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  • That is my workspace, a small cubical that is about three feet wide and eight feet deep. Only this story isn't about me. It is about what amounts to an urban legend in the office I work in. The story goes like this:

    Some time ago, there was a guy who worked here who was fired for working two jobs at once. He would come into the office, get set up, maybe fire off a few emails, and then leave during the morning to go work someplace else. He would be gone most of the day, returning in the afternoon to wrap things up. Then he would try to get a few of his work tasks done at home so that he could have them ready for the following morning. Apparently this went on for weeks before anyone noticed.

    Now, I know that at first sounds unbelievable, but look at that picture again. When I come in in the mornings, most days no one really sees me. I sit in that space all day long reading, editing and rewriting short passages and test questions. I may step out for lunch, bathroom breaks or a cup of coffee, but I spend the overwhelming majority of my day sitting in that chair looking at those two screens. In fact, if you look closely, you can even see the editor screen up right now as I'm writing this story in the photo (allow yourself to have a nice metafiction moment).

    Some days I wonder what it would be like to be that guy that worked two jobs, because it would be a way to strike back against the isolation of this work place. Now I'm not going to go all Marxist here and complain about the alienation of modern production, and I'm not going to falsely say that I wish I were working out in a field with other laborers where we could share experiences. I don't. I know that in other places, people are working a hell of a lot harder for a hell of a lot less than I earn. But I will say that I do wonder what this cube is doing to me, personally. I can go days without having a single conversation that lasts longer than the time it takes two people to walk by each other. And because I spend more time each day looking at its three walls than I spend doing anything else.
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