Page 1

AFTER! HOURS!

though! his! job! was! routinary,! he! liked! his!

By!Alejandra!CalderĂłn!|!December!2,2016!

colleagues,!getting!interrupted!and!not!being!

working!environment.!!Moreover,!he!valued!! ! the!fact!he!was!not!working!on!an!open!office! layout,! like! his! last! job,! which! he! found! extremely! annoying.! Sharing! a! table! with! his!

able! to! focus! was! a! no! go! for! him.!But! in! his! ! It# was# another# day# at# the# office# for# Albert# Smith.# His# day# had# started# at# 7# am# when# he# woke#up#in#his#small#flat#in#Amsterdam,#which# he#shared#with#3#people.#It#was#small,#dirty#and# overpriced,#but#the#endless#nights#looking#for#a# place# in# expat# websites,# Facebook# and# agencies,#due#to#housing#shortage,#led#him#to# take#this#room#in#the#outskirts#of#the#city.# ! Albert! had! been! working! for! a! year! as! a! customer! service! agent! for! a! new! IT! services! company! located! in! the! second! floor! of! an! office! building! in! Rotterdam.! He! didn’t! like! commuting!every!day,!but!once!he!got!into!the! building! he! enjoyed! working! in! a! clean! environment,!having!a!proper!heating!system! and!most!of!all!he!fancied!his! desk!which!he! kept!clean!and!tidy.!His!desk!was!his!shelter.!It! was!composed!two!tables,!enclosed!by!middle! height! walls,! a! very! comfortable! roller! chair,! and!a!phone.!From!9!to!5!he!would!spend!his! day!replying!to!eRmails!from!customers.!Even!

new!office!he!took!pleasure!of!having!a!sense! of! privacy! that! allowed! him! to! focus! on! his! daily! tasks.! The! silence! was! calming! and! it! allowed! him! to! perform! his! tasks! faster.! It! looked!like!the!company!was!putting!effort!in! making!the!office!space!more!pleasant.!In!the! last! months,! they! added! a! small! gym,! a! communal! kitchenette,! areas! for! small! gatherings!and!some!ping!pong!tables!in!order! to!create!a!more!sociable!environment.!! ! Once!the!clock!struck!5!pm,!everybody!started! closing! their! laptops! and! leaving! the! place.! Albert! was! so! focused! on! finishing! an! email! that!he!didn’t!realize!it!was!time!to!leave.!Most! people! seemed! happy! when! it! was! time! to! leave! the! office,! but! Albert! did! not.! He! dreaded!going!back!to!his!place.!The!thought! of!spending!two!and!a!half!hours!in!the!tram! and!train!would!put!him!immediately!in!a!bad! mood.! In! addition! to! that,! he! could! not! tolerate! his! noisy! roommates! and! when! he! finally!arrived!home!he!would!be!so!exhausted! that!it!was!impossible!for!him!to!focus!on!his!


personal! project;! a! piece! of! furniture,! which!

his!iPhone!as!a!flashlight!he!was!able!to!read!

would! make! his! room! a! bit! better.! Before!

and! enjoyed! having! time! for! himself.! It! has!

going!into!costumer!service,!his!dream!was!to!

been!so!long!since!he!had!time!to!relax!!He!set!

become!a!furniture!designer.!In!his!judgment,!

the!alarm!at!7!a.m.!and!when!he!woke!up!the!

paying! 700! Euros! per! month! for! 4.5! square!

next! day! he! had! enough! time! for! a! ham! and!

meters! was! a! scam!! Almost! half! of! his! salary!

cheese!toast!in!the!kitchen.!He!discretely!went!

would!go!into!the!rent!of!this!space,!which!he!

out!the!office!at!8:30!a.m.,!went!for!a!coffee!in!

mostly!used!only!for!sleeping.!

the! shops! in! front! of! the! building! and! came!

!

back!for!his!shift!at!9!a.m.!like!every!other!day.!

When!he!was!done,!it!was!already!7:30!pm.!He!

His! plan! had! worked!! He! was! so! happy! with!

looked!around!the!place.!It!was!closed,!empty!

the!way!it!worked!out,!that!he!decided!to!do!

and! quiet! at! night.! After! 5! pm,! the! space!

the!routine!for!the!rest!of!the!week.!

became! unused,! vacant.! The! panorama! of!

!

almost! 80! empty! desks! made! him! think! that!

