I pause and stand at the threshold of my office and take it in. The floor is covered with bright royal blue soft padded rug, The bright white, perhaps 5000 Kelvin fluorescent tubes filtered through the chrome slated fixtures flood the room.  I am pleased that at long last, I’ve gotten the larger desk, the kind I had always wanted but never had an office big enough to justify having one. Unlike the beige marble desk top, this one has speckled black granite top. The base is the same with the filing and storage cabinets built-in as before, because it’s one of the same desks refurbished, in that instead of the natural oak stain, it is now painted black. It is flushed against the sidewall made up of the bright blue padded panels.  Behind the desk is wall-to-wall credenza – something I really love. A side of the desks had always been a small credenza meant for  typewriters. Which alas would become too small just in a year or so to accommodate desk top computers. The chairs too are the same, reupholstered and covered also with different fabric – now with either solid black or small black and grey pattern. On my right is a granite topped conference table, which is larger in diameter than the one I had. But no  couch for lounging during the meeting breaks.

Who got how big of an office and in which area and how each one of them would be furnished was determined by our corporate titles and the numeric personnel classifications. To be fair to everyone, a system had to be devised. It had to be just and egalitarian or at least to fit within our boss Bill’s definition of some people being more equal than others. Since there wasn’t going to be any natural light in our windowless offices, it became important to spruce up their interior  dressing.  Something we could choose. Sort of. So Sue Shoemaker, the Director of Corporate Administrative Services, stops by to see each one of us in advance of the big move.

‘What color wall paneling you like?’ Now the dirty brown cork walls to be replaced with the padded and fabric covered panels, to be used as before as our wall-to-wall bulletin boards. The choice was between bright red and royal blue. I chose  royal blue. Though I would get a larger desk, I had to choose between either a mini conference table and/or the couch.

‘I would like to have both!’

‘You can only have one or the other.’

‘I do have both of them right now.’

‘So I see. But with your position with the company, you’re entitled to only one of them.’

‘That’s new to me, but for what I do, I have a need for both of them. We have meetings all day long and it just makes it nicer to have a bit more relaxing couch when we break.’

‘Sorry, but we had to draw a line somewhere and only the Sr.VPs and above get both.’ I was only a VP.

What when and if I am promoted to be a Sr.VP? I want to ask, but stop short. Perhaps not a good omen. As it turns out, I am indeed promoted to be the senior VP within six months, but then the office I am assigned to is not big enough to accommodate both, and there is no provision for the expansion. Grudgingly, I accept what’s given to me.

‘Do you like your new office?’ Mary chirps.

‘I guess!’ She knows what I am thinking.

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