Joker is the Yang to my Yin. He is extroverted, and I am a diehard introvert. He always has a joke on hand, I tend to be more serious. He works in business and I in healthcare. He grew up in the city, and I in suburbia. The concept of yin and yang is that of duality, that seemingly opposite forces are actually complimentary. Light and Dark, sweet and sour, fire and water. They all work together, as do Joker and I.
This week, I took a rare day off from my day job to join Joker in the big city. The main purpose was to attend an after hours work event with him, but I also got a tour of his parent office and got to meet his co-workers. I, country mouse, got to join city mouse for the day to see the world through his eyes.
There is a special kind of energy in the city. You can feel the hope of the millions who came here before us, hoping to make it in a new land. There is a busy-ness of the people who are bustling around. It is contagious I think, as I find myself standing taller amongst the buildings and walking with greater purpose and speed. Joker has turned on his nitro-booster and I struggle to keep up.
There are not many places in the United States where there are structures from long ago. The people who lived here before us lived in harmony with the land and didn’t leave permanent structures. This is a strong contrast for our Asian and European visitors who have structures that were made even in the A.D. years. There is a history here though. Architecture from yesteryear, when buildings were made from products that were meant to last. A certain amount of artistry adorns the buildings that our ‘modern’ architecture lacks. The sense of purpose persists in the straight streets, numbered as if on a grid. A city that was engineered to be such, not a city that sprung up over time.
The first difference I notice is that everyone wants to touch your hand in the business world. I am not used to touching person after person, without washing my hands in between! I notice that they have bottles of hand sanitizer around the office. I notice that I am the only one who uses it (at least in my observations).
It’s much quieter than I thought. I feel as if I am in a library, and Joker asks me why I am whispering. “I don’t want to bother anyone.” is my quiet response. Joker asks if I am expecting business offices like you see in the movies. I’m not sure if that’s what I expected. I note that it is a strong contrast from where I work. That there is a certain amount hustle in the healthcare setting as we try to meet all of our patient’s needs. There is a level of noise from the patients, between TVs, call bells, IV pole beeps, music, residents playing games with staff. I notice that here they make appointments to speak with each other. “Let’s set up a time.” I hear more than once. I am used to a barrage of interruptions, even if I close my office door. I wonder if I would like to work in such and environment, or if the silence would eventually engulf me.
I do like how everyone has a space in the office though. I have never really had a space before. In one place I had a small locker, the other a shelf to put things, in another I only had a mailbox. My first management job, I had a small desk in the middle of the gym, and with my second, my office was shared. I know have a desk space at my current job, but I will not have it for long as I am transitioning to a mobile model and will again be desk-less. I wonder what it would feel like to have some permanency. Many of the people at Joker’s work have been there for a decade or more. While my longest stint has been five years in the hospital setting, the company I have been with now for nearly a year has changed my position nearly 3 times already.
The difference in the work event from work events that I have attended is also strangely different. I enjoy myself though, and looking out over the city from our party venue I take it all in. It’s been a great experience for me this day. I feel closer to Joker, and understand his work life a good deal better. Maybe some day I’ll get him to join me at work…