Being Black in Silicon Valley — and Alaska, Atlanta, & NYC

If you've ever felt like an outsider in your workplace, you'll relate to Erica Joy's sobering look back on her career (so far) in tech

“Offices For Introverts” Designed By Someone Who Doesn’t Understand Introverts

UPDATE: The introvert offices do include options for opaque walls.

I was so happy to see The Atlantic’s piece An Office For Introverts, which promised that design firm Steelcase had created a series of offices designed with the corporate introvert in mind.

After seeing the designs, I’m not sure that Steelcase understands what introverts need.

The offices include comfy chairs so introverts can “sit how they want,” and natural materials for a “calming state of mind.”

When You’re the First to Arrive and the Last to Leave

At nearly every job I've had, including this one, I've had a tendency to be one of the first to show up at the office, and one of the last to leave.

Other People’s Offices

Via The Paris Review: Paul Barbera’s “Where They Create” provides photos of “studios and work spaces of artists and writers” and he recently photographed The Paris Review offices (example above).

I am the kind of person who likes looking at the interiors of other people’s apartments (usually via the Times real estate section), but looking at all these work spaces is fascinating as well.

Lunch Spots and Budgets

Do you have a regular work lunch spot? The kind of dining establishment that you run to in the middle of the work day because it's fast and decent and serves sandwiches (usually), but you'd never be caught dead in on a weekend because it'd remind you of being at work and make you sad?

On the Scourge of ‘Office Speak’

The way we speak in offices now is a result of a movement to humanize the worker. Emma Green, writes about the history of office speak at The Atlantic and notes that the original reason for office speak was a shift in the thinking. Employees were no longer cogs in the machine, but individual human beings who excelled at work when they felt valued. By cloaking simple concepts in theoretical self-actualization, these phrases were meant to empower the employee and prime them for success.

“You Are My Person”: Work Wives Cristina and Meredith Say Farewell

Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang have been competitive but loving BFFs for ten seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, the Shonda Rhimes hospital drama. Their time together is coming to an end and, with it, so is one of TV’s richest workplace female friendships:

Unlike other beloved TV friendships among women—on Sex and the CityThe Golden GirlsLiving SingleGirls, and so on—Cristina and Meredith also work together, and in a highly competitive field. The stakes reach beyond their romantic and personal entanglements: They are often in direct competition with one another, fighting to climb the career ladder while, sometimes fumblingly, also working to maintain their friendship.

When I started my first job out of college at the Very Important Talent Agency, I was excited to become besties with my officemates. Instead I ended up in a department with a guy who accompanied our all-male supervisors to Hooters for lunch and a wealthy young woman who lived rent-free in her family’s surplus Upper East Side apartment but sighed over how much it cost her in taxis. Turns out you can’t always relate to other people just because you work alongside them.

In several different workplaces since, I have made some very good friends as well as a couple of mysteriously powerful enemies. (Cramped quarters have the power to create both.) Occasionally in low moments I have returned to early seasons of my favorite workplace dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The West Wing,” wishing I could sample their camaraderie, but for the most part I feel like I’ve been lucky. What’s your model for an ideal office bromance? Have you had a Cristina or a Meredith?

“You’re My Person” sticker available for purchase on Redbubble

Coworkers Who Steal Your Lunch

From The Salt: Etiquette Hell is a website that has documented more than 6,000 first-hand bad etiquette accounts, and the most frequent complaint is about "fridge theft." Apparently, it is also a major issue at NPR!

Everyone in the Conference Room, It’s Time for a Meeting

Meetings! I've been in some terribly long, terribly unproductive meetings before. I once had a supervisor who felt like he was only being productive when he was in a meeting so he'd drag me into them—replacing what could have been a short email into a 20-minute conference room meeting. I tried to explain that if I was always in meetings talking about what needed to get done, I wouldn't actually be out getting anything done but it did not compute.

What Would Make You Like Your Workplace More?

In the Times, an editorial by The Energy Project, which teamed up with the Harvard Business Review last fall to conduct a survey of more than 12,000 white-collar employees across a variety of different industries to understand people's engagement and productivity at work.

Workin’ 9 to 5 (What a Way to Make a Living)

I have always worked a 40-hour workweek, the sort of traditional 9-to-5, eight hours a day situation that you envision when you think of having a job as a little kid: an ineffectual copy machine in the corner whirring out endless documents, a burbling water cooler that serves as the center for awkward conversation, the communal fridge that gapes with brought-from-home lunches and stray beers. I go to work every day, I sit down at a desk, push a mouse around for a little bit, eat a sad desk salad, and return to my home. This is the glory, this is the life of a modern employee, and for some, the itinerant, the lost the wandering—this is the dream.

I have a friend who has always glamorized the office job, talking to me about how she wished she could just work a “normal” job, like everyone else. At the time, she lived with her boyfriend on a farm outside Boston, doing whatever needed to be done—tending the farm stand, getting a fledgling CSA program off the ground, raising honeybees and harvesting her own honey, all the while enjoying free health care from Massachusetts. While the rest of us withered under the hum of fluorescent lights trying to figure out how to make a pivot table in Excel, she was doing the kind of work that is the dream of the modern office employee — working outside, answering to no one, turning freckled and strong under a summer sun. The work she did was precisely the kind of work that so many earnest office workers turned to after they were worn down by the rat race, leaving New York and starting organic goat cheese companies in Hudson.