JERRY ZEZIMA The rise and fall of my new desk
If you were to call me at work, which means you’d be operating under the delusion that I was actually working, you would hear this recording:
“Hi, this is Jerry Zezima. I’m either away from my desk or at my desk but fast asleep. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you. BEEP!”
Now I may have to change the recording because my office is getting new workstations (a fancy term for desks) that allow employees to work standing up.
The problem is that unless you’re a horse (or, in my case, the back end of one), it’s impossible to sleep standing up.
So I spoke with the director of engineering services, Steve Zimmerman, who is overseeing the transition.
“I won’t stand for this!” I told him.
“You’ll still have a chair, so maybe you could go on a sit-down strike,” suggested Steve, whose office features a wraparound desk so cluttered that it could well contain the remains of Jimmy Hoffa.
There’s also a sign that reads: “Occupancy by more than 229 persons is dangerous and unlawful.”
“I don’t think that many people could fit in here, so I won’t get arrested,” said Steve, adding that he’s the same way at home.
“I have a lot of clutter,” he said. “My wife is a neat freak. If you’re not moving, she’ll vacuum you.”
“It’s like that in my house, too,” I noted. “But my desk here is very neat. That’s because I don’t do anything.”
“I’ve noticed,” said Steve.
“What I’ve noticed,” I countered, “is that the workstations have two computer screens. Does that mean I would have to do twice as much work?
And will the company double my salary?”
“It would be nice,” Steve said, “if you did any work at all. As for your salary, you’re lucky you get paid.”
“I guess you’re right,” I replied. “The extra money would only put me in a higher tax bracket. At the very least, it would weigh down my pants.”
“Still, I think you’ll like the sit-stand desks,” Steve said. “A lot of people work standing up these days because it’s healthier, although if you stand too long, your feet will get tired.”
“What if you sit too long?” I wondered.
“Don’t even go there,” Steve said.
“I do like the choice of chairs,” I acknowledged. “My favorite is like a rocking chair. I would use it to practice for my old age, which is rapidly approaching.”
“What about the desks?” Steve asked.
“My main complaint is that there isn’t room for a fully stocked bar,” I replied.
“I need one myself because you’re driving me to drink,” said Steve, adding that there would be room for a liquor cabinet under the desk.
“You could even put a crock pot under there.”
“Most of what I say is a crock,” I told Steve, who did not disagree.
Instead, he took me to see the desk of administrative assistant Sarah Gukelberger, who has already been working at a prototype workstation.
“It’s wonderful,” she said. “I have a herniated disc, so it feels good when I stand up. And you can’t fall asleep, which would get you in trouble.”
Steve nodded and said to me, “These desks force you to be productive.”
“Why should I start now?” I said.
“Better late than never,” Steve responded.
Sarah pressed a button to show me how the desk can rise and go back down depending on whether you want to stand or sit.
“I suppose,” Steve said, “you could lower the desk and use that comfortable rocking chair if you wanted to take a nap.”
“I think I’m going to like these new workstations,” I said. “And I won’t even have to change my phone message.”
Stamford native Jerry Zezima’s fourth book, “Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures,” is on Amazon. Read more columns at jerryzezima.blogspot.com.