finally, a return-to-office plan that makes sense
the new normal
Monday morning you get in, everyone is happy to see you. The lobby looks like a resort. No, actually a casino. At first, the office manager cannot recognize you. “Ok, scary.. how will I get in?” You think. But her expression quickly warms up as she places you in her memory. She recognizes your beautiful browns and says “Victoria, how could I forget those beautiful browns?” Your office manager has to comment on your beautiful browns every day as you arrive. This is the new normal.
Now every day, your co-workers must compliment your new top. But they don’t ask if you just bought it because that would be embarrassing. They understand and assume you’ve had it for a while and always look this good. But they don’t start to expect it…they must always be surprised and delighted. Oh, and all co-workers must actively listen to you talk about your adult improv class and ask to see more photos of your nephew. Only when you want the conversation to be over is it over.
No sprints or assignments, just looking at nice tops online. People see that you are looking at tops online instead of work and smile understandingly, they even nod. The kind of nod that suggests they also look at tops instead of work and that’s OK. Now we can all look at tops online together, but now do it on the same floor of this midtown office.
Finally, it’s Jason. He’s on the elevator and it’s been months, hell, a whole pandemic since you’ve split a Pret-a-manger pre-made turkey club together. The Goo goo dolls’ “Slide” is playing on the elevator while you both try to break the silence with a simultaneous “hey-.” You both laugh. You two never had great timing. This must happen every day at 4pm. These unprecedented times are over.
As for meetings, they’re now just about 8-10 co-workers watching you do karaoke. These co-workers demand that you keep going and laugh at every one of your unexpected dance moves and are impressed by the swift way you are able to transition from Mariah Carey to Gavin DeGraw. They are even OK with you doing Lady Saw’s part in “Underneath It All.” They are upset, and even playfully tug at your arms back into the room when you tell them you gotta wrap up.
As for the subway ride home? I hope you didn’t think that was staying in this new normal! From now on, commuting is a thing of the past and everyone gets to sleep in sound-proof capsule-sized pods underneath their work desk. Every night feels like an overnight school fundraiser and your anxiety is cured. This is the new normal.