Tuesday, May 08, 2012

back up the truck

I have a load of thoughts to unload. 

What? I have to sort these recyclable thoughts? 

Ok then just bring your little Radio Flyer wagon over here.

Once upon a time, I worked in cubeland, forced to labor in the cubicle maze, the cube farm. 

You or someone you love may spend days with their heads down wondering if these less than three inch walls of cheap fiber will be all there is to a corporate career. 

There is hope. You can escape. I did.

But if you are confined during your working hours to a cubicle, please take notes. The cubicle stories make for great blog posts and even movies. 

Today I read two posts that relate to the cube farm office. 
When Interns Attack” by Pearl. 
The Day of Three Burritos” by Dawn

It’s worst when you have experienced the better office life. Similar to flying a first class upgrade and having to return in economy just-keep-still-in-your-seat class. 

Having done time in a factory, the USAF and odd jobs, an office job appealed to me. My corporate world engineering job started with a shared office and then eventually my own small office. These offices came with a window and a door. I remember smoking in my office but fortunately I later dropped that awful habit completely. You don’t find cubicles with doors and a few of them masquerade with walls shorter than a track hurdle. But before the start of the new millennium I was sitting in a cubicle getting the creativity sucked from me daily.

Speaking of sucking - I once had a cube neighbor who would suck soup for lunch. Oh, I like soup but hearing this guy slurp his soup was disgusting. 

Overhearing funny or interesting comments happen. But no one wants a gopher head to pop over the wall to offer you some advice regarding a topic you were just talking about on the phone. I suspect the popularity of texting and email is partly due to cubicle life.

My best engineering job came with a private office (real window, door). Even then, since the doors are almost always left open I could overhear Phil-the-Greek in the next office. He was fit for a role in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. He would laugh when I brought up scenes from that movie. 

His arguing and tenacity in seeking justice for any wrong he thought came his way would have won him the Nobel Prize for Pain-in-the-ass if such award existed. He once (no lie) called the postmaster of United States to complain about a damaged package or late delivery. I think he settled with a staff person’s offer of sending him a few sheets of stamps.

One afternoon I heard him arguing away and I decided to visit another co-worker or maybe harass an executive assistant. Anyway I popped in the break room on my return trip to find him there snacking leftovers from a conference meeting. I asked about who he was arguing with on the phone. He told me and then told me that he left the call on hold while he got a snack (the break room was down the hall and around a corner from his office). Seeing my dumbfounded look, he told me that the A--holes leave him on hold all the time so he was just getting even. I thought I should get him to call my home cable company for me next time. 

If you have been working on the cube farm, I would love to hear about it. 
Note: cubicle heads/figures are from The Cubes.


Dawn@LightenUp! said...

" I was sitting in a cubicle getting the creativity sucked from me daily."
You have just described my life to a T. Great post here, on the cubicle farm.Loved it. :)
The Green Boot Limey

Ducky said...

I wasn't in the cube farm but classrooms aren't so dissimilar and there is always the staff lounge. I most often wanted to fork myself in the eyeballs while in there. I DID get out! Whoooo! And I couldn't be happier. There are things I will miss but generally, it is much better at my own kitchen table for lunch and my own bathroom to poop

savannah said...

i left office land a long time ago, sugar! this post nailed it exactly. i'm so much happier working from home in my pj's when i want to! xoxoxoxo

Barbara said...

I spent seven years in a part time job where I experienced everything you described, including the disgusting sounds of the person next to me. I didn't even have my own cube... just plopped down in whatever one was vacant that day. But I didn't realize it could get worse. My next job provided my own 'office' (actually a spare bedroom) with a window, but the work was so tedious and the only other coworkers were a married couple... it was definitely a creativity sucker for me. 

Frau said...

I did my fair share of cube days.....most I have blocked from my memory bank! My hubby company that he works for went office less and all are in cubes....he hates it especially because of the loud talkers and BSers! Plus people interrupt all day long! 

lisleman said...

 thanks - so are you going to keep your new name - Green Boot Limey?

lisleman said...

 Stabbing yourself with thought of stabbing yourself can ruin your mood.  Good to hear it's a better situation now for lunch but don't give me TMI.

lisleman said...

thanks - I've done a bit of working from home.  Many advantages but I must admit if a project involves a team which was common in my field having a face-to-face location is needed part of the time.

lisleman said...

wow a musical cube game.  So you worked in this couple's home and really didn't get along with them well?  thanks for sharing

lisleman said...

 Interruptions are a big problem in any place with a group of people.  The sources of distraction (hope my blog becomes one ;)  are increasing and the cube walls are decreasing.  Doesn't make sense to me.   thanks

Shrinky said...

I'm fortunate enough to have never had to suffer the soul-destroying experience of working in such an environment, though I've certainly shared offices, they have always come with real doors and windows to them!  

lisleman said...

 That is fortunate.  Given this cubicle trend I imagine your children might not be so lucky.  I think the size of the company is the biggest factor in cube vs. office.  thanks for sharing a comment.

Jennifer Richardson said...

well bravo to you for hightailing it out of there!
A little red wagon does make for a great
escape vehicle.
standing up and cheering inside,Jennifer

lisleman said...

 We still have an old red wagon like that.  It's a little rusted and banged up but we use it for carrying plants and stuff around the yard.

Reena Walkling said...

Been there, done that years ago.  Thankfully no longer!  I enjoy my home office and my bird co-workers!

oceangirl said...

I think we all had to go through of the same.  Looking forward to move on and move in into a different kind of cubicle.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I've never worked in a cubicle.  After the usual teen jobs of babysitting and fast food, I did work one summer in an office but not in an actual cubicle.  And then the work I do know requires a private office.

lisleman said...

 Yes, I'm still looking for someone who misses cubicles.  The bird co-workers probably don't even expect many treats either.

lisleman said...

This different kind of cubicle sounds mysterious.

lisleman said...

 I don't think you missed anything.  Do any of your patients complain about their cubicle drudgery?

oceangirl said...


sparkle.farkle said...

If you work in a cubicle, is your down-there hair known as "cubic"?

lisleman said...

Depends on how you cut it but I don't.  You have lead me into TMI and now I'm backing out of here.

Jene said...

I was in a cube at my last job, then I had an office when I came here. Unfortunately, the foundation went to a more open-office model, and 90% of us are back in cubes again. As far as cubes go, it's a nice cube, it's really big, 6' walls, blah blah blah. But it's still a cube.

In my old corporate cube farm one of the programmers used to make the most awful sounds. Lots of bodily functions going on over there. I also hated walking past his cube because his shirts were never quite long enough and there was always a full moon on the rise.

lisleman said...

 LOL - seeing a full moon in the middle of day while indoors.  Thanks for sharing that funny story.

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