One of the stipulations about adoption back in the early 1950’s was that the child had to have his or her own room. As a result, I started out in life with my own special room, rarely having to share. Only at basketball camp, college, and in marriage was there a need to adapt. In these cases, I always found a way for escape to a second room where there was some sense of privacy. I’ve always enjoyed time to myself, so the words “go to your room” never seemed like punishment.
In the world of business, I’ve always had a desk, but starting out it was long before cubicles were the norm, so there was little chance for escape when you were constantly surrounded by prying ears and eyes. The office cubical was apparently invented by Robert Propst, a Herman Miller designer, in the 1960’s, but unaffordable to most small companies. In the decades to follow, it became the despised symbol of a bad job, as dented, scratched units were recycled from company to company. The thin walls provided a false sense of seclusion, while the bullpen was typically surrounded by the real offices of those “more important” who had the option of closing their doors. It was always a welcome relief to leave the toxic atmosphere of the office every day, and have the freedom to work out of my car. There was not the option of working from home that is quickly becoming the norm in the pandemic influenced business world.
This was also in a time prior to the use of cellular phones, so there was not even the option of going out in the hallway for a private conversation. At home, we had a party line, so you never knew when someone else was listening. As time when on, phone booths became comfortable retreats before I finally got an office with a door and a cell phone. Small offices evolved into bigger suites and eventually a home office, as well. Then there was the fall from grace, and my corner offices with big desks, private bath, and comfortable couches resorted back to tiny cubicles. In retirement, my home office retreat keeps me sane, especially in the cramped quarters of an apartment. Go ahead, send me to my room!