I’ve been pretty fortunate over the years to not only maintain gainful employment, but also to do that work in some pretty glamorous settings.
As I sit at my desk and figure out which project is going to get my attention today, I think back to other desks, and other times, where I did have that valued, semi-precious real estate–the corner office. And then there were the less sought after locations, ones that wouldn’t necessarily receive a top ranking from Zillow or Trulia for their 5-star amenities.
I put in time as a prairie dog in the cubicle farms, popping my head up to see if the boss was coming my way. That wasn’t awful, but it is a strange sociological experiment to see how “normal” working people revert to Lord of the Flies and stake claim to their cubbys, and personal space.
Speaking of personal space, nothing says welcome like concertina wire, mirrored windows and electronically locked doors of one of my offices over the years. Room for one?
It seems that a significant portion of my time, my office was in holding cells, jail visiting rooms, a cell front interview, or at some offender’s home. Sitting on a house waiting for your probationer to show up always put you in the best of neighborhoods.
Then, for a time, I had an office with a view–of a couple of prison gun towers. Active prison gun towers.
Which meant my view would soon change to a yard full of inmates after an incident. And hours of unclothed body searches, looking for weapons, injuries and contraband. My “office” afforded me and my fellow correctional staff an informal internship into proctology. A view that still haunts me to this day…
Later, my office was a converted shower on the end of a prison cell block. There is a certain level of noise from 1,000 men crammed into a cavernous granite shell. It’s hard to describe, but a constant drone and clatter from a mass of humanity wears on you. Just getting to the office at the end of the tier was a perverse game of Frogger, dodging poop balls tossed from the cells. I mentioned the particularly talent of molding human poop into little bunny figurines once before. Perhaps, this has something to do with why I’m not fond of ceramic pottery craftwork.
Even with the bob and weave needed to make it to my office, the cell block office was one of the best places to work. I never had time to look out the window once I’d gotten the corner office. My time at Folsom Prison taught me many things, but among them were the correctional brothers and sisters you could count on to always have your back. Unlike the corner office, in prison, you could tell the good guys from the bad guys…