Someday, I’d like to write an essay about my soul. What the word means, what I believe about it, where it lives and maybe even who has touched it. This is something I think about, but I’m not ready to describe it yet.
What I can say about it is that it is not the soul of a bureaucrat. Even though I work in a cube. That is grey. In a state agency. Where I have an ID badge on a lanyard. And where I take computer-based trainings on topics like Safeguarding Federal Tax Information (FTI). At my grey desk.
After all, who would admit to having a bureaucratic soul? It’s hard enough just to admit to being a person who works in a bureaucracy. I really want to believe I can do that without becoming a bureaucrat.
BUREAUCRAT: Noun. Mid-19th century. French bureaucrate: see BUREAU, –CRAT.] An official, especially an unimaginative or doctrinaire one, in a bureaucracy; a person who endeavours to centralize administrative powers.
Yuck, right? So there are a lot of acts I take (and omissions I make) to try and maintain my soul in the creative, colorful way I imagine it. One of them dovetails nicely with my running addiction. You know all those colorful bibs and medals we accumulate from races? That get in the way of my aspirations of maintaining a minimalist-type home?
Bam! They become a stellar, most welcoming contrast to the sterility of my office. My one rule is that I only bring in items from races run since I started working here, which was just in 2013. And I don’t bring in all of them (which means there’s still a problem on the minimalism goals at home).
Not only do they reflect another side of me, they are purposely not arranged in any sort of planful manner. The unorganized chaos and clashing colors delight me each morning when I turn the grey corner, brown lunch sack and thermal coffee mug clutched in each fist. There’s always something that catches my eye and reminds me of being in play clothes and sneakers, running around with my friends.
This is not a recommended method for how to get a promotion and/or raise. My supervisor fortunately has an open mind, lots of other interests that include bee keeping and ecological gardening, and drives a Harley. Am I grateful? Reader, I should dedicate an entire post to the myriad ways in which I am thankful for her.
I believe my idiosyncratic “décor” helps keeps me centered and reminds me that I am not a bureaucrat. It reinforces my belief in the validity of my point of view and my value to this large state agency. As long as I maintain individuality and a sense of humor, I may just approach a problem in a different fashion. Maybe that vantage point results in a solution. And that’s a win-win all around, even if they don’t give medals for it.