Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Incredibly Non-Inspirational Workspace!

The Professor's latest post challenged us Forgers to show us our work desks after she described her rather fine working space with natural light, a huge radioactive mug (or something like that), and lots of inspirational messages to reignite the brain as well as the heart ("My Desk" Heather McGrail) while toiling away as a gifted content writer.

I have nothing of the sort at my cancer research desk!

My work space lacks quite a lot of home and non-worky stuff, and that stinks. I will make a greater effort to change this, but in the meantime, I give you MY Desk:

Ouch! Yeah, I know. But, it's kinda futuristic, don't you think, thanks to my boss's love for all things tech. Some good things and some problems here and there, for sure, so let's dive into this...

Goodly thing #1: I have instant access to anything electronic: data, journals, email, etc. for real-time problem solving and responding to issues.

Problem #1: I use a Mac (but I'd rather not use a Mac).

Goodly thing #2: I work independently 99% of the time.

Problem #2: I work independently 99% of the time. Frankly, I'm lonely, and my boss knows this, but he won't hire me my own Research Tech. Mean boss says I need to have a big bake sale for that! Well, how many cookies did he sell for that new Mac and giant Orwellian screen?

Problem #3: Orwellian screen. I am so used to working on this humongous screen that I hate working on anything smaller when I'm at home. Hmm... Hate is a strong word. Let me just say to my new laptop, "I'm just not that into you anymore."

Goodly thing #3: Our Office Manager keeps us well-stocked on all things office (batteries included!), especially notebooks, print paper, and post-its.

Problem #4: Post-its. Yeah. Rainbow colors are neat, but sadly, I know what most of those post-its say and mean. And they are all work-related and nothing inspirational and thoughtful like what Heather keeps. Well...I do doodle when I'm taking notes. Does that count?

Problem #5: I have only one digital folder with some non-worky stuff like story ideas and personal pics of my family and my gardens. When I do look through them or jot down ideas, I seem to look at the clock frequently as if to time myself; as if I am doing something wrong. SMH. Just the same...Problem 6:

Problem #6: 98% of what I surf on Chrome is work related. It's true. Guilt keeps me chained. But, ah!

Goodly thing #4: That's Heather's post on the screen (tee-hee!) And yes; I did look at the clock a few times while going to FFI and reading her blog.

Problem #7/Goodly thing #5: I do get some natural light (see below), but Riley Hospital blocks a lot of it. They can use it more than me, so everything's cool.

Problem #8 (NOT SHOWN): I rarely ever take breaks. I work through my lunches and drink Folgers from a thermos every couple of hours. Don't try to change me; I have been doing this for over ten years! Woe is me...

And here's my lab bench:

Imagine all the cutting edge discoveries I make here! Yes...Imagine!! I include my lab bench because I do as much work here as anywhere, although I can spend hours at the culture hood, too. I guess that's my third desk.

Interestingly, as I have grown with my science careers, I have learned that analyzing data takes as much time as actually generating the data, if not more.

I have a fourth desk: my cell phone. I use my cell phone everywhere I go. It's my calculator. It's my fact checker and molecular weight finder and last minute check on compound solubility and cancer pathways, as well as my tool to respond to lab manager stuff in real-time-panic-time. Don't worry: I am too OCD to touch my cell phone with gloves!

One final note regarding my cell phone is that I keep it with me to stay connected to home. Very important, because my family is my life. I have even left meetings when necessary...

Thus, regardless of which desk I am at, I seem to work in an android environment devoid of the human touch. Or, maybe 'work' itself is inspirational? Hmm... That may be true to some degree. Still! Would it kill me to hang up some words of wisdom? Or faded pics of vacations past? A monkey taking a picture of itself? A political cartoon of orange man Trump as one of the original Oompa Loompas? Geez...

So, there you have it. Randy's playpen. What does YOUR desk look like? And more importantly, how divorced are you from work and home or the world outside your window while you are in your working space? Any Trump Oompa Loompa cartoons taped to your monitor?

I'll sign off with a Goodly thought (Goodly thought #1): Someday, my desk will be where I write fiction for a living, while my bench is where I will be performing experiments during my fiction writing breaks. Hey! It's hard to thoroughly exorcise the lab bench from the brain!

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