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My Office is My Minivan

My office smells like old snacks.

Apparently, this is what happens when you trade your corner office for a minivan.

I really miss the old digs: the custom-ordered swivel chair; the view down 56th Street from 40 floors up; space to “think.” And all of this guarded by an assistant who sat outside my door ready to intercept anyone who might enter the inner sanctum uninvited. It was luxurious, organized, peaceful.

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The new headquarters are definitely a step down. The only amenities are a cup holder and lumbar support. Those came standard.

Sure there’s a 360° view. But all I see are the backs of other people’s minivans with bumper stickers telling me their kids are “Student of the Week,” “Citizen of the Month” or just plain better than mine.

There is no assistant. Unsavory people who need baths and tell bad knock-knock jokes come and go as they please. They see my office only as a way station, where they can empty their backpacks, track sand and spill snacks while I shuttle them from activity to activity — a never-ending stream of “meetings” where their attendance is mandatory and refreshments are served.

I can’t take calls.

Meetings are attended by a brain trust of three elementary school-age children who, like so many executives I knew, are sure their ideas are the best. And the only intellectual activity that occurs here is an incessant stream of questioning that bombards me while I’m driving. “Mom? How was God born?” “Mom? If I ate a sparkle, would I die?” and “Mom? If I accidentally killed my sister would you still love me?” There are no “right” answers to these questions. But they do get me thinking

I’d rather climb a jungle gym than the corporate ladder any day.

Office supplies are sprinkled about uselessly. Stray socks, Legos, dried out magic markers, note pads, tissues, broken pencils, a year-old cereal bar and a diaper bag filled with all of the stuff I would ever need should I be in an emergency with a 6-month-old baby. My youngest are twins. They'll be 7 this year.

Every day is “casual Friday,” there is no filing system and the noise level is about 20 decibels over the limit necessary to think straight.

Moreover, I’m in my office from morning till night.

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My latest meeting is at the park and all of my co-workers are with me. I forgot to pack snacks, so we’ll probably share the old cereal bar.

But it’s a small price to pay.

I’d rather climb a jungle gym than the corporate ladder any day.

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