Beware of the corner office

Friday, December 18, 2009

When I first took the promotion to assistant editor, I was delighted with the position of my new desk.

For those of you unfamiliar with the layout of our building, the newsroom is on the third floor, and my perch is just above where the words Banner and Graphic meet at the building's southeast corner.

That's right, at only 27 years of age, I reached the corner office!

Trust me, there are reasons the corner office has the reputation it does.

Two windows provide a nice view of the courthouse and downtown in general. The sunlight from the windows also provides for a generally cheerful working environment.

My position at the corner of our L-shaped newsroom also means I have the only desk where I can see the entire room without really having to turn my head.

As the weather turns colder, though, I'm reminded of the downside to my position -- the weather wreaks havoc on the corner desk.

The summer is bad enough. The sun that provides so much cheerfulness also makes the corner a real oven.

Add my little desk lamp that I use in the evenings, and my corner is no place to be without a tank top and gym shorts. Unfortunately, that's not in the dress code.

From December to early March, though, things take an even worse turn. The windows that make it so hot during the summer do little to stop the wintry chill from outside.

I've done everything I can to guard against the phenomenon: Jeans and corduroys instead of khakis, long johns, workout tights, multiple layers and sweaters, lots and lots of sweaters.

I genuinely try to dress in nice clothes for work, but I'll certainly sacrifice looking good for the ability to feel my fingers and toes.

Is a wool suit worth a try?

I also have a small electrical heater under my desk. The result of this, though, is often my feet -- my coldest body part for 29 years now -- sweating, while my upper body shivers away.

The extremity that takes the brunt of the cold, though, is my right arm.

The back of my chair blocks the cold from the south window, but my arm absorbs all the cold from the east. It wouldn't be so bad, except that my right hand is my mouse hand. It's kind of hard to operate a computer when you can't feel your mouse hand.

The solution? All I've found is to get by as best I can and pray for a mild winter. I'll make it, I just won't always be comfortable.

I also know the time is just around the corner when the heat returns and I'm complaining about that all over again. At least it gives me something to write about.

So, if you're trying to work your way toward the corner office, beware: It's chilly at the top.

Jared Jernagan is the assistant editor of the Banner Graphic. He can be contacted at jjernagan@bannergraphic.com.

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