What Planet Is This?

I got a text from a former client (and current friend) last week, alerting me she was standing outside my new office.

(The circumstances are more boring than relevant, so I’ll spare you the “why,” but nevertheless, there she was.)

No better time than the present, I offered her the first tour of my new gig’s headquarters, at a local hotspot that’s set to open restaurants and shops over the next few months. It’s hard to truly capture the vibe of this office without sounding like I’m bragging about being here, but truly, I’m still incredulously taking it all in. As my friend said, “You hear about offices like this existing, but you don’t often see them in practice.”

Let me back up.

I can work in most environments. My first job crammed me in between a very loud and aggressive boss, my coworker, and a kitchen area… in a tiny hallway. We all basically shared one long desk.

I had my own office (with a door!) for a brief, glorious period of my existence, although realistically, I knew that couldn’t last.

However, my current office is something I’ve never experienced before. It’s the kind of expansive, social experiment-type of dwelling that you’d more often see at Google, and even though I’m a noted dissenter of open office environments, this one seems pretty cool. I hope to post pictures soon.

First, the desks are small and very open – not a lot of privacy, but catering to conversation across the monitors. However, there’s lots of breakout space as well. Hate a sedentary lifestyle? They’ll get you a standing desk, or you can use the treadmill or bike stations with their own computer docks. Prefer a couch or a room enclosed in glass? Maybe a restaurant-style booth or a stool at a free-standing table? They’ve got those, too. If you want to get really crazy, ask your meeting-mate to join you for an intimate conversation on a swinging bench chair overlooking North Avenue. And if you need to refuel on sleep at lunchtime, grab a nap pod. YES, A NAP POD.

This place has bike storage, a game room, fitness classes, and a fridge full of booze and soda. There are golf holes, ping pong tables, and chess boards peppered around the space. We’re right off the Beltline and I’ll soon be able to bike to work in 15 minutes. We get FREE SNACKS. FREE. SNACKS.

Progressive isn’t even the word to use for this space – it’s beyond that. And the culture they’ve created here, surprisingly, isn’t one of entitled or spoiled employees; it seems to be one of appreciation and collaboration. People don’t take advantage of the flexibility they are given because they recognize they’re being entrusted with something precious. And I guess that’s why companies like Google work (pun gently intended).

I still have so much to learn, and I’m eagerly pushing to contribute probably earlier than I should. I want to earn my keep here and revel in the newness of this incredible opportunity I’ve jumped into. And I want to enjoy the spoils of being here in a partial effort to stop my heart from hurting as much as it does when I think about what I’ve left behind.

But I see brightness in the future and bikes along the Beltline, so I’m hoping this is part of the upswing I needed in life.

I guess only time will tell.

Until then, I’ll see you in the glass enclosure near the engineers.

But don’t call me, because I don’t have a phone.

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