Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

New desk…

Today I moved to a new desk.

If you have worked with me and paid even a tiny bit of attention, you know I am super weird about my desk. I hate the site of cords. I hate dirt. I hate post-it notes…with a passion. I do not believe in paperwork. And I believe in the stark edges of a desk as the boundaries of what is mine and in my world at work.

In the early years I personalized my work space. I had framed pictures on my desk. Sometimes a plant. A Wonder Woman doll. I brought in artwork, hung my diploma, and had a bookshelf. I was meticulous in the placement of everything but no one ever thought “Who’s desk is this?”

At Amazon, I felt so temporary. Like at any moment I might pack my things and drive my ass right back to the southwest. Even when I loved what I was doing, I caught myself keeping a desk that was bare…bordering on “Is she quitting?” stark.

At my last job, I was so unhappy that it became a point of pride with me that I could walk out in under 2 minutes. All I needed was my purse and water bottle. I could even leave my coffee mug because it has been given to me by the company.

And then today I moved to a new desk.

When I took the promotion offered to me, one of my biggest concerns was that I was leaving my desk. The desk that sits in a quiet row of developers who I rarely interact with but who are really nice to me. I sit next to Nataliya who is an opinionated, hard-working, and kinda noisy QA tester. The desk that is next to my work friend Jacob, who makes me laugh and who’s empathy and honesty I admire. The desk that was the safe haven from which I determined very slowly over the early days and weeks, whether I actually intended to invest myself in this job and show up again tomorrow…and the day after…and the day after that.

In the early days of this job, each day felt like a fucking experiment. I was so broken when I got here. So beaten up by the last thing. So torn down to the barest parts of myself. Each and every day was a decision to show up and give a little offering to these people paying me to show my gratitude. But I wasn’t convinced.

Today I moved to a new desk.

It was covered in dusk and refuse from the last person who left it quickly. It is in a corner near a team for whom I am newly responsible. No quiet but kind engineers. No Ukranian swearing to keep my company. No Jacob. It was an island.

And I was there for a few minutes over the course of my day as I was booked in meetings from 9AM to 4PM.

Even still, today I moved to a new desk.

And I had a moment. A flitter of a thought. A tiny breeze moving across my mind. And with that tiny movement of thought and air, I said “Maybe I’ll bring in a plant.”

Today I moved to a new desk.

We all know it won’t be forever. But for the briefest of moments, I considered roots. Settling in. Something that hasn’t happened in over 4 years.

My new desk is in Seattle. It is at Providence. It is doing a job that I have no idea if I can succeed at. It is too far from my work friend and the quiet solidarity of the team I sat with when I joined. And yet…I belong.

Today I moved to a new desk.

Tomorrow my desk might just have a plant.

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