A friend of my grandmother once told me he read the newspaper, in plain sight, at his desk when he had no work to do. Management did not consider this practice to be insubordinate or inefficient. This happened after his service in WWII, when American men returned from the trenches of western Europe and north Africa and acclimated to office jobs and a new wave of industrialization. Strapping young lads suited up, brought their waxed paper-wrapped sandwiches with them, and sat at desks with blotters, fountain pens, and probably not much else.
Luckily for my generation, we have computers. I don’t know what I’d do without Internet access at work. My current role is so slow that I spend about 80% of my time surfing the web. I get blissfully lost within Wikipedia articles. I watch reruns of shows on YouTube. I research recipes. Last but not least, I job hunt. I realize that’s a no-no, but at this point, I couldn’t care less.
How else would I read as voraciously as I do if it weren’t for online content? I certainly can’t whip out my hardback copy of All the Light We Cannot See as I sit six feet from my boss. This, of course, prompts the argument, “Well, if you’re that bored, why don’t you ask your boss for more work?” My answer is yes, I do ask. I suggest things I can do to streamline processes or implement new procedures (how’s that for clichéd workplace jargon?). I volunteer to do interview scheduling. I digitize employee files and eliminate paper. There isn’t a lack of trying on my part.
So…the Internet is my best companion during work hours. I don’t know how I would pass the time, otherwise. I can’t stand office gossip or being an ear for co-workers who do nothing but complain all day (I think the phrase “water cooler talk” is becoming obsolete). I try to take walks during breaks, but I don’t want to go unseen at my desk for long periods. I clean up the shared kitchen as needed. These tasks are growing tiresome. The Internet it is, then! Thank you, dear Internet, for your wealth of entertainment, reference material, and connection to the great world outside of the office.