7 SEP 2019
Hello Corporate American Minions! Once again here I am for another installment of truth.
So in this post I want to pontificate on what sadly has become a Corporate American mainstay…the office cubicle. I am sure everyone pretty much knows what an office cube is. Basically a 6 by 6 cardboard box about 4 to 5 feet tall often covered with stylish industrial grade carpet. These little padded cells in which we spend most of our corporate lives are not one iota depressing! I once read that the designer that came up with the office cubicle concept had eventually admitted that the cubicle office design was his worst idea. While I am not an office space historian, it is my understanding that the office cubicle design started to proliferate in the late seventies and grew exponentially from there. When I first started out in Corporate America in the early 90’s, I remember old-timers referencing past office life in terms of BC and AC ….. Before Cubes and After Cubes. The majority of the time, the old-timers would be pining away for the “good ole days”, aka the office environment BC, and disparaging the office environment AC for being so ridiculous and degrading. For good measure these old timers would also trash the young punks, like me in ’91, and emphatically state that the company was wasting money hiring us. Now that I’m an office old fart…I understand the old timers….I get it….talking crap about the next generation is what we do in the geriatric generation…it’s in our DNA. It cannot be helped. It is exactly like saying you are never going to become like your parents. Then next thing you know you’re complaining about someone leaving the lights on, messing with the thermostat, and wondering where the “good scissors” are. It’s life. It’s unavoidable.
Most of my office life has been AC (After Cubes). I have spent too many hours in my own little prison cube working on meaningless projects that “must” get done! However not all of my cube time qualifies as clinically depressing, but there have certainly been enough bad citizens in the cube neighborhood that even Mr. Rogers would have lost it at times. I had one cube neighbor get so comfortable in his little cube hell-hole that he thought nothing of clipping his fingernails and toenails. If the constant sound of snip, snip, snip wasn’t enough to drive you crazy, you could always think about those toenails flipping around everywhere as he groomed himself. The only thing that separated you from those nails was a carpeted cardboard wall constructed by the lowest bidder. Then I had the considerate cube neighbor that thought we all would be interested in listening to his conference calls via his speaker phone….the volume must have been cranked up to about 10 on every call…you could hear the minion on the other end of the phone line clipping their toenails.
In one office I worked we had the “cubette” cubicle configuration. This concept looked like a half cube with only 3 and a half foot tall cube walls. This allowed managers to poke their head out of their offices and purvey their minions all at once without having to walk down every cubicle aisle and inspect each minion individually. Another crappy feature to the cubette was that they were designed so that if you sat straight up you were looking at the minion sitting across from you directly in the eye. Talk about awkward. So to avoid constantly ogling your cube neighbor, the best position was to sit with your shoulders hunched at your desk and your head hanging in a submissive manner so that your gaze was just below the top of low cube wall. Managers like submissive minions.
There are other sucky qualities to the cubicle such as no privacy. Some fellow minions have no problem stopping by your cube, sitting in your desk side chair, and telling you every one of their problems in excruciating detail. Myself and a fellow minion had once worked out a plan to handle the “un-welcomed over-stayer”. The plan was when one of us became aware that a whiner minion was overstaying their welcome, we would make a phone call to the minion under assault to give him/her a reason to get out of the conversation gracefully. Once the phone rang, the minion would answer it and tell the whiner minion in a pitiful voice “its the boss…got take this..sorry”. The whiner minion would then move on down the cubicle alley way looking for another victim to torment.
I’ve got many other cube stories but you get the picture. The cubicle is another control feature that we minions accept without question. Some minions have embraced the office cubicle prison cell by artfully decorating them to the point it rivals the Louvre in Paris! Job well done minion!
So that is it for now my fellow CA minions…send me your “cube-tastic” stories…. Be sure to check out the “THE CHALLENGE” page and send me your CA story. If I use it I’ll send you a cheap, crappy T-shirt!!!
Until next time my minion-in-arms, keep your head down and keep wearing that Kevlar underwear!!