think the desk, the contents of its drawers, and even the lamp must be prerequistes of higher ed offices. For years, I was the alumnae director for my alma mater (and yes, it’s spelled “alumnae” where I worked!), and I swear, my desk, and the drawers, looked EXACTLY the same! And the lamp. OMG, it’s the same lamp. Wishing you all the best on your next adventure in life. Godspeed.

  19. I remember when I brought my husband up to work one day to help me pack my desk the Sunday before my last day at that job. All was well and good until he opened my “snack drawer.” He just looked at me and said “Is this for real?” Those mac and cheese cup things, candy, granola, etc. Of all the crap we had to pack up, I think that was the most! I am also a supplies-a-holic. I drool in Office Depot.

  20. The arrangement of your office space is very attractive and i like it very well

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