First Day Back at Work Follies

My First Day Back in the Office…and Other Tragic Happenings as We Go Back to Work

By Stacey Buttel, Career Facilitator – Goodwill Columbus Workforce Development

After months of solitude and the only connection I had with people was through a computer screen, I was called back into the office.  Of course, it was a slow and safe call back as all of our staff will be attending one day in the office, and the rest will be home so that there will be limited people in the office at the same time.  The time has come.

The alarm goes off (way too early compared to the last 4 months of working at home where I basically rolled out of bed and turned on the computer), the coffee is brewing, the news is turned on, the shower starts.  I haven’t seen this morning routine in a very long time and it feels…good!  Now, what to wear.  I planned 3 different outfits to choose from, trying them all on to make sure they still fit (you know all about the quarantine snacks, don’t you?).  After selecting the best one, I finished getting ready and out the door I went.  I turned on a podcast in my car and welcomed the 45-minute commute ahead of me.

I show up at work all excited to see people and…nobody.  I am practically by myself.  It’s quiet in here.  There are a few people here and seeing them is refreshing.  I proceed on with excitement and energy because after all, I am back in the office! 

Here are some first day back at work observations and other tragic happenings that you may be able to relate to as we go back to work.   

  • Coming in too early before your badge works and having to walk clear around the building to enter through the main entrance.
  • Looking at the calendar on your desk and it is displaying the month of March.
  • Forgetting your favorite, coveted, wireless mouse at home.
  • Finally figuring out where your favorite lip gloss went…on your desk right where you left it.
  • Realizing that your snack stash is not as good at the office as it is at home. 
  • Observing all of the post-it note reminders still displayed at your desk, and they are not even close to being relevant any more.
  • Finding little things that you took for granted before this all occurred – Like having Clorox disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer at the ready at your desk.
  • Getting up to use the restroom, forgetting to put your mask on, and running back to your desk hoping no one sees you.
  • Becoming so excited to walk across the street for lunch, you don’t look where you are going, and you trip and ruin your favorite pair of shoes.
  • Trying to juggle putting on your mask/sunglasses, while holding your purse/food/drink, and opening the door to leave your favorite lunch spot.
  • Realizing the lighting in your office is nowhere as good as the lighting is at home for virtual conferencing.
  • Getting to the end of your day, realizing it went really fast, and you can’t wait to come back.

Overall, it’s good to be back to being almost normal in our not so normal world.  It is good to feel like a professional working adult again, even though I was lucky enough to be a professional working adult all this time.  Even though this world will most like be very different for a very long time, we all need to be patient, work together, and reach out for help when it is too much.

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