31 March 2008

Everyone Needs Motivation

In 1984, when I entered the workforce as a professional (You now have a career! Feel free to panic!), I spent a couple years working for a company that no longer exists.

My supervisor, at the time, was a pleasant but not very interesting fellow. The main thing I remember about him was he ate Tums like jelly beans. He was constantly popping Tums. Maybe this was because he worked for a real ass of a guy.

I won't use the ass' real name... let's just call him, um, Flank. I had much less interaction with Flank than the Tum-popper but once in a while I had to deal with Flank. I was smart enough, even as a naive young thing, to stay away from Flank whenever possible. It was heavily rumored that Flank, who was married, was also sleeping with the secretary. And I'm told that Flank was eventually brought up on charges for a variety of reasons. (Harassment, discrimination, embezzlement? Who remembers now. All plausible.) But, aside from that, Flank spent a lot of time showing people what a big man he was.

Flank's prized possession was his Porsche and he would talk about it at every opportunity. He was very clear about the difference between a 911 and a 944 and which one was a sports car and which one was just a wanker's version of a sports car. In Flank's office, behind Flank's desk, there was work-related stuff hanging on the wall so when you were facing Flank, he was framed by work. On the opposite wall, the one Flank faced, was a huge, framed picture of a Porsche.

Flank, ass or not, was very clear about what motivated him. He had to be at work but he chose what his work view encompassed. Well, up until they hauled his ass off to jail, anyway.

Much as I do not emulate Flank in general, his approach to office decoration is one I've adopted. With each year and each office change, I have added more and more of what motivates me to my office view. I've no interest in Porsches but I now have three walls with tropical themes. This includes: a tropical island calendar; a half-dozen tropical beach postcards of places we've traveled; a blue sarong with fish on it that I use as a wall hanging; an impressionistic painting of a beach that I did which, amazingly, got accepted into a juried art show years ago; and, opposite my desk, a matted photo of a gorgeous Belize beach scene. The fourth wall, has a framed fractal a friend did that's pretty amazing, and, technically, sort of work-related. There wasn't much room for more due to the layout of this particular office.

This week, I move offices again. This is an unwritten rule of government: you must shift offices every few years whether you shift positions or not. I can't tell you how many times I've moved offices. I am moving one office down. Hey, your tax payer's dollars at work. Don't look at me, it wasn't my idea.

The new office is marginally bigger. And the fourth wall is more viable for artistic expression than that of my current space. Hmmmm... is this a sign that I should go even more tropical? Where's that framed needlepoint I did when I was 11 of the jungle parrots? Or perhaps something monkey-related. That'd liven things up. I guess a full-up Tiki bar with lime dacquiri fixins would be too much? Sighhhh.

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