In the early days of my career, I woke up as soon as my alarm buzzed. No snoozing. I rolled out of bed and into the shower. I dried my hair with my first cup of coffee, and gobbled down an oatmeal breakfast with the second.
I put on full makeup.
On the way out the door, I selected any needed accessories from my stash at the front door—gloves, hats, umbrellas, boots, sneakers.
I loaded up an audiobook and started the hour long drive into downtown Pittsburgh. I sat in traffic, maneuvered around accidents, and finished off my third cup of coffee.
I parked nearly a mile away and walked to my office. In the rain, I used the umbrella. In the frigid cold, I used the hat and gloves. In the summer, I tried not to sweat.
When I arrived at the office, I stashed my lunch in the company fridge, then booted up my computer and changed out of my walking shoes into office-appropriate footwear.
In the very early days, even occasional work from home was unheard of—I started work at 8, but if I had a 7 am meeting, that meant doing everything an hour earlier.
I’d work a whole day, and then sometimes I’d go to happy hour, or a Pirates baseball game, or dinner.
On Fridays we all went crazy and wore jeans.
I did this five days a week without breaking a sweat.
But this week?
This week I went into the office for four days—not five—and drove twenty minutes without traffic. Parked so close I didn’t bother with a change of shoes.
Reader, it almost did me in.
I’m out of office shape.
Part of it, of course, was the fact that I was starting a new job. Everyone was helpful and friendly, but information, systems, and passwords were hitting me like a firehouse to the face.
No melting into the day, taking a shower after my first meeting. No breaking to cook a steak for lunch (an under-reported work from home perk). No afternoon nap!
I was fast asleep by 9 on Monday.
Tuesday was even worse. A friend came over to visit, and I was such scintillating company that I practically fell asleep while we were talking.
But Wednesday, I got up and did it all again.
By Thursday, I’d found my grove. I watched a movie and stayed awake through most of it. I also remembered how nice it is to separate your home and work life. Pulling into the driveway after a hard day is still a pleasure that can’t be replicated with a walk after working from home.
I could get used to this.
But I was still grateful for a Friday at home to rebuild my strength.
I’ve gotta work back up to my fighting weight.
It’s Sunday, so I’m back to doing all the laundry for the week, cleaning the house, and preparing my meals for the week.
Tomorrow starts round two.