I use to work in an office pod about the size of a bathtub: sleek laminate desk, air conditioning, a few cabinets for my stuff. My chair was so comfortable. I sat at it for hours. — All part of a conspiracy or not?
There were about 100 of us that had similar pods. We were allowed to customize it with a few trinkets. Mine had a couple of plants and this cool Tiffany that I brought from home.
Fast forward a few years, and my summer pod is now a 30′ sailboat that’s been fully customized to be a place of inspiration. The ultimate ‘Man-cave.’
It contains a head (washroom), v-birth (double size bed), galley (kitchen) and cockpit area that looks like a cottage veranda in the forest. I have an incredible view of Toronto’s skyline, listen to birds all day, BBQ of the stern rail (back of my boat), and be surrounded by the coolest neighbours who all have their own modest and down to earth Yachts.
Technically speaking, anything under 30′ is not considered a yacht, and I’m a 29’11”. My slip is a Marina, not a yacht club. My marina is a part boat dock, part trailer park on the water — so it does come with an abundance of storage bins, derelict bike and abandoned boats and more BBQ per square foot than a trailer park. — eh! Nevertheless, it’s a direct connection to nature and my ultimate happy place. I’m less than a 5 min tender ride (a type of water taxi) from the city side of the Toronto Island Marina.
Having access to all of this while living in Canada busiest urban centre Toronto, Ontario, is a blessing. The problem with a relaxing and beautiful workplace is that all I want to do is chill — relax, recharge, tinker on my boat, connect with my neighbours over a cold beverage, nap, meditate, have great sex (not with my neighbour) etc.
So you’re asking what’s the problem?
To grow my practice, I must also create, write, call people, respond to comments, and produce podcasts that require ness of nature’s distractions. My creative process and outcomes have to come from me.
Don’t talk to me about delegating and the four-hour workweek — because most of that is bullshit. You can’t entrust painting a Picasso to anyone other than Picasso.
Can you imagine Michael Angelo saying to a young protegé? ‘Listen, the pope wants me to paint this ceiling. Could you climb up that scaffold for a few years and dabble a little paint here and there.’
Your best work has to come from you and not your minions!
But what if your creative deliverables require you to produce outcomes from a non-traditional work environment?
Corporate office pods are designed to enhance productivity for the company. They are not intended to improve the quality of your creativity.
I have lived the ‘office-pod’ trap for over two decades.
My current reality is to work on my terms in an environment that inspires me. My sailboat is such an environment, but often, I’m so distracted that I want to do everything but office-like work. My process involves recording studio equipment, large desktop computers, remote unlimited high-speed internet. How do I make all that fit on a sailboat?
Face it; marine environments are not suitable for certain electronics. Have you ever been on a boat when it’s healed over in high winds and pitchy waves? One time I totalled my $1,800 laptop as the water came crashing over my v-birth hatch, splashing all over my electronics. — no one told me I had to lock down ALL the hatches. And don’t get me going over the crazy mobile internet data overage charges when working remotely. Yes, I know this seems like entitled first world problems, but they are the reality I must resolve.
What’s awful (sarcastically) is that at season’s end, one year, I had to haul all my gear landslide for a few months and get ready to fly to beautiful Brazil and live in a beach house for two months. … yea, don’t say it — Oh my gosh, how will the sea salt affect recording equipment and what if I get robbed along the way – again, spoiled first-world privileged white guy problem, eh!
Give your head a tiny shake if you think I am complaining.
Have you watched the news lately and soaked in even five minutes of epic conflict and suffering worldwide? My problems are the stuff the most people only dream of having; anyone wants to trade places with me?
Stop complaining and get perspective as seek out an environment that brings out the best of you creative process!
Can you relate to any of what I am saying? – Best, Dan Trepanier
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