What IS an ergonomics expert anyway?

So I’m back in the office today and had a meeting with the ergonomics expert. You know, the one who completely screwed up my desk and chair and made being in the office and actually working a physically painful experience? I really enjoy my job and genuinely like the people here, so it is typically a pleasure to come to work and actually work. Until last week. Until the ergo guys arrived and messed with my set-up as a “perk” from our workers comp carrier and essentially ruined the experience of working at my desk.

While I waited for them this morning, I got law books out and raised both my monitors back to where they were before all this nonsense started. The fancy-smancy risers – that are about 4″ too tiny – have been returned. The law books, if they are ever needed in the future, are available; I will acquire some others. Or phone books. Or something that will elevate my monitors to the point where I am not sitting on the floor to type. It’s only 6 months until we relocate our offices, get new furniture, and I can either negotiate for a treadmill workstation for my office or buy one on my own. One way or another, at our new set-up I’m having both a table for sitting down and writing with a pen/pencil, signing checks, or because I need a break from standing, and for computer work a treadmill workstation as I do at home. I know precisely how much those bad boys cost and in my mind have know my office arranged to accommodate both pieces of equipment as well as the file cabinets and other stuff. On the plans I have already added appropriate outlets for my computer, adding machine, printer, etc.

Anyway, the ergo guy was here again this morning and brought a physically huge reinforcement as backup. Apparently they truly feel I need to be sitting in a low chair or on the floor to be working safely. The way he would have me positioned in my chair, I sort of look like a little kid sitting at an adult desk and my arms are elevated almost to my shoulders to rest them on my desktop and might not need to be working at the squats at the gym because getting in and out of my chair has that covered. Not acceptable. Not because I hate looking tiny and petite behind my monster desktop or because I have an aversion to doing squats all day long (which I kinda do, but for the purpose of this post we are pretending otherwise), but because it’s ridiculous to have my chair so low when all they need to do is bring the proper height risers to make my monitors be at a height where I can sit up straight and not have my head bent forward and shoulders all shrugged up. From a few days of using it that way, I can tell you it is damn painful after just a couple of hours.

The young experts did not believe me, said that the chair/monitor configuration cannot be the problem. Maybe I am feeling the weight of the distance in years and experience between me and them, but I was very blunt in that “chair/monitor configuration cannot be the problem” was an inaccurate response that they really did not want to use in this particular situation, because I have an issue working with their configuration that is only getting worse. Working with their setup I have neck and shoulder pain not to mention the ongoing headache of dealing with 20-something “experts” telling me how I feel. Not working with their setup, or with them, and I feel fine.

Yep, I did not mince words.

Ergo reinforcement tried to argue with explain to me how it could not be the chair and monitors. Very condescending in tone, as if the concept was a bit too big and too broad for me to understand. Original ergo guy tried to bully explain to me again how their system is superior to what I want because it’s better for my joints and such. Oh my FREAKING goodness! My patience expired, I told them they either fixed it so I could work with it, i.e., raise the f**king monitors where I need them to be and leave my chair height at its preferred high elevation or I would contact the insurance company and let them sort it out when I file my first ever workers compensation claim. Oh, and you do know we are a law firm, right? And don’t you dare get snippy with me, boys, or there will be phone calls, emails, and letters to your superiors as well as our insurance carrier that will not be the glowing, happy and bursting with praise notes I prefer to be writing.

Yep, I turned into THAT coldly bitchy old lady. Rarely happens, because most of those I deal with have at least a base level of sense in our dealings. These guys angered me so severely I lost my patience and dropped a very emphatic f-bomb.

I do not want to paint millennials with a broad brush, because while it is possible this is a generational thing, more likely in this instance it’s an culture/training/sales thing. I always have to check my own bias as well, because in my experience bay area folks have a type of arrogance about dealing with those of us in the podunk cow towns that grates. However, in this case I am certain my bias was not the problem driving our deteriorating conversation. I do not like having to use non-negotiable boss voice, but honestly, these 2 made it impossible not to get really annoyed. Makes me want to work harder and get to be really strong, or at least physically imposing enough to let them consider that I could maybe throw them out of my office. Or perhaps at least intimidate them from my average 5’5″ height to the ergo guys’ 6’10” (reinforcement) and 6’6″ (original). Big, blond, young, and dumb as a box of rocks about dealing with people.

By the end of the conversation, they admitted being unable to reconfigure my workspace as originally promised. As in most things, it comes down to money, and I am left with my law books as risers and my chair in it’s preferred position. And I feel fine – no neck pain, shoulders fine. But that is yet another hour I cannot reclaim for a productive purpose.

Asshats personified.

Professionally, I try very hard not to ever say that about clients or vendors. But these 2 ergo experts? Idiots. And asshats.

Hopefully we will be back to our normal happy chatter soon. I did have a much better practice this morning, so that’s something. Before the ergo bozos arrived I was having a marvelous day. Now that they are gone I expect the marvelous to return as well.

Dang people are irritating sometimes.

8 thoughts on “What IS an ergonomics expert anyway?

  1. I am 5’4 and when I sit in my chair in the dining room my feet do not even touch the ground. I hate when people think they have a “better” way for you sit or work or be comfortable. When I had a ford focus many years ago I had to sit on a pillow to see above the hood and pull the seat up so that my knees almost hit the steering wheel. Sometimes I think the world is against short people like me…I hope you get everything back to where it was

    • It’s fine now. But I about lost my shit on those 2 arrogant young men who tried to tell me how I feel. No, sorry; you do not get to do that just to save face that you oversold a job and now cannot or will not come through with what was promised.

      • People like that drive me insane! I know how I am comfortable and really don’t need someone to tell me. I am short so what is comfortable for someone who is 6 foot is not going to work for me. I am glad that you were able to set them straight

      • Yep, me and my law books are now comfortably ensconced. One of the associates walked by to talk to me as I was having this very heated discussion and told me he never, never wants to be on my bad side. I guess I have a scary boss voice. 🙂

  2. Yep, “experts” who are idiots and a “god” complex to boot bring out the absolute total defiance in me. Shows how diplomatic you are … using the f-bomb only once. You’re much more diplomatic than I could ever be

    • Sometimes my restrain surprises me, too, Marty. Since I went back to my original configuration, I have had no problems with my neck, shoulders, or back. Imagine that.

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