I've completed my first week of work. It's going to be a challenge, but I think that it's one I am able to handle. The folks who hired me have never had someone in my role before, so their expectations are...fluid. This will allow me to shape the role a bit, which is nice.
My workspace is by far the smallest that I've ever had in my career. I blame the influence of LCD monitors, the Cloud, and of course the invisible hand. In every prior role, I've had a desk that was designed to support the weight of at least one full-sized CRT monitor, if not two, and likely a desktop computer and possibly a printer as well. Nowadays you get a tiny laptop or a tablet (I got a Microsoft Surface Pro 4) and an LCD monitor. Even with a tiny docking station and a keyboard and mouse, that doesn't need much room. I think if you put one of my old setups with a tower and two massive CRTs on my new desk, it would collapse! A park bench has more surface area. And of course like most modern offices, there are no cubicles or any sort of nod to privacy. It's just a room full of small desks with monitors on top.
In my heyday I had need of a bookshelf and a return to file my paperwork. Now everything's on-line. I don't have printed manuals, diskettes, or CDs. So there's no personal storage of any kind, and no walls. Software like OneNote has even replaced the venerable yellow stickies. I can't help but keep my workspace clean because I literally have nothing that I could leave out. When I asked for a paper journal, they gave me side-eye. I want to bring in some of my print books for my employees to read, but there's no place to keep them.
So, on my first day I felt like I was in a cattle pen, but I quickly learned to lose myself in the world inside my monitor. I also leap at opportunities to book a meeting space so that I can have a little time away from the corral. I don't like it, but if there's one thing I learned from my many interviews, it's that this is the norm. My new employers at least favor plants and greenery, so the office space is much nicer than most other open concept spaces I saw.
I've never been particularly career-minded, but I feel growing motivation to climb far enough up the ladder to get a real desk with a back and sides, that I could put a picture and a few knick-knacks on. Like I had at my first job as an intern, way back in 1983. And to some extent, in every job since, up until now. Those were the glory days.