Is all this frivolous?

Photo from Weaselmcfee via flickr

Something very odd happened last week - and while it had nothing to do with my blog directly, it affected it nonetheless and got me to wondering and feeling a little blue. Here's what happened: My office spent the last two weeks moving into a new building - a huge step up from where we were located. The new place is beautiful and comes complete with ocean views for everyone - it's one of those office buildings that borders on glamorous, if an office building can be such a thing. The company I work for is small and has never invested much in its location or surroundings, preferring to return that money to its employees - not a bad philosophy. But there are some changes afoot, as the majority owner is selling all his stock and retiring.
With the move, all of us got much bigger offices than what we had before. We were told it would be fine for us to decorate our own offices - hang art, that type of thing - if we desired, since the company wasn't ready to spend that kind of money on such things. So I did just that and my office was beautiful - lovely art on the walls, a couple beautiful chairs brought in to complement my desk, a nice table with a lamp. All very warm and welcoming and tasteful and yes, professional looking. A couple people came by while I was finishing up and loved it, asking me if I would help them with their space, to which I said of course. I left feeling pleased with our company's new beginning in such a beautiful space, thinking what a joy it would be to work some place so warm and welcoming. That evening, I got a call telling me that while my office looked beautiful, it was "too nice" - and the company wasn't ready for that. I was told the company's philosophy has always been that decorating is frivolous and unnecessary and while people were initially encouraged to decorate, things had changed. I was basically told to undecorate (if there even is such a word) and to use the company's old chairs, etc., rather than the nicer ones I had brought in (their words). Stunned, I went straight to the office and dismantled everything, leaving basically an empty shell devoid of warmth and personality, but ultimately deemed more suitable.
Now, I am questioning why anyone would want things to look worse, not better. It was as though beauty frightened them and the only way this person knew how to deal with it was to be insulting and call it frivolous. There are times, certainly, when being surrounded by beauty is the least of your concerns, but is it really such a bad thing to add warmth and beauty to an environment you spend a large part of your time in? The whole ugly incident has left me with a bad taste in my mouth and every time I thought of my blog this past week, I could hear that voice in my head telling me I was being frivolous, so I let it sit. Is choosing to seek out beauty in all things frivolous? My instinct says no, it's part of my being, it's part of who I am. But sometimes I wish there was just a little less ugliness in the world, so it didn't seem like I was such a misfit.

Comments

  1. wow, that was really rude of the company! I can't imagine even saying that to someone...I'm sorry that happened to you. It's completely ridiculous! It reminds me of one of my college professor's office, which I loved because I felt at home there the one time I visited...she had decorated it as well and it was so comfy. I had been nervous going to see her, but her office made me feel at ease. It's the company's loss and a bad decision on their part. Maybe you can sneak everything back in one at a time until it's all decorated again and maybe they won't notice ;-)

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  2. I really take exception to the idea that things which are lovely, comfortable, visually pleasing are "frivolous." I don't mean to be overly political but I really feel that there's a subtle but still distinct thing going on in the corporate world....basically, historically pretty + decorative = feminine = frivolous. The corporate world prides itself on being "professional" but that definition of "professional" means suppressing many of things that have historically and culturally been linked to women and femininity for generations. It also is creating an idea that the workplace is supposed to be the antithesis of the home (which only makes modern women even more stressed out as companies continue to perpetuate this notion that women should try to "have it all" but to actually do so is impossible because it's either business or beauty. What a horrible statement this scenario seems to be making about the values of corporate America. There are other things at work here, I'm sure....it's not just a gender thing--I'm sure it's part of an extension of the business ethos that, in the workplace, "it's nothing personal" but I just really dislike that this happened to you. I would be very unhappy about being forced to make my workspace conform to some "uniform" look, thereby erasing its (and my) individuality. Bottom line: don't change!!! Beauty is the food that nourishes the soul!!

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  3. Blessings to both of you for understanding! I appreciate the kind words. You have cheered me considerably. :)

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  4. I am sure it was lovely and I agree with your previous comments. Poor communication skills on the part of management.

    Carol

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  5. Bless your little heart - obviously they have no taste! That is a sad story indeed - but I can see it happening. Hang tight - you will perservere. Just put a little something on you desk that makes you smile and bide your time - before it is all over - they will be asking you to redo the whole office I bet!

    Good things come to those who wait!

    Vicki

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  6. No....not frivolous at all! They should want their employees to be comfortable in their work environment!

    You asked about my coffee table. Here is a link to a post that I did that shows a close up of the design under the glass.

    http://thecomfortsofhome.blogspot.com/2010/02/repeatrepeatrepeat.html

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  7. Wow! I have never heard of anyone being that stupid. I am so sorry that happened to you. There is enough ugly in the world. The fact that you just wanted to make your part of the world beautiful should be something that is encouraged. It keeps a person small who does that kind of thing. Honey, you make the world beautiful just by being you. Don't let anyone take that away from you. Have a Beautiful Mother's Day! Blessings, Martha

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  8. That's sad, that is what companies do they want that cold harsh boring, no frills business look. What they don't realize they would get better production out of every one working if the atmosphere changed -because of the warm beauty they would just actually feel better and be at the top of their game, it is sad the company does not realize this-I'm redecorating my little art studio nothing much but it makes me feel great which means ill paint better. Some companies are all about business nothing else matters to them-, or it could be a boss gave the go ahead and redecorate and another boss felt they over road their authority and that could be the reason, just egos. Have a great weekend!!! Sincerely, Jonny

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  9. Hmmmm... It sounds to me like some people were jealous of what you were able to accomplish with your space and rather than ask you to help them with theirs, chose to complain.

    That's sad and I feel so badly for you because I know that you were just trying to make things comfortable and beautiful for yourself and others that had the pleasure of coming in.

    How mean! I don't blame you for being upset. That is not fair. What did the people say that had asked you to help them out???

    Hope that you are feeling better.

    ((Hugs))
    Laura

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