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commutes and politics - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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commutes and politics [Nov. 10th, 2006|08:30 pm]
Lindsey Kuper
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Two weeks ago, I went on a hastily arranged business trip to New York to attend a large meeting and meet a bunch of my co-workers in person for the first time. I was nervous. It had been a year since I'd worked in an actual office. I hadn't been to a hair salon in six months. My only office-appropriate shoes were still in a box from when I moved to Portland -- why wouldn't they be? And since I've lost weight, none of my nice clothes fit anymore, not that they ever really fit right in the first place.

There wasn't enough time to fix the clothes thing, but I did unpack the shoes, and the day before I left, I went to get my hair cut. I dig it! It's chin-length in the front, angled on the sides, short and stack-y in the back. As soon as I got home from the salon, my roommate exclaimed, "That's perfect! That's just what you should have had all along," which seemed slightly backhanded, but it made me happy because it reminded me of what glenn mcdonald puts at the top of his resume.

They sold me some fancy-schmancy <airquotes>product</airquotes> to put in my hair. At the airport, trying to take it through security earned me disapproving looks and a trip right back to the ticket counter to check my single bag. I'll never learn. (I guess it's not so unreasonable, though. I mean, how often do you see people who look like they've been attacked by styling products? All the time! Especially on planes! They're just trying to watch out for us.)

I had a great time in New York. Rosemary purebugbeauty and Eddie eachcomingnight took me out for vodka pizza, to the Strand, and on the Eddie-and-Rosemary Manhattan Architectural Innuendo Walking Tour. My college band mates Joe and J.P. and I bonded over the fact that we've each had a few failed band attempts since leaving school. (We didn't know what we had when we were together, man.) And I also had a sort of epiphany about work while I was there, one that took me by surprise. I realized that I miss working in an office.

I know that some of my friends think I'm incredibly lucky, doing this work-from-home thing, and I think I'm lucky too, and I agree that a lot of things about it are great, but I'm starting to think that I might be happier and get more done if I were around other people more. It's really strange to feel this way. A month ago, I wholeheartedly agreed with Jason Calacanis when he said, "I think offices are good at creating two things: commutes and politics." But, see, here's the thing: when you're on your own, your only motivator is the desire to do good work for its own sake, or for yourself, and that can only take you so far. There are days when that isn't enough. Meeting my smart, funny, interesting co-workers face-to-face made me want to do a good job, not just for me, but for them and for us.

Anyway, my boss tells me that these trips might become a lot more frequent in the near future. I guess I need to get better at this airport thing.

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Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-11 08:23 am (UTC)
The roommate is correct about the haircut. I meant to compliment you on it last weekend, but didn't get the opportunity. - me@matthewgifford.com
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-11-12 04:58 am (UTC)
Thanks! It's funny that none of my friends saw it until last weekend. When I came back from NYC, I went to a Halloween party where I was wearing a costume that covered my head. Then, when Wednesday Night Dinner Club rolled around, eliciel insisted that we wear our costumes for that, too, so nobody saw it that day, either. She saw it for the first time on the same day you did.
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2006-11-11 10:09 pm (UTC)
Pictures of the haircut?

Secondly, you may be interested in this: Cubespace is non-dedicated office space for people and businesses who can't afford a place of their own. It's a new start-up designed by Reedies and linettasky works there. If you don't want to pay the $250 a month for a membership, or if your business won't pay it for you, you can pay $10/hour or $40/day for a "cube" of your own. And if you decide to check it out, do let me know what you think of it, because I've never been there.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-11-12 04:51 am (UTC)
I don't have a camera, but if someone takes some pictures, I'll be happy to share them.

Cubespace sounds swell! The point isn't so much that I miss the office itself, though, as that I miss the human-contact aspect of work. My boss and a few other folks are here in Portland, and we do meet in person from time to time, but these days I tend to work more closely with the NYC folks, which is why they want me making all these trips.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-12 09:18 am (UTC)
I guess I'll just have to stop by tomorrow to snap a few. - me@matthewgifford.com
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-13 10:57 pm (UTC)

left the vacuum seal open, so I've been officespaced

You have my sympathies. I hated my job on a daily basis, and to be honest, the only reason I ever went in was because if I hadn't, I'd have never been able to see a goodly number of the folks I cared about interacting with on a day-to-day basis. Much like high school, I suppose: you go in to go to lunch, not because you actually expect to get anything accomplished.

Graduate school turns this paradigm on its head: once again, I know little to nothing about my classmates - but a lot about the folks I slack around with afterwards.

- Derksen (http://www.chthonian.org/blog)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-11-13 11:43 pm (UTC)

Re: left the vacuum seal open, so I've been officespaced

Man, I hated lunch. The only part of high school I really enjoyed was singing and playing music.
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