Secretly,! he! began! designing! furniture! to!

the!space!could!have!another!use!in!the!night.!

complete!his!night!operations.!His!first!design!

“Why! couldn’t! I! make! use! of! it?”,! he!

was! a! bed! disguised! as! a! set! of! drawers.!

wondered,!since!it!provided!all!the!conditions!

Nobody! noticed! the! clandestine! use! of! it.! So!

for! someone! to! have! a! good! night’s! sleep.!

he! continued! designing.! After! his! bed,! he!

Without! overthinking,! he! took! a! radical!

designed! a! unit! for! storing! his! possessions.!

decision;!he!would!spend!the!night!at!his!desk!!

Then! a! lamp! for! writing! disguised! as! a! desk!

Staying! there! seemed! so! attractive:! he! could!

organizer.! His! designs! made! his! stay! more!

rest,! focus! and! would! save! a! lot! of! time!

pleasant.! He! continued! doing! the! same!

commuting.!!

routine!for!30!more!days.!Being!rent!free!for!a!

!

month! allowed! him! to! start! paying! the! loans!

He! wondered! whether! someone! would! see!

he!had!from!school.!He!also!gained!healthier!

him! sleeping! there,! but! it! seemed! less! likely!

habits! since! he! was! eating! healthy! food,! and!

since!the!windows!were!small!and!placed!high!

working!out!almost!every!day.!!He!couldn’t!be!

on!the!walls.!He!took!some!cushions!from!his!

happier!with!his!decision.!Everything!seemed!

colleagues’! chairs,! a! blanket! from! the!

to! be! working! fine,! until! one! day! a! coworker!

gathering! room! and! prepared! a! place! for!

showed!up!early.!Albert!woke!up!when!all!the!

sleeping!in!his!desk.!He!had!time!to!workout!in!

lights! of! the! floor! went! on.! He! stood! up! and!

the!gym!and!have!a!quick!shower!after.!!Using!

tried!to!hide!beneath!his!desk,!but!it!was!too!


late,! he! had! already! been! seen.! Albert!

replicate!his!designs!for!a!small!fee!and!Robert!

recognized!his!coworker:!it!was!Robert.!Robert!

embarked!on!spending!his!nights!in!the!office.!

was! known! for! being! the! boss's! favorite!

Albert!began!offering!his!design!discretely!to!

employee! and! a! firstRclass! gossiper.! Albert!

other! colleagues.! In! a! matter! of! weeks,! the!

thought! it! was! the! end.! But! his! colleague!

secret! life! at! night! of! the! building! started! to!

rather! than! being! angry,! was! amazed! by! his!

spread.!!

clever!design!and!fascinated!by!his!idea.!Albert!

!

explained!his!story!and!he!listened!carefully.!

What! seemed! like! a! crazy! idea,! became! a!

!

whole! new! lifestyle! in! the! after! hours! of! the!

He! didn’t! report! Albert! or! told! anybody! else.!

building.!

Instead,! he! asked! how! he! could! start! doing!

!

exactly! the! same! thing.! Albert! offered! to!

!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! REFERENCES!

! •! Kane,! L.(2015).! A# Los# Angeles# man# spent# 500# days# secretly# living# in# his# office# because# he# couldn't# afford# his# rent.! Available:! http://www.businessinsider.com/livingRinRofficeRcantR affordRrentR2015R5?international=true&r=US&IR=T.!Last!accessed!30th!Nov!2016.! ! •! Steinhauer,! J.(2015).! Even# as# House# Speaker,# Paul# Ryan# Sleeps# in# His# Office.! Available:! http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/11/us/politics/speakerRpaulRryanRsleepsRinR office.html?_r=0.!Last!accessed!30th!Nov!2016.! ! •! Terdiman,! D.(2012).! Meet# the# tireless# entrepreneur# who# squatted# at# AOL.! Available:! https://www.cnet.com/news/meetRtheRtirelessRentrepreneurRwhoRsquattedRatRaol/.! Last! accessed!30th!Nov!2016.! ! •! Tzortzis,! G.(2014).! The# Secret# Life# of# an# Obsessive# Airbnb# Host.! Available:! http://narrative.ly/theRsecretRlifeRofRanRobsessiveRairbnbRhost/.! Last! accessed! 30th! Nov! 2016.!

After Hours  
After Hours  
Advertisement