Working Well: In Praise of Marie Brine

For years I have struggled with getting the right workstation setup. After injuring myself slowly but effectively for two years in my mid-twenties spending eight hours a day sitting on a secretarial desk chair made for someone half my size, I’ve been flirting on the edges of wrist and neck pain. Just on the edges: I can go for months with no problems, and then, after a late-nite orgy of programming or writing, can have two weeks of “pins and needles.”

In an effort to come to better understand the dynamics of all this, I shopped around for an occupational therapist. If I worked for a Big Corp, or paid WCB premiums, I would have ready access to ergointelligence; but I don’t, and you’d be amazed at how hard it is to find on your own.

Thankfully, with the help of someone at the WCB, I got referred to Marie Brine, a freelance occupational therapist. I called her up, explained my situation, and we made an appointment for her to come and give me an ergoaudit (my word, not hers).

And so on September 12, along she came. We spent about an hour talking about my chair, my table, my posture. She showed me two or three really important adjustments on my ObusForme chair that I didn’t know about. She watched me work, She gave me some helpful exercises.

What impressed me the most was that she was willing to work in the real world, not some ergonomically perfect world where I would be expected to do the equivalent of eating all my vegetables.

For the last month and a half I’ve been experiencing the benefits of my session. It’s not been a dramatic or life-changing thing, just a combination of little hints that have made me a better, more comfortable, more productive worker.

Late last week I got a call from Marie: she had been at the Summerside Clearance Centre, a used furniture store, and had seen a desk/table set she thought would work really well for me. On Monday I drove up with Oliver, and she was right. I’m now the proud owner of an infinitely adjustable table and desk. Both are extremely ugly (with ugliness verification provided by the aesthetes at silverorange). But they’ll make me a better worker.

I highly recommend Marie’s services to anyone who spends any amount of time in front of a keyboard. For less than $100, you can get advice that will potentially save you years of pain and agony later.

Contact Marie at (902) 393-5151 or by email at mbbrine@islandtelecom.com.

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