Cubicle Life: The Why

As the winter months are fully upon us and the shortened days slowly suck the remaining vitamin D out of our pale complexions, we naturally depress and seek out former happiness. For those of us who did not go to crappy small liberal arts institutions with no major collegiate sports, we turn back to our inebriated time spent at higher learning. W relieve the memories of 1pm classes, happy hours on Tuesdays and weekends beginning on Thursdays. However, like the 5:45pm winter sun set, all good things must come to an end and come to an end quickly.

Upon graduation of college, we set off full of dreams and hopes (“Piss and Vinegar” we slowly learn) google scraper. We honestly believe we are now taking the first steps into adulthood with its responsibility and the capacity to effect change upon the world.

The first week of work is filled with butterfly tummies, wide-eyes and innocent excitement. Ultimately and indefinitely that quickly and violently changes. By the second week of work, the butterfly tummies turn to nausea, the wide-eyes turn to droopy eyes and the innocent excitement turns to apathy and discouragement.

What causes this transition from superhuman possibilities to an apathetic and out of shape individual whose only goal is to make it to Thursday’s happy hour and the corresponding sloshing and work related bitch fest?

Well for those in the world who view such events as abnormal and even reprehensible since they feel actual satisfaction for their work, I say to you, get in the damn box. The work cubical, or “cube” to those intimately familiar, is a standard 3.5 wall structure that lines the floors of offices throughout the modern world. Typically made of metal, fabric, corkboard and a Formica cover desk; it closely resembles a cell at an asylum more than a catalyst for productivity.

The cube is designed to provide a company with flexible workspaces, while providing a sense of “privacy” in a rather open environment. Cubes, in fact, provide little privacy as you sit and sleep. Besides feeling the walls literally shake whenever something dropped on an adjacent cube, you can cringingly hear the scratch/scrapping while your “cube-mate” scrapes the last bit of yogurt out of her cup with such ferocity that the action of pooling up that last quarter ounce of yogurt will burn the 879 calories from the cheesecake she just ate for her daily “cheat treat” in her latest diet craze.

Luckily some companies are seeing the idiocy of cubes and trying a half cube idea where the walls extend no more than desk height, thus a “workstation” is created. Nice, but you’re still sitting at a desk for 8 hours and now you can see your “workstation buddy” as she scrapes out that last spoon full of yogurt. Such continual close-quarters interactions lead to more workplace violence than a post-night-out Ronnie/Sammi slugfest at the Jersey Shore house (source pending, but not in time for print).

Some companies, including Intel and Google, now have work environments where people can work anywhere they want on the company campus including on couches, in kitchen areas, in ergonomically designed “sleeping pods,” outdoors, and uniquely decorated and designed work spaces.
You might be saying “Why can I not do that!?” Well, unfortunately, none you are intelligent enough to work at places such as Intel and Google. Nor are you creative enough to build a company that offers such perks.

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