Widgets Magazine

For a Tweener, Silence Can Be Frustrating

I have been setting up my home office for 5 months now. I painted the small room a vibrant yellow color. I bought a comfortable and oh so me area natural fiber rug that looks like a giraffe’s pelt but is neutral, not orange. I found beach wood accent tables for storage rather than ugly filing cabinets and messy open bookshelves. My desk is an old kitchen table that I fell in love with. The knick knacks and accessories scream “GINA’S ROOM” because they are cute animal prints, simple vases, an old (yes, older than I am) wooden stool, a plant and an awesome mini turtle lamp for accent lighting when I work at night. There are two large windows in the corner of the room that make it so bright during the day I never have need to turn on a light. While this room is still a work in progress, I have done everything to make my office somewhere I feel comfortable, productive and separate from the distractions of being at home (i.e. laundry in the dryer).
Aside from the aesthetics of the room, I have everything I need to work- the office supplies, phone, laptop, all in one, etc. FSR set me up with everything. And it’s not as if I am in my home office every day- I am here when I am not traveling on sales calls, campus visits or shows. Yet, something is missing. Something that really disturbs me at times (and sometimes doesn’t upset me at all). It took me a little while to figure out that what that something is, although I suspect anyone who ever worked from home has already guessed what I am going to “say.”
I am missing adult interaction (I say adult because I have been having long conversations with my dog, Rocco, and while his eyes are quite expressive, his silence can be frustrating). I don’t mean the type of interaction you get from phone calls and video conferences. I mean IN PERSON collaboration. For me, personal connection fuels my creativity and my productivity. Being able to discuss ideas and progress, and read excitement or disappointment from my colleagues’ faces; to banter about the effectiveness of solution A versus B and compromising on C or to simply dole out a quip about the local sports team. Clearly, collaboration is a key component of who I am, how I work and the paths I choose- professionally and personally. Taking my laptop to Starbucks is not a solution for me.
Being on the fringe of what is called GenX and GenY, I wasn’t brought up on technology and I didn’t have a smart phone until part way through my 20’s. I bought myself my first computer (a Gateway) as I was heading to college at 18. One digression- it’s strange and perhaps difficult to explain, but being in that hazy middle ground leaves me feeling like my peers and I don’t have a label that provides a succinct (and possibly partly untrue) “typical characteristics of the …generation.” There are so many confusing “experts” who claim GenX ends in ’77, or ’79, or ’81 or ’83. So what are we- those born between 1977 and 1982? Tweeners? Do we exhibit characteristics of both generations? Are we just that awesome and complex that we can’t be explained in a short list of 10 traits? Probably, and now, back on topic…My point with this whole “I wasn’t brought up on technology” is that my influencers weren’t and aren’t halfway across the world on skype. My influencers have always been those with whom I have able to have a cup of coffee with, or a glass of wine. Those with whom I have a conversation, can see their body language and intuit a reaction before the sentence is finished. Granted, there is technology out there that gives a very clear virtual rendering of the individual or group with which you are meeting- and people definitely see value in it (I bet the GenY-ers love it ;)) but for me it’s not the same.  And I am a hugger, so how to you hug a virtual colleague goodbye?
I am working through this one challenge about having a home office. I will continue to head into the FSR main office as often as I can. I make sure that I see some industry friends at least once a week for happy hour or dinner and a hug. My pup is becoming well versed in collaborative technologies, marketing, AV and gardening. I am sure as I get used to this new role, I will develop different strategies to get the support and interaction I need to fuel my success and satisfy the need for my overactive brain to “play” (i.e. challenge).
To be clear, it is really nice, after a week of traveling, to roll out of bed on a Friday morning, bare feet on my giraffe rug, hit the laptop, get on a conference call, and not shower until noon.  Shhhhh….don’t tell anyone.

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  1. Bradford Benn

    It is not just people who work at home, my office is on the end of a dead end hall. Some days I see three people and it is just a hello in the process, the receptionist, one of admin’s who has an office on the hallway to my hallway, and my neighbor on the dead end hall.

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    Anthony Frampton on

    I am such a tweener I have no idea what is the big deal is with all this social media crap I have no idea what I am posting

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