I miss my standing desk.
I’m serious. I miss it. There is a hole in my life where my standing desk used to be. A void, an eternal pit of black despair mired in the knowledge of the lost freedom and blood flow I used to enjoy while conducting the Navy’s business. Now my khaki-clad fanny is planted firmly in a high-end office chair. Blood puddles in my legs while my posture slowly deteriorates, my spine steadily collapsing into a question-mark shaped pile of dis-articulated bones.
I miss standing at my standing desk. I miss the energy and vitality I enjoyed as my feet dangled over six feet beneath me, firmly planted on a soft “chef’s mat” pad.
It’s been four days. I don’t know how much longer I can stand sitting down for the work day.
Four days of sitting down.
Let me say that one more time. Four days.
Four. Days. Of. Sitting.
I’ve working temporarily as the Leading Chief Petty Officer (LCPO) of United States Fleet Forces Command’s Public Affairs Department. This week Fleet Forces is hosting the “Sailor of the Year” competition and associated events. The chief here is away at a conference, so I was sent over on a temporary assignment since this week is full of media events culminating in tomorrow’s announcement of Fleet Forces’ Sea Duty and Shore Duty winners.
I’m working out of someone else’s desk. They work sitting down.
I’ve used a standing desk for so long that I had forgotten how stark the effect sitting down for hours day after day had on my body. I got the idea for a standing desk many, many years ago after reading a biography of Navy Admiral Ray Spruance, one of our great leaders during World War II. He used a standing desk and had no chairs in his office. He found he worked more efficiently standing up…and the lack of chairs meant no one came to his office and lingered!
I started standing years ago when teaching at the Defense Information School. I adapted my cubicle by moving my keyboard on top a stack of boxes after lunch. I found I was far more alert and energetic in the afternoons this way. At NPASE East I have a proper standing desk—a platform for the keyboard and for the monitor so I’m not looking down at a steep angle (like I did at DINFOS where I couldn’t move the monitor). Even in the mornings I’m just way more efficient and energetic when I’m standing up.
I’ve spent four days at my colleague’s desk at Fleet Forces so far. It really does feel like my blood puddles in my legs, sucking down any sense of vitality with it. I find it harder keep from getting drowsy, especially after lunch. And, as I said earlier, my posture has become noticeably altered in just four days. I have to remind myself to sit up straight and even to stand up straight. Slouching is always a concern for a tall person like me with a spine like a “Slinky” toy. In just four days I’m slouching again.
Working at Fleet Forces has been an honor and a real hoot. But I am looking forward to being able to return to my standing desk at NPASE East next week. You can be sure that, wherever I end up working after retirement, I’ll adapt my workstation so I can stand up. I’m even planning to get one of those moveable stations that can be raised up and down at will for my home.
The energy level and posture I maintain if I work standing up are striking when compared to what four days of sitting down have done to me.
After all, if a standing desk was good enough for Admiral Raymond Spruance, it’s good enough for Chief Petty Officer Nathanael Miller!