“Can you…” “Do you know…” “How do I…”

Yep, we're smiling at ya . . . all three of us

Gavine, Sue, and Quan . . . in the Birmingham Field Office

And Gavin always had an answer. For almost four years I shared an office with Gavin Wiggins. While neither of us rates a private office this semi-private office was a compromise. For Gavin it was to ensure the privacy of his work and for me it was a reasonable accommodation.




Gavin is our Information Security Officer, ISO. While I have only a vague idea of what Gavin actually does, his work obviously involves private and secure information technology, it rates an office rather than a cubicle. In my case, as I’m blind, a full-time screen reader user, and a guide dog handler, the campus manager placed me in the semi-private office more as a matter of courtesy to other employees than anything else.




Over the years Gavin and I have become friends. The first time I had a security dilemma I tentatively spoke over the space between our desks, “Gavin, do you know…” And he had the answer for me in about ten seconds flat. I’m part of a virtual team and have been for almost a decade. When colleagues had questions about security or privacy Gavin had answers for them too! I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve said to a colleague, “I don’t know but I share an office with an ISO…”




Fortunately Gavin loves dogs so didn’t mind at all sharing the office with, first, Kismet, and later, Quan. Quan is my first male guide dog and definitely the largest dog I’ve handled yet. Kismet was a type A female who took her work very seriously but a dog who could be pretty goofy out of harness. Whenever Gavin and I were in the office at the same time Kizzy would go visit him.




I’ve only had Quan a few months but he’s already taken the “visitation” thing to a new level. I’ve recently gone full-time remote so was in the office last week to pack up the last of my personal property in preparation for vacating our shared office. When Gavin got in Quan rose, wandered over, and stood patiently getting his ears scratched. As long as Quan was visiting I decided to be sociable too. Rounding the desk I sat down on the floor so Gavin and I could have one of our “chin-wags.” Our conversations ramble all over the place with one consistency – we laugh a lot!




Yesterday my team had a question about some procedure or other. So I sent Gavin an email and asked if he knew what the procedure for, fill in the blank, was. And, of course, he did. That one was so easy I sent a second email with the subject field, “Next Question.”  And the following IMs passed between us:




Gavin: Only one question per day unless approved, in writing, with a three day advance notice!




Sue: LOL, thanks, I needed that.




Gavin: Happy to oblige . . . have a great day!




I’m going to miss sharing my office with my ISO but thank goodness for electronic communications! I’m sure we’ll be staying in touch . . . even when we move to our new home in rural Maine.

The three office mates . . . all with tails

We all have tails!

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