Greetings from the year 2021, where Michael Bloomberg has somehow managed to billions his way into the White House and, true to his promise, pivoted the East Room into an open office concept in which he also works! There was a lot of public grumbling when he first announced it on the second-to-last day of 2019, releasing it like a hot ember popping off a slowly dying trash fire, so I’m sending a message back from the future to let you know how it went. And that message is: great!
I’ll admit that I was initially skeptical of the idea. Silly me! I guess you could say there’s egg on my face now. Hard-boiled egg that a coworker is opening somewhere in this room, though I can’t quite pinpoint where. I was nervous on my first day at the White House and very surprised that I, an intern in charge of sending rejection letters for the Kennedy Center Honors, was assigned to share a cubicle with the Secretary of Defense. Surely there had been a mistake. Which is what I shouted to President Bloomberg across the room. But no, it seemed it was by design. We’re all on equal footing in the White House! Mostly because we all have standing desks!
When I moved into my desk it was a relief to find that my cubicle-mate, the Secretary of Defense, was just a brochure about the benefits of Stop and Frisk.
I will admit one of the downsides of an Open Office White House is that it makes West Winging very difficult. You know West Winging: walking and talking briskly as you go from one office to the next. People are always trying it here and they end up running into the sides of the community table and tripping over the piles of stuff that everybody keeps on the floor by their desks because no one has enough storage room. The other day I was walking and talking with the Undersecretary of Tweets and we were so involved in our conversation we plowed right through an original copy of the Bill of Rights. Still treated it better than the 45 administration, but still. Yikes, lol.
One of the great things about the Open Office White House is the sense of camaraderie it engenders, like when we all look up at the same time to make pointed eye contact with the person microwaving fish. And, boy do we have fun. The other day I was on the phone with Angela Merkel (long story) and she was like “Um, I’m going to let you go; it sounds like there’s a party in the background.” And I had to reassure her it was just our Birthday Club making the rounds to sing and deliver one (1) cupcake to everyone who had a birthday that month.
Of course, not everything is great about this workplace’s layout. I don’t think I’ll ever live down the embarrassment I felt the time Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer walked by my desk en route to a meeting in the Bean Bag Chair corner and caught me shopping for CBD bath bombs on my computer. “Relaxation is good,” Schumer said to me as he continued on his way but I’m not really sure how to interpret that. In any case, I found a good sale.
As much as I enjoy working in the Open Office White House, I don’t think I will stay here for much longer. Firstly, I need to get a job where the smell of burnt popcorn doesn’t permeate all of my clothing. Secondly, from all of the personal phone calls held at conference call volume in this place, I have enough intel to sell at least three tell-all books. And isn’t that the American dream? Anyway, gotta go: someone is laughing very loudly at something that’s playing on their headphones and I have to go stand awkwardly near them until they tell me what it is.