We’re often asked where our GTWoman office is. It’s hard to explain that it’s about one mile down, on the left, just before the hard right turn. Watch for the trailhead sign and park near the first trail you see.
Because we don’t have a “real” office. Unless you count Lost Lake Pathway, where we have walked and talked hundreds of miles over the last 12 years; sometimes planning GTWoman, sometimes planning an escape. But always, always talking and walking. We’ve calculated we’ve walked 60–70 miles to produce this very issue in your hands. (We should be skinner if you think about it.)
We’ve tried to break the habit and just enjoy our walk but it’s usually right after we’ve said, No more work! that we come up with a plan so good that it must be executed without further research or reasoning, on the spot. Every one of our worst ideas has come while sitting in an office, confined by manmade-ness. Our best ideas are launched and honed while walking the Pere Marquette forest looking for a couple of dogs.
Here are a few office rules we have established:
Dress in layers
Every business meeting starts with: “How many layers do you have on?” Pause. “Two? I have three. Should I do two? Or stay with three?” Test fabric between two fingers. More arguing. Finally: “I’m going with the three. You’re gonna be cold.”
The one in two layers ends the walk victoriously as the other emerges from the woods sweating, with her jacket tied around her waist, her cell phone in its pocket taking a beating on her leg. It’s a rare, rare business meeting where it all comes together–the perfect number of layers on both of us.
No appointed end time
Do not think that getting back to the parking lot four miles later means that the meeting is over, especially if it’s raining out and we’re soaked and borderline hypothermic. This is usually just when we’re getting brilliant.
“Should we walk one more?” one of us will always ask.
“Are you out of your mind?” the other will always answer.
Instead we pop the hatchback on my car and huddle under it to get out of the rain and corner our idea. At this point we look like fools, can’t feel our hands and are, totally, creating another masterpiece.
No dog leashes allowed
The dogs are welcome but leashes are frowned upon. Leashes and tethers could slow the waving of arms for emphasis of brilliance. Every discussion sounds something like this: “Luncheon speaker, Network Nite location, etc. etc.,” rotated evenly and regularly with: “Where the hell did those dogs go now?”
At the GTWoman office, expect an even number of humans and four-legged friends in attendance. At least two of them will be jumping, rolling or biting at any time.
There are a lot of strangers in our office. If they show up, we are always welcoming, stepping off the trail, one on each side, to make way. “What a beautiful day!” we bellow, regardless of sleet in our faces or wind tossing our hair or rollicking dogs. It’s always beautiful because we have an office with no walls, no doors and rules like these.
Recently it’s come to our attention that there are not one but two other women in the area who are using our office regularly.
They didn’t even ask. But it’s cool. We’ve seen Judy and Karen in our office many times over the years. Just last week it dawned on us: We’re actually part of a co-op.
So for all those gals with offices like ours, we salute you. For the rest, we encourage you to get out on the trails this summer and find your