Whenever I visit another university or another department at my university and spend some time in faculty offices, I always look around at the physical space of the office. Ignoring ancillary features such as neatness and the presence of disturbing pictures of large snakes, I consider whether it seems like a nice place to work or whether it is a grim little cement cell.
I am sorry to ignore grads, postdocs, and others in my query, but offices for these colleagues and students tend to be smaller and more crowded/modular, on the assumption that the occupants won't occupy them for long and/or can be ignored if they complain. There are exceptions, of course -- I had a nice office as a postdoc -- but my focus today is on the offices of tenured and tenure-track faculty.
My fellow professors: How do you feel about your office?
Of course there are lots of things that factor into our feelings about our offices, not just details of the physical space. For example, if you hate all your colleagues and most particularly the person with the office next door or across the hall, or if your institution schedules chainsaw woodcarving classes in the room next to your office (true story), you may hate your office no matter how beautiful the wainscoting and/or the view.
I am not sure if the opposite is true: Can one love a windowless basement hole with decaying rodent corpses in the ducts (true story) no matter how much you adore your colleagues and students and research? Maybe some people can, but probably many could not.
Another factor in office-affection-level might be whether there are better office prospects when you gain some seniority. For example, if you hate your office, do you hate it more or less if you know that other people have better offices and/or if you know that you can move to a better office at some point in your academic career?
I am not asking you to separate out the intangibles entirely, but to the extent that you can focus on the size, shape, ceiling height, windows/lighting, flooring, office furniture, door features, wall color and texture (± peeling paint that exposes a layer of lead paint below), and anything else you can think of, what is your overall feeling about your office?
1 year ago