You've Retired. Do You Need An Office? We Did.
We both had offices--our careers ended before open plans became the vogue, thank heaven. (Women do not enjoy being always on display.) At the end, Karen’s was a huge corner office and Erica, who started with a big one, had seen hers dwindle. Whatever the size, though, we needed them. Our offices were our home away from home, the place where we put on our game face to conquer the world, a badge of our success.
And then we retired. Poof! They were gone!
Initially, it didn’t seem to matter much. We met in restaurants, at museums, in bars—always with pen and paper in hand to take notes of what we were thinking and what we wanted to do tomorrow or the next day. But, slowly, it began to creep up on us. We missed having a specific and stable place to concentrate, to get things accomplished--to go to work. We missed being part of a community of working people. We missed having a businesslike place for meetings. Bottom line, not only did we want to go someplace to work, free from distractions, we also wanted to be able to say, “let's meet at our office.”
We quickly dismissed the idea of renting some fancy--and expensive--office in some lofty place. We would be isolated. No community in that. Then we discovered co-working space. We had never heard of it before, but it is a grand idea. Now co-working spaces are literally everywhere, usually in older buildings that have been reconfigured to include private offices as well as common spaces. Private offices have glass walls and come in various sizes—ranging from one person to 20 and even more. For small spaces leases are month to month. We chose WeWork for Lustre Global Headquarters.
At first we took an office way downtown at 85 Broad Street. We loved being in the old Goldman offices where the female executive group 85 Broads was founded. We had an internal office with four glass walls--one cell in a big pulsating organism, this one as lively as they get. In fact, the vibe was a bit too lively for us. We found it hard to concentrate with our highly visible (and audible) neighbors constantly celebrating their many accomplishments, often with mid-afternoon champagne.
We moved. We have now been on 42d Street for a while, and it suits us better. Our co-workers are a bit more serious, quieter and a little older. Our office now is a 7’ by 12’ box, with three glass walls and one large window. We have decorated it with a rug and pillows, a 1978 Cosmo magazine ad (from Erica’s first office) featuring Christina Ferrara with her shirt half open, talking about how she loves being a lawyer, and a plastic pink shoe tape dispenser (Karen's daughter's offering). Oh, and a Trump pincushion. People sometimes chuckle when they pass by.
We go to our office often, both together and separately. We get a ton of work done there. We use conference rooms, there and in other locations, to meet others or just to spread our stuff out. We rely upon the young staff to help us get computers and copiers working. We enjoy the many, many free lunches provided by new food operations opening near us. We are impressed with the excellent ping pong players in the common area. And when we feel nostalgic we go to the bathroom, where songs from our youth are constantly playing. We have not yet tried the beer, though.
We love our office. We are as proud of it as we were of our old ones. And we are pretty sure one day we will need a much a bigger one!