Gente que Cuenta

Time sheet,
by Leonor Henríquez

Vida de oficina Atril press e1718325517815
Image of a modern office in 1935-1936. Illustration not signed.

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      On June 7, 39 years ago, I received my civil engineer degree.

I have been happily retired for almost three years now.

Faced with this anniversary, I reflected on my work life.

I wanted to remember special moments, like when my boss called me to inform me that I had been promoted to Manager of the Absurd and Related Matters and would be in charge of the departments of Unreality, Madness and Pure Abstraction.

Or when my manager warned me for being too “passionate” (quarrelsome) and I decided to become “inscrutable”, which triggered a nervous breakdown in the bathroom, hugging the cleaning lady. I’m not good at controlling my emotions.

Anyway, I would have thousands of examples, but really, the most important moment in my corporate life was when my beloved husband (RIP), after a secret romance, proposed to me by email, even though our offices were only meters away. We celebrated with champagne that night and toasted love, the deepest and longest.

It should be noted that the first two examples correspond to the only thing that helped me survive more than three decades of work as an engineer: my Office Stories.

The marriage proposal was very real.

Today, enjoying my bucolic retirement, I conclude what I once heard somewhere:

“No one, on their deathbed, regrets not having spent more time in the office.”

And that brings up another of my Office Stories, The Time Sheet.

In that story, like every Friday, I had to fill out the time sheet with my billable hours from the previous week, but the format was messed up and it became the time sheet of my entire life.

At the end of this arduous task, I concluded that the only “billable” hours are those lived to the fullest, because as the great Persian poet Omar Khayyam said:

“It’s later than you can imagine.”

www.atril .press Leonor Henríquez e1670869356570

Leonor Henríquez (Caracas, Venezuela) Civil Engineer by training (UCAB 1985), writer and apprentice poet by vocation. From her time in engineering emerged her Office Stories (1997), another way of seeing the corporate world. Her latest publications include reflections on grief, Hopecrumbs (2020) ( and “The Adventures of Chispita” (2021) ( an allegory of life inside Mom’s belly.
Today she shares her “impulsive meditations” from Calgary, Canada, where she lives.

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