My office is filled with toys and candy and magic wands and all kinds of fun stuff. Over the years I have found that when people come bursting into my office, typically with problems they created that I need to solve, the fun items soften the blow a bit; absorb some of the negative energy blasting out from all sides. It also creates a nice inviting atmosphere in which people feel comfortable coming in and telling me all kinds of things I don’t want to know. It’s my job to listen regardless. Over my years of trial and error research, I found that Rolos are the perfect candy for office snacking. Everyone seems to love them, across all socio-economic strata. I’ve added mints and jelly beans along the way, for variety, but of course there are truly weird people who don’t like chocolate. When I notice someone who never eats a Rolo, I log that fact in their Permanent Record. I’m not saying it’s anything I will use against them at work, it’s just a good piece of information to have when I plot my Global Domination.
I’ve acquired some fun items over the years, many of them gifts. A doorstop with witch socks and ruby slippers meant to peek out from under the door, a cowardly lion lunch box, a Wonder Woman lunch box complete with salt and pepper shakers, a Staples “that was easy!” button. I snagged a truck from UPS at a conference a couple of years ago, and after stomping my foot and pouting like a child I finally got a beautiful little UPS airplane with real blinking lights, engine sounds and a spacious cargo area. It would be unwise for me to discuss what I keep in there. Soon after that UPS went and got a restraining order preventing me from coming within 50 yards of their exhibit booth. No one knows how to have any fun anymore. I have too many M&M dispensers to display all at once, so I have a rotating inventory. I’ve got a couple of awards or whatever, pictures.
A colleague of mine at a former firm had a wand with purple and blue and silver sparkly stuff floating around in it, a truly magic wand. Over the several years we worked together, I went straight to her office each and every morning and asked her if I could have the magic wand. The answer was always no. She was kind of mean now that I think about it. But on my very last day at the firm, I went in and asked her for it, our final ritual, and she gave it to me! I cherish it and also know that it is coveted by many in my office. That’s why I chained it to my desk. One can never be too careful these days. I have a pink and silver plastic fairy wand with genuine fake pink fur that I also got from a vendor at a conference. 1,200 professional legal administrators attending the conference, adults all of us, standing in a line that snaked through the entire exhibit hall to get our paws on one of these. Thank goodness alcohol wasn’t being served or the whole thing would have broken out into a brawl.
One of my staff gave me a mirror that says “It’s All About Me” and I was thrilled that someone around the office finally understood the dynamic. I have a hard hat from when I visited CERN, the particle accelerator place in Switzerland. I like to have a hard hat around in case I need to look official or something. A tool belt is definitely on my wish list too. The parents of one of my former colleagues brought me a set of 3 beautiful elephants from India. I brought back worry beads from Greece that I really ought to use more often. I have a Slinky, light up super balls, a pad of fashion citations that I’m not allowed to use, a little book called Do Unto Others, And Then Run. Just in case someone needs something to flip through while they’re sitting in here. I have a miniature ferris wheel and carousel to remind everyone that life is just one big carnival. I have a Blackberry that takes poor quality photos and makes me squint.
Finally, my very newest super cool acquisition: The Solar Queen. Her Majesty, wearing a lovely yellow frock and sensible shoes, carefully coiffed hair, white gloves, and little purse. When sunlight hits the solar panel on the purse, Her Majesty gives a very proper royal wave. She was a gift from someone who knows a lot about Queens.
An attorney who left my firm a while back gifted me his “next teller please” sign, but no one ever pays any attention to it, they just keep coming to me. Funny how anytime someone is leaving it’s as if they were crawling off to die somewhere because people come wandering through their office as if it’s a flea market and start staking a claim on things. For some reason everyone assumes that although people bring in all their personal items when they start working here, they somehow don’t plan to take anything with them, it’s all up for grabs.
All I know is that when I’m having a rough day, I can eat Rolos and play with my airplane and wave my magic wand around and pretend that the rest of the world has gone off somewhere far far away.