Today I learned that ergonomics are something one should think about immediately when starting a new job. I never much worried about it before, because no matter what kooky desk setup I was working at, I knew I'd only be there for a couple of hours and then onto the next job. Now I sit at the same desk for 8 hours or more, and the ergonomics were apparently terrible. The desk is way too high for me, and the chair way too low. Last night pain in my left wrist woke me up in the middle of the night, and I couldn't get back to sleep for over an hour. (Thank you, I think, to the Sleep Cycle app for providing a cute graphic of how long wrist pain kept me awake last night).
This morning I contacted HR and within an hour I had a taller chair, and a plan to install a keyboard tray on my desk, replace my keyboard with a standard size that will fit in a keyboard tray, and give me a foot rest. It will be next week before the keyboard tray and foot rest come in. In the meantime they gave me a wrist pad so at least my wrists get some relief, and a temporary foot rest (it's kind of broken but it works as long as I don't put too much weight on it). I have to say, I've felt more than a little culture shock coming into this environment. But there's definitely something to be said for working in a place where there's a whole department whose job includes making sure my desk is comfortable and will not injure me.
For a long time I've slept with a brace on my right wrist, and today on my way home from work I stopped and got one for the left. I wanted to knit tonight, even had a project all ready to start, but I couldn't because of my wrists. I've been wearing the braces since after dinner & I hope the soreness will be gone in the morning.
Since I couldn't do anything craftsy tonight, here's a photo of my last project. A katamari! I had made one as a gift last Christmas, and now that I have a desk I wanted a katamari of my own to use as an office supply caddy. I splurged and ordered rare earth magnets so it would hold a lot of stuff.
I looked up rare earth magnets because someone asked what they are and I wasn't exactly sure, to be honest. Except of course stronger than regular magnets. According to Wikipedia, rare earth magnets are made from alloys of rare earth elements. Thus the name.
Wikipedia mentioned the danger of careless handling of rare earth magnets, and I can confirm it. The ones I used were only 5/8" diameter and 1/8" thick -- like a stack of 2 pennies -- and I pinched myself pretty bad when I let two magnets get close enough to jump together and catch my finger. I thought I was going to end up with a blood blister but the next day it was just a red spot. After that I learned to carefully separate the magnets. When I needed to join two together, I would put one inside the "bump," (which was like a little cup until sewn in place) hold it open from the back, and let the other jump inside without coming anywhere near my fingers.
Wikipedia says that rare earth magnets larger than a few cm can break bones. Also, I did not know that they are more brittle than regular magnets, and if you let big ones jump together they can shatter on impact and then you can be hurt by magnet shrapnel. Magnet Shrapnel would make a great band name.