Little House In Ise

The Gitmo Desk
January 17, 2007, 14:45
Filed under: Expat, Japan, Work | Tags: , , , ,

Does anyone in the States still worry about ergonomic work areas? Is it just a given that when you go somewhere for your next job you will have an enviroment where it is not physically painful to work? Perhaps I am spoiled by that kind of thinking. Maybe I’m just an unusually high-maintenance person.

Aside from the technical stupidities of my company there is also an element of physical abuse that goes along with working here too. I’m not talking about beat-downs, there are several folks who are in desperate need of that, but more simple things that rank as abusive that the locals take as normal. For example, my office is only partially heated. At the far end of the office there are heaters but at mine there are none that work. So, the temperature is cranked up to the maximum allowed by the company at one end (a comfy 28 degrees) and at my end its not un-common to see your breath all day long. Try typing with gloves on and you’ll know why Darth Vader uses the force so much…

Hearing of my chilly office, Megumi gave me a pile of kaero. Kaero are these little sticky pads that contain chemicals that react slowly and exothermically. They stay warm for about eight hours if you believe the advertising. I stick one in each shoe and one on the seat of my torture chair (a 1950s vintage looking grey office/interogation chair). It is uncomfortablly cold in my office in the winter and insanely hot in the summer.

My Japanese co-workers endure and complain only when the batteries in their laptops fail to ignite (damned foreigners didn’t realize that was a feature!) and keep their desks warm. Ergonimic issues are an ongoing bad joke for me. One other issue revolves around a battle with my desk that I finally won. You see, I barely fit under it. There was a cross-bar thingie that went exactly where my legs think my feet should be when I am sitting up to type. The distance from side to side where my legs go is narrower than my knees when I sit normally. All that said, today I scored an ergonomic victory! I removed the damned crossbar and all of a sudden life at the office is much more comfortable. It really is a lot like taking leg weights off and feeling as though your feet are floating.

My next step is to set up a kaero vending machine at my desk and maybe start a fire.


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