23 August 2012 was a day I purposely noted on my calendar, for it was to mark the day I got banished to the furthest corner of my office. I had been asked to move my workstation for the third time in 8 months and I was getting fed up with the hassle of moving my stuff and acclimatising to a new micro environment. Again. When I first moved to the workstation where I have been for the past 10 months, I thought management was trying to punish me by banishing me to the coldest and most isolated corner of the entire office, removed from my co-workers and amongst colleagues from other divisions.
Outwardly, I spent the earlier days lamenting about the isolation and freezing air conditioned temperatures when visiting co-workers envied me for the peace and quiet my current workstation offered. I had to, for it is one of the most isolated and peaceful stations in the entire office, away from the buzz and commotion of the open-concept office.
Gradually the casual visits from colleagues stopped. Nobody drops by anymore except to discuss work matters. True isolation sets in. I became the Lone Ranger in the team, cut off from gossip, updates and human interaction. I reduced the frequency of lunches with co-workers, stocking up on ‘hamster food’ (read: cereals and nuts) or packing lunches to eat at my desk. This is partly because everybody has gone by the time I drop by their stations. Simple fact of life – out of sight, out of mind. And also partly because the colleagues I used to have lunches with have moved on with their careers.
In the beginning, I felt lonely and unwanted in the team. Eventually, I decided it was okay. Solitude comes naturally for me and I embraced it.
For the past 3 months or so, the vacant station opposite mine has been occupied with a temporary staff, a sweet young lady who has just finished her ‘A’ levels and is waiting to enter the university. Quiet by nature, she is totally unobtrusive, and the both of us often spent the entire day without speaking to each other, engrossed in our own work, typing away furiously at our keyboards. Occasionally, we shared sweets and treats.
All too soon, today is the last day at work for her as she prepares to start school in August. She gave me a big bar of Loacker wafers, because she said I seldom go out for lunch and the wafers will carry me through the day. She also added a sweet little note in her neat handwriting, and what she wrote touched my heart:
“I really enjoyed listening to your busy keyboard typing away… I will not hope that there will be somebody coming in to sit with you because solitude is also a type of enjoyment! I noticed that the sea seems very blue and the clouds very fluffy sometimes, do keep a lookout!”
You are right, WT, I will take your advice and look out the window more often! All the best for your studies and future endeavours! You have a chance at shaping your future, live your dreams!
For the solitude, peace and wonderful scenery at work, I count my blessings daily. Till the day I will be asked to relocate again…
Clashes of blue, green white and everything else… Salute the beauty!