I’ve had a problem for a little while: my office smells like pee, and it gives me a headache sometimes.
Correction: my office smelled like pee. Past tense. The problem has been resolved.
Owning Up to the Problem
Let me introduce you to Carl.
Carl is a Giant Flemish Rabbit. He’s been sharing my office with me since May. He’s adorable. He hops about, he waggles his ears, he eats carrots. He chomps his teeth happily when you pet his ears. He’s a really friendly little guy, and I’m really fond of him.
Carl is litter box trained, for the most part.
There’s a problem or two here. Maybe that “for the most part” tipped you off. I’ve had Carl for a while, and I’d built up a system where I could keep him pretty happy— and where a system of rugs and plastic linings keeps the carpet perfectly clean as well, and everything can be changed out and washed.
The issue is this: whenever Carl goes in his box, the smell gives me a big old headache for a few minutes. If Carl slips up and goes outside of his box, the smell gives me a headache until I can clean out his whole area.
I could mostly cope with this. When I am working at home with a client, I’m always immersed in that and hardly notice anything else. But I would find my head hurting at the end of a long day, and I’d look for excuses to work in the dining room, the living room, or other places.
The Problems With Complaining
I’m just as much of a complainer as anyone else— and more than some.
The problem with complaining, I’m learning, is that it prevents me from solving problems.
Complaining helps relieve some stress for me, but it typically doesn’t make me any happier. And even worse, it puts me in a mindset where I’m not thinking about solving a problem. Instead, I just got to where I didn’t look forward to coming into my office very much because I associated it with having a headache.
The Solution: Think Like a Consultant
One of the things I like best about being a consultant is that my focus is on finding solutions and moving forward.
As a consultant, I need to approach a situation in a way where I’m not thinking about complaints. I need to think about how to move the ball forward and help my client achieve their goals.
Guess what? I can do this in my personal life, as well. I just wasn’t doing that because I liked the idea of having Carl in my office, and I really didn’t want to move him out into the garage. I just needed to think constructively about what I should do and whether or not there were options I hadn’t considered.
How My Office Smells Better
It’s really pretty simple: we have a large laundry room. It even has an easy to clean linoleum floor, which is now covered with one of Carl’s rugs. He has just as much space as he used to have, and a little gate lets everyone visit him and still keep the door open. His litter boxes are even under a little overhang, which he surely loves—- because as far as I can tell, Carl’s top priority is to always have a place to hide from eagles. (Seriously, he hates the sound of birds.)
As for me, I have a roomier office, which feels a lot less cramped. And I have no headache.
So happy new year to everyone, from me and from Carl. And may you all be safe from eagles, too.