Last week, I hit a moment of realization at work.

I don’t enjoy coming to the office as much as I used to.

This was predicated by the awareness of a loss of motivation, energy, and productivity in the recent days and weeks. I then pondered on the reasons:

  1. The presence of others in the office has diminished
  2. Music has gone out of existence in the office
  3. Plants have gone out of existence in the office
  4. The office has become a complete and utter mess; a veritable junkyard

#1: The presence of other people in the office, regardless of whether I actually talk to them, is important to me (hello, extrovert). I don’t feel as motivated when there’s no one else around – the sound of conversation happening in the background is a sign of livelihood to me (and/or a helpful background noise?). I’ve noted that most days, if it weren’t for the interns, there would literally beĀ no one else present. Unfortunately, each of the others are facing personal obstacles of some form, and solving #1 is beyond my ability.

#2-4, however, are absolutely within my power to change. Until we get speakers back in the office, I may just play music from my laptop out loud (indie music for everybody!). I spent an entire work day cleaning, rearranging, and tidying up the office; I tried to be as anal as possible without messing with people’s work stations. Finally, I voluntarily went out and (with help) purchased several plants (with my own money), re-potted them, and (painstakingly) transported them to the office (spilling soil in my car and carrying pots of plants up 3 flights of stairs = not fun).

The final result: A much, much more pleasant environment to work in.

But I’m not writing this to show off; I’m about to analyze my own values, and the context is important. Plus, the way I see it, I’m my own biggest beneficiary in this undertaking, since I spend the most hours in the office.

It didn’t sit right with me that the interns may spend the summer surrounded by junk; it felt like they may come away from their time with us with an inaccurate image of us. This is not Multiply. We don’t work under a pile of scrap all of the time (or do we?). We have a friendly, positive work atmosphere where people talk and joke and laugh together (or is my own image inaccurate?). We value our employees and the work they do (right?). I don’t know. It felt somehow important to show them the team environment as it should be, and that individuals are willing to go above and beyond for everybody else (because that’s who we are).

Next: I dislike people who talk the talk, but do not walk the walk. I despise communication issues. I hate problems that go unaddressed. These problems are a constant struggle at a large volunteer organization at SASE (my solution there is to focus on the people and challenges within my control), and I fear that it may start to creep into Multiply. I’m a firm believer in the phrase, “be the change you want to see in the world”, and I suppose the physical work was a way to channel my frustrations productively.

So really, did I do it for selfless or selfish reasons? Am I too hard on myself, or not hard enough? The answer, as always, probably lies in the middle, somewhere. Still growing up at 25, eh?