Saturday, November 12, 2011

My First Office

I thought I was grown up when I gave up my stuffed animals, circa 1993.

Then I thought I was grown up when I traded in my mood rings and hemp necklaces for blazers and pencil skirts.  Or when I started to refer to males my age or older as "men" instead of "boys" or "guys."  Or the first time I tasted a dessert and rejected it for being "too rich."

But now I know I'm grown up because I have an OFFICE!!

My office mate is in Africa right now and I've blotted out her name for privacy.

Roll your eyes all you want, grasshoppers, but this is BIG news for me, because it's my first office ever.  Yes, I worked full time in a lot of different indoor settings throughout my 20s, but I never had an office or a desk or a work space set aside specifically for me. 

Oh, but now!  Now I have a locking door, and a key, and two real filing cabinets to use, and a real desk with drawers to put stuff in.  Sometimes, when no one's looking, I sit at this desk and open and close the drawers just because I can.  But when I'm not doing that, I'm working and being so much more productive than I was when I was working from home.  It's like I have a real job now, where I get paid to think hard thoughts and solve difficult problems, and I pack a lunch (the silver suitcase there) and go to work, and then when I come home, I'm really home and not working anymore for that day.  I like this distinction, because a) my textbooks and papers are no longer taking over my apartment, and b) when I'm home, that's my personal time and I don't feel guilty for writing on my blog or chatting on the phone with family and friends or doing other things I enjoy.  I love my office!  I like being there, I like how it's easier to focus there, and I like coming home, too.  I like it all. 

So I guess I'm all grown up now, for realz.  It's about fucking time.

Hey, speaking of fucking...

At the beginning of this semester, we first-year grad students were required to attend a "professionalism workshop," in which we were strongly reminded to clean up our Internet presence and cultivate a nice, sterile, professional image.  For some students, this meant removing those last few drunken pictures from Facebook, but for me, it will likely mean shutting down this blog for all the cussing and "inappropriate" material it contains.  Did you know that if you go up to the search bar at the top left of this page, and you type in the word "fucking," it'll bring up the hundred or so posts in which I have said "fucking"?

Yeah, it's kinda hilarious, but apparently it won't bolster my professional image.   

You might be asking, "Well, didn't you think of that before, when you first started posting all this R-rated shit on your blog?" 

And I might reply, "No, actually I didn't.  I never expected to be a professional anything.  I never thought I'd get into grad school or apply for huge NSF grants or that I'd ever be employed above minimum wage."

So this day of removing all the controversial (read: interesting) parts of my Internet presence is on the horizon.  This day of taking down my writings and ripping up one of the avenues of communication I enjoy the most, and replacing it with nice, boring, socially acceptable blurbs.  If I don't take it down on my own, I'm sure that eventually someone--probably my advisor or the department chair or something--will get wind of it and send me a snarky memo about not representing the institution well, and then I'll feel all resentful and depressed/repressed/suppressed/oppressed.  And then I might become one of those academics who's an alcoholic or a sex fiend.  Although that's hard to imagine, since I already don't smoke, drink, do drugs, gamble, watch TV, or sleep around (anymore).  Writing and cussing and blaspheming are the only satisfying releases I have left. 

But if I want to keep my office, I guess I've have to surrender those as well.

Yes, surrendering the last joy of my youth.  Imagine how grown up I will be then.