I’ve always been a bit superstitious thanks to a mother who taught me to throw salt over my shoulder if I spilled some, to never walk under a ladder and to make the sign of the cross if a black cat crossed my path. I’ve begun each Friday the 13th with a bit of apprehension, but Friday the 13th of March 2020 even more so. We had received word from our Home Office in Chicago that we’d be working from our own home offices indefinitely. Little did I realize as I packed up a Bankers Box full of files, notes and supplies a year later I’d still be working out of that same box.
I hugged my co-workers goodbye (we were still hugging back then), bid an ironic “See ya soon” to the security guard at the front desk and drove away excited for the opportunity to work remotely. As my car creeped up I-71N, I was downright giddy over not having to make the 52 mile round-trip commute from Loveland to downtown each day. No more relying on Waze for the lesser of the evils during rush hour traffic! I’d be saving about $25 week on medium-grade unleaded, not to mention the wear and tear on my precious Honda CRV! Life was good.
The next morning as I rolled out of bed and trudged upstairs to the antique drawing table that served as my makeshift desk, I relished in my new “casual Friday” attire which was now appropriate for any day of the week. I relinquished any pair of pants that buttoned, all skirts and heeled shoes to the back of my closet. By the end of the second week, I never even opened the closet door at all…everything I needed came out of my pajama drawer.
Makeup was reserved for special occasions like all-staff Zoom meetings or the weekly trip to Kroger.
Now a year later, I find myself getting out my little black dress, Swarovski crystal earrings and glittery silver sandals to go to the dentist. I miss getting dressed, not to mention dressed up!
I miss my co-workers, too.
They’ve all been replaced by my personal assistant – Maddy the cat. She’s a lousy employee, but very good company.
She can be rude and obnoxious during online meetings.
Once I had requested that she “think outside the box” for an upcoming project and she managed to corner a box turtle in the family room.
She’s lucky I haven’t turned her into HR for inappropriate touching (those claws are sharp).
Last month she begged for a raise – eight Temptation treats instead of six – doesn’t she realize we are in the midst of budget cuts?!?!
Then last week when I confronted her about taking a cat nap on company time, she blatantly laughed at me!
And don’t get me started on her typing skills…
When we do finally go back to the office – if we do finally go back to the office – things will be very different. The faces will be different and far less furry.
Over the past 12 months, one co-worker was laid off. Three have since found jobs elsewhere. Another’s husband was transferred out of state so she will be working remotely indefinitely. My good buddy, Jeff, retired at the end of last year. That one bothered me the most. We’d worked together for years. The guy loved sweets and we couldn’t even celebrate him with a cake. I mailed him a nice Hallmark card with a Servatii’s gift certificate and told him to buy his own damn cake. Truth be known, I’m a bit envious of his retirement. Or at least I was. After a year of working from home, I realize maybe I’m not really cut out to ever retire. I enjoy the camaraderie of a good old-fashioned office setting.
Therefore, I’ll look forward to my return to Linn Street where I can have a two way conversation that doesn’t involve a screen and when my boss asks me to “clean up the mess”, it has nothing to do with my office mates litter box.