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The Power Trip of the Standing Desk

Donald Rumsfeld

Ah, the siren song of the standing desk. So close, so seemingly healthy…and yet so far.

Adrienne Jeffries tangled with the calf-destroying monster recently, and lived to tell the tale in this morning’s Observer. It’s a familiar story, starting with good intentions, medical statistics and kind words from start-up CEOs. By the end, the kind words have been replaced by back pain and the ridicule of her co-workers.

It’s enough to make you wonder, what leads a person down this path to begin with? And before you say, “well-established health benefits,” we’ve got another possibility we’d like to propose…

Put simply, it’s a power thing.

There’s a reason most of the people quoted in the piece are running their company—and the patron saint of the movement is none other than Donald Rumsfeld, quite possibly the living embodiment of a power trip. With a standup desk, you’re literally working on a higher plane, while everyone else in the office gradually ruins their circulation. If they want to get to your level, they’ve got weeks of excruciating physical torment ahead of them—and they wash out along the way, they’ll be branded as weak-legged for the rest of their careers.

It’s the Wall Street squash game, or the three-martini lunch to test the new hire’s tolerance for drink, transplanted into the passive, health-conscious startup scene. These mild skirmishes are inevitable in corporate in culture. The important thing is to catch on early, so by the time you find yourself on a driving range, you’ve already practiced your swing. In this case, you’ll want a solid few months of leg presses under your belt, not to mention a long history of calf stretches.

And a little kale juice couldn’t hurt.