The Aquarium

11 08 2010

Many of my loyal readers might think that all I do here in Switzerland is fun stuff. Well, unfortunately that’s not the case – I do have a day job, in an office in which I spend about a third of my life. A place that sucks the creativity and lifeblood from my veins in exchange for a monthly paycheck. Ok, ok, in this economy, that’s worth a lot and I don’t mean to diminish its value. The pay IS good. Nevertheless, this wasn’t how the story was supposed to go. I was supposed to thrive in my chosen career. I was supposed to flourish in a nurturing, positive environment. I was supposed to be excited and happy about everything I did. I was supposed to be special and successful and always out doing something fulfilling. Something super-action-heroine-like.  I wasn’t supposed to end up in an aquarium.

As office buildings go, the one in which I am sequestered to for ten to twelve hours every day is actually pretty luxurious. I have spent time in much, much worse. It’s big enough to be called humane for creatures living in captivity, they feed and water us regularly and there’s a lot of daylight. The building is a new and very modern-looking high-rise, built to withstand a hurricane. Thankfully, it is air-conditioned, something not to be taken for granted here in Europe. And I, oh lucky one, hit the jackpot – a window spot on a high floor. Therefore, I actually have a view.

We call it the aquarium because there’s a lot of glass. Glass to the outside, and glass to the inside.  Opposite the oversized panorama window out (on a clear day I can see the mountains), I am also separated from the inside hallway by a wall of soundproof glass. If that were not enough, a ceiling-to-floor window makes up part of the wall that my (often absent) neighbor and I share. Management likes the implicit transparency these see-through separations represent and the observation/monitoring opportunities they afford. For the rest of us, it is, indeed, just another fishtank with no privacy.

For what it’s worth, my personal glass cube is on the hallway furthest from the kitchen and the bathrooms. Advantage: It’s mostly quiet and nobody comes down this way unless 1) they really need to 2) they get lost on their way to their next espresso 3) they intentionally set out on an adventure hike without a compass or other survival kit. (I’ve had to make a few calls to search & rescue about disoriented colleagues that were found, wide-eyed, wandering cluelessly through the halls.) Disadvantage: I’m so isolated back here that if I simply disappeared or keeled over right here at my desk or drowned, no one would notice for a long, long time.

Blub blub blub….

An Aquarium

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2 responses

11 08 2010
ironicmom

As I get ready to head back to work, I hear you. And I like my job. Can’t imagine going back if it sapped the creativity. But it seems like you’re taking some of that creativity back…at least through your blog. You go, super action heroine.

19 01 2011
Lufthansa1echoromeoholdingshort28. « Evelynn Starr

[…] few weeks ago, I moved offices within our aquarium. I slid down a floor and over to the opposite side of the building – airside. On my Facebook […]

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