Posts Tagged ‘Cubicles’

It’s fairly safe to say that when I started my job nine months ago, I was completely ignorant to corporate bureaucracy. Because of my ignorance, I did not take offense when on day one, my boss led me to a workstation instead of a cubicle.

You see, a cubicle has three sides that rise almost as tall or taller than the employee who sits in them. Space is left for a door if you so desired screwing one in. It has several drawers for filing and to hold personal belongings. Often it even includes a chair to be used for quick meetings between colleagues. Two-thirds of the cubicle is lined with a beige metal shelf to hold products, files, clutter and beneath the back wall, fluorescent “track” lighting glows on the desk. The computer keypad hides beneath the main desk on a black stand, making the entire work space appear sparse, clean and organized.

But walk ten feet and you move into my ‘open’ workstation. I am about a foot taller than my three ‘walls,’ two of which seem to be more like partitions. The top of my boss’s head is clearly visible as she bops round the corner with a knock on the…metal cabinet which serves as my drawer, my door, and my desk. I am only allotted one lengthspan of desk space with no drawers and no little black stand for my computer’s keypad.

The Office Dictionary

More and more often now I am brought into meetings. My Outlook Calendar blinks orange 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time, and just as I do with the morning alarm, I snooze it to 5 minutes before I need to be there. I sit around a table with twelve others, three of whom dial in on the conference line. Their voices chime through at various times during the meeting, but otherwise I forget their existence, until one focuses on a specific point He disagrees with.

Several pairs of knowing eyes in the room meet, roll, and dart up or down. People smirk into coffee cups or chew their pens while He continues harping on His point, long ago moving away from whatever topic was originally on the agenda. The looks continue as He rattles from this argument to that until one person finally interrupts,

”Guys I think we should take this up, offline.”

OfflineProbably my most favorite phrase I’ve encountered since entering the working world. What I’ve gathered in terms of meaning is that it’s a politically correct word for one of two statements:

“This is f-ing ridiculous. Why are we wasting my time discussing it”

“You’re wrong and your idea is stupid. We will nix it later”—i.e. Offline.

Either way it’s perfect and I believe it to be a welcome addition to my person vocabulary.

Set a Reminder

The coffee-cup gossip that would involve my name still makes me flush with embarrassment, even though in the end it did no real damage. Since my workstation lacks the proper space for any personal belongings, often they just sit out and I fish through them for my gum or lip gloss throughout the day. My bag usually packed with clothes and sneakers from my morning gym trip, my lunch and other odds and ends, remains open for most of the day, without any additional thought from me.

But a few weeks ago, I learned a lesson when I stepped into a catch-up with my boss. While I was away from the desk, my very own ‘Michael Scott*’ swung by to ask me a question. A co-worker saw him hunting for me and let me know when I returned. I sat down to shoot him an email when I happened to glance to my left. There, for all the world and Michael* to see was my favorite, tattered sports bra, just chillin’ outside my bag, hangin’ out…just air-dryin’.

As I sat there staring at my oldest, ratty undergarment, knowing it should be in the trash, all I could picture was Michael* recoiling in disgust as he gave-up looking for a post-it to leave me a note and shrank back to his safe, sterile office with a door he could close and a drawer for his personal stuff.

At that moment, I couldn’t wait to become management.

*clearly not his real name


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