Lin-Manuel Miranda nails with grace the power of the boss’s desk in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” with Larry David – Quartz at Work


Power develops through all kinds of forces in the office, visible and invisible. Through job titles, strategic clicks and the way people use time (by having people wait for a meeting or response via e-mail, for example), we point out who has influence. Even during business lunches and companies, what we eat and how much we eat is dictated by our social position.

Actor and comedian Larry David, a meticulous observer of life's micro-moments, turned to another, less-examined measure of power in the office as a source of inspiration for this week's HBO episode Curb Your Enthusiasm : the size and weight of the boss's desktop.

Although they are becoming rare artifacts now that open offices and flat structures are in vogue The largest office desks in the corner still live in some corporate spaces. In the same way that powerful people can take more time, they are allowed to hoard space and sit on a literal elevation. That said, psychologists have observed that furniture arrangements that offer static dynamics are unusual for the offices of senior executives. Instead, most will have a common seating area where peers can sit together, separated from the large desk that has the power of a throne or bench.

That's the kind of office David and his agent Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin) are in a fictitious meeting with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the real-life creator of the hit musical Hamilton, at the Miranda agent's office in Los Angeles. They are there to talk about David's project, Fatwa! The Musical! that David has written and Miranda has agreed to produce. The agent fully uses the spacious office for the three men, but while David and Greene choose two chairs in a group of four, away from the agent's large desk, Miranda takes over the command center, the executive desk, and badumes the position. of power, leaning back and resting his feet in stealth.

David and Greene had their wish list to enter, but David soon abandons his goals and accepts the details of Manuel's vision. Even his voice becomes meek.

When they momentarily leave the office, allowing Miranda to attend, Greene confronts David. "You were so determined there," he says, referring to the lobby of the building where the two had huddled. "What the hell happened?" He asks.

David thinks for a second, bewildered, then realizes: "It's the desk!" He continues: "It's the power of the desk, he's up, I'm depressed, everything he says, I say, yes, he's in the boss's chair, it's like he's my boss."

At the next meeting, David and Miranda meet in the aisle of the agency and run quickly to the borrowed office in an attempt to reach the mega desk first.

The buffoon works because it is true: the context, including furniture, exercises its own power in the decision-making process. The boss gets the seven-foot-wide desk because it has weight and permanence, while the rest of us are not badigned ornaments, mobile workstations and small satellite work desks

It's pretty, pretty, pretty unfair.

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