Dude, Where’s my Desk?

 

Industrial, loft-style floor plans. Banks of windows. Razor scooters to zip from one end of the office to the other. Basketball hoops. Video games. Ah the super cool, ultra-trendy offices of entrepreneurial America. Not exactly.

entrepreneur_office_spaceMy friend Harry recently arrived at a new job to find that he didn’t have a desk or even a chair to call his own.

Harry’s new entrepreneur boss motioned to his own desk saying “I’m not always here.”

An entire drawer was made available for Harry’s use. Welcome to entrepreneurial America.

Park Yourself Here
The fact is, most entrepreneurs set up office without so much as a coffee pot to piss in. Even Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose current offices are a selling point to potential new hires, offered little to his early employees. Their biggest office perk? A good parking spot.

Amazon’s first five employees worked out of Bezos’ garage for almost a year. Ditto for the first employees of Microsoft.

Unfortunately for you, these lean, early days of the company are also the glory days for your entrepreneur boss. The time when his inner business-MacGyver flourishes. He’s building a business out of two paper clips and Blackberry, and during the process barely meets the minimal requirements of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; food, shelter, sleep.

Get Over It, Get On With It
So your whiney, petulant need to sit in the office, have a heated work space, or, say, have internet access, is simply an extravagance that will have to wait.

Besides, no matter what your current hardship is, your entrepreneur boss has had it worse.

Before you joined in the crusade—when your entrepreneur first starting working on the Big Idea—he did so with only a milk crate to sit on.

…A milk crate that sat perched over a sewage drain.

…While sanitation workers were on strike.

The Early Days were always worse.

Working for Wonka? Know this: If you’re big on the idea of offices supplies being supplied by the office, go work at Mead Paper Products. If you happen to own your own pen, stock up on refills and head in to work.

5 Comments

  • Harry Hayes

    Reply Reply August 13, 2010

    To me, the strangest thing about working for a start-up wasn’t the lack of perks, it was the entrepreneur’s attitude about the lack of perks. He just assumed his employees would be okay with sharing a desk, or driving cross-country for a business meeting. Then if you happen to bring it up to one of the other workers, they look at you, like “Dude, you think this is bad? You should have been here two years ago.”

    My eyes were really opened the first time I dropped by the CEO’s house. Construction there had never been completed—no flooring, unfinished trim. It was like every available penny was being invested in his business.

  • David Stehle

    Reply Reply June 3, 2011

    God, this is so true! Which of course made me laugh because it’s embarrassingly true! People need to understand that in the early (crazy busy) days of a startup life, our brains are running in overdrive with all these creative ideas. So we easily forget the basics – like food, shelter…and a freaking desk for employees!

    And by food and shelter I mean caffeine and tarp to keep our computers out of the rain. Ok, startup life wasn’t that brutal for me, but close.

    By the way, I’ve loving your blog more and more everyday!

    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply June 3, 2011

      David – You’re hysterical. And honest. Love that! Funny that it’s only your computers (read: business asset) that you thought to protect from the elements.

      Thanks for the comment. Glad you like the blog! The positive comments mean twice as much when they come from entrepreneurs.
      Kathy

  • New York office space

    Reply Reply September 3, 2011

    this is the reason why you should rent an office space.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field