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Rear View

You are what you seat.

Approximately 3,600 days, or nearly 10 years of a person's life, are spent at work (eight hours a day times five days a week . . . trust us, we did the math). As the owner of your own company, you can probably multiply that figure a few times.

The point of our equation? Well, although the majority of that time is spent sitting down, "Most people don't think about chairs," Galen Cranz writes in The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body and Design (W.W. Norton & Co.). "They are part of our surroundings, meant to support us silently." But by analyzing your chair, you may discover a surprising commentary on your personality. Here's our take on the following office chairs:

Chair 1: Founder and CEO of a multimillion-dollar company? You don't say? Well, your chair certainly does. Even if you just incorporated yesterday, you know the boss sits in style, and you certainly know who's boss.

Chair 2: It's all about the funk. We're talking the vibrant colors of an artist's palette, the polished chrome of a futuristic techie, the leather upholstery of one who doesn't scrimp on style. Sitting beneath a limited-edition Picasso print, your black-clad receptionist greets clients. Your staff brainstorms while playing Ping Pong in the R & R room.

Chair 3: Mmmm, comfy. You're laid-back and accessible, so even your temps have an open-door invitation for a coffee chat. But they can't sit in your chair. Ever.

Chair 4: The temps sit here. Just kidding. But you do like simplicity in your seating. The thrills of a leather-bound headrest don't attract you. You can sit in this chair, drive a compact car and wear jeans to work--and the world will still know you run the show.

Chair 5: You're ready for the office of the future. Backrests and armrests, be damned. You know your spine can support you just fine, and the flexibility you show in your choice of seating reflects the flexibility of your thinking.

Chair 6: You like things that go fast: your car, your modem and even your chair. The sleek design of this beech, birch and steel model shows you can handle the curves of entrepreneurial multitasking.

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This article was originally published in the April 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Rear View.

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