When I quit my prior law firm to move onto big-time corporate town, I left behind a quaint, comfortable office that I shared with another paralegal. Sure, it wasn’t ideal. I would have killed for my own office but I never made a fuss. Plus, my officemate was quiet and nice so I didn’t have much to complain about in the first place.
On the first day of my new job, I dreamed of my new office. I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like. Did I imagine a corner office with a view of the Charleston Harbor? Of course not. Those are reserved for attorneys charging $1,000/hour. All I wanted was a small little closet to call my own.
When I was shown to my corner of the large office building, it was beyond difficult to hide my disappointment. I was in a small cubicle area that I shared with eight law clerks. Though my back faced a window (which is a rare commodity in the building), it was still a cubicle.
I told myself that I was essentially starting from the ground up again. At my old firm, I wasn’t handed an office on my first day. I had to earn it. I knew I would have to do the same thing here.
So I smiled and set up shop in my new cubicle.
The good news was that I was told my cubicle should be temporary. I held onto that promise with all my might.
A year passed.
I gave up. I tied my fate to that two-walled desk and knew that we were stuck together forever.
Six more months passed. Out of the blue, HR lady came to see me. I had heard that a big move was coming. An entire floor was being shifted around so we could rent out some of our space. I prayed this was it. Maybe I would finally get my beloved office that I had dreamed about for years.
She told me my new room number.
The smile that was plastered on my face immediately disappeared. I didn’t even have to look at the building map to know where I was moving. The ‘B’ said it all.
I was moving to another cubicle.
She walked me through the office to show me my new desk. I didn’t even try to hide the scowl from my face. We arrived at 343B and all it’s glory. Not only would I be losing the one good thing about my old desk (the window) but my new desk was in a louder and less private part of the floor. I was worse off than I was before.
It was harder to smile this time around. For almost two years, I had been told that my work was stellar; that I was a wonderful contributor to the firm. I had just been elected to an employee relations committee. I was making waves.
Or so I thought.
I know there are bigger things to worry about. I should be happy I even have a job, right?
However, I spend over 40% of my waking hours in this cubicle. I spent thousands of dollars on school to get me where I am today. I wish I could not be pissed about it. I wish I could tell myself that this doesn’t feel like a slap in the face to all the work I’ve done here over the past two years.
But I can’t. Frankly, I’ve never felt less appreciated than I do in this moment.
How can I continue to enjoy what I do, and do it well, when none of it seems to matter?
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