Like many of you, I spend the majority of my eight-ish hours at work on my ass. I’m sure you’ve heard the same thing, “sitting all day is slowly killing you.”
What isn’t trying to kill us these days? This week coffee is good for us, next week it’s a carcinogen. I wish science would just pick one because people will still drink it regardless.
Even if it turns out it won’t kill you, one thing is for sure: sitting around all day sucks. Between the slow burning out of my retinas due to computer monitors, doing a complete body crack every time I get up and having no natural light in my cubicle, sitting all day takes its toll. The war of the worlds could be happening outside my building and I’d have no idea.
I use every chance I can to go walk around. In high school, my buddy Dan and I used to go for a tour of the building, what we referred to as a meet n’ greet. We would go around, talk with different people and end up at our next class, which we shared. In college, after a workout, I’d do a victory lap, meaning I’d go to the cardio area of our student rec center, to say hi to a few sorority girls I knew that were working off their wine induced calzone they ate last Saturday, but mostly to enjoy the scenery. Today, I do the work lap.
The work lap is pretty self-explanatory. I’m sure many of you do them without even knowing it. In short, it’s a way to break up the day by taking a stroll around the building. There is no magic number to know how long or short your lap must be, you just kinda feel it. I use my work lap time to refill coffee, heat up lunch, take a pee, chat with coworkers, stretch – it’s really whatever you want it to be.
When you work in conjunction with as many people as I do, it also gives you the appearance of doing stuff. One rule of the work lap is to appear to be going somewhere so people don’t think you’re lazy. Others respect a person with a purposeful stride. I usually carry something I’m working on in case my boss catches me and I can tell her I was meaning to talk to her. Fake it till you make it.
I’m a pretty friendly guy, so I know lots of people from all different areas of the building. Just this morning, I dropped over to see my IT work best friend, Jimmy, and shoot the shit. I’m not a gossiper, but I like to know what’s going on in the building. The IT department is great because they love to gab and gossip. I also got a new Logitech gaming keyboard and mouse to replace my GI Dell one with food crumbs in the cracks and missing letters from being so old because I engage with IT.
It also helps you learn and map the area. My building has eight floors and is absolutely massive. I know where all the best bathrooms are, different departments, elevators, dining halls, etc. Knowing where everything is itself useful.
Above all, the work lap is a powerful networking tool. The simple, “what have you been working on lately?” gives the appearance of caring, which you may or may not, and also an opportunity to lend your skills. I’ve been published on a huge, statewide project, solely because of this, and it develops a great network. Due to my work, I’ve been brought on as a “consultant” on another project for survey creation, even though we have someone whose job that is, because I do it better and the person trusts me. Building rapport is great, and you never know if you’ll need a reference.
Get out there, take that work lap. You’ll be thankful for it. The key is spontaneity without purpose. Take a lap whenever you feel like it, because life is too short to be shackled to a desk..
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