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Every Time You Find Yourself Here, It’s Because You Chose To Come Back

In February, I started watching Severance on Apple TV. I was intrigued by the stacked cast — Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, Dichen Lachman, and more. And a show directed by Ben Stiller. I hadn’t predicted how much I would connect with this deft work/life balance satire. Episodes were released weekly between February and April. During that period I realized my own job wasn’t a good fit. I found myself recruited away by another company in April. Amazingly, I just learned that my new employer’s headquarters are inside the building that serves as the stand-in for the fictional Lumen Industries for the show.

Building the Corporate Menace of Severance: Saarinen’s impeccable Bell Labs campus conveys the terror of utopian office design.

If I lived in New Jersey, I would have the option to work in this glorious building. Or terrifyingly utopian? Alas, I am far away in the Midwest and may be working remotely forever. Which has been on my mind quite a bit. Our two-bedroom condo was perfect for us when I bought it in 2019. When we rarely seemed to be at home. These days I work from my bedroom full-time. I need more space. More separation between work and life. There’s a house for sale just two blocks from us that would be perfect in so many ways. But the idea of putting my condo on the market and dealing with all the red tape of buying and selling plus the hassle of moving? Too much. I have, however, put in a lot of hard work lately to declutter and organize our place as much as possible. I need to optimize what little space we do have. And later this summer, a carpenter friend will be building me a custom Murphy bed so I can put my bed away during the work day. Though that will confuse the heck out of our cats.

Aerial view of the Bell Labs Holmdel campus

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