...I have my own desk. Now I have never asked for my own desk at the office, but it has been 28 years since I’ve had a desk and an office to go to M – F. Getting a desk prompted these musings.
When I first started coming to our Training and Development (T&D) office, my supervisor was out of country and no one was there to help me determine where to sit when I reported daily. So I found a desk in the library where Au works. It’s quiet there, not many people noticed me, and I could smile mischievously at Au every so often. But people felt bad for me and thought I should move to the T&D office, so I did.
All the desks in the open shared space were occupied so I took a nearby desk but it was on the “other side” of the room and actually was in the space of Mission Research so I felt as if I was encroaching on their territory. By that time, my supervisor and I chatted and she invited me to sit at her desk since she was out of country.
When I heard she was returning the following week, I knew it was time to move again. I switched to the back desk in a room with a glass door, adjoining the T&D office. On Friday, I discovered that a volunteer used that desk so I found a new desk behind a different glass door. The next week I was told that a different volunteer uses the computer at that desk to design interactive eLearning modules. My supervisor told me that no one was using a different desk so I began sitting there. Things were finally settled. I had a desk assigned to me.
…but then we began our weeks as a nomad – Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Singapore, and then the US.
When I finally returned to Singapore, I resumed sitting at my most recent desk. Imagine my surprise to discover that the actual computer my colleague needed was the one at which I was sitting. So I moved to another desk and discovered a new term “hot desk” – where whoever is in for the day gets access and you just know you’ll need to do desk hopping from day to day.
Last week we had a sad day as we said goodbye to a T&D colleague. She had been living in Singapore for several years and volunteering at OMF during that time. She and her husband felt it was time to return to the Netherlands and raise their children in their own home country. The day after our departmental farewell lunch, I was invited to take her desk.
Since then, I’ve been busy decorating my little space and making it feel “mine.” One of the first things I did to celebrate the arrival of my dependent pass was to buy a little Anthurium to brighten up my desk.
Does a desk define who I am? Of course not.
Do I need a desk “of my own” to be productive? No
Having a desk is a symbol of belonging. I hadn’t actually thought about the meaning of “my own desk” until now. I wonder what other symbols there are in my life – and do I put more meaning to things than I ought to? Do I really cherish walking by faith, realizing that all too often comfort comes from being surrounded by the familiar? Am I willing to let go of what is familiar and feels safe in order to respond to the Lord’s leading in obedience? What about you?