why are cubicle walls padded?
life in a cubicle maze is enough to drive one insane. why make the extra effort to make the walls padded? doing so only reinforces a feeling of going mad. when’s the last time you were inspired hedged in by the gray pads of cubicle walls?
I worked in a cubicle maze for eight months after the company i had been working for went belly up. so, i did my time. i marched into the seven story glass cube every day. i had my id/security card on one of those zip cords clipped to my pocket. you know, the ones where you pull the card out to scan it at a door and it sharply zips back to its base. just hope you don’t let go of it too quickly otherwise you’ll get an unwelcome wake up call in your nether regions.
i took the elevator up to the 4th floor. i pulled my id/security card from my pocket to unlock the maze. in i went. each row of cubes in hierarchical order. it was an office caste system. coordinators (peons) nearest the aisle in the smallest cells, or cubes. then specialists (still peons, but cells a bit larger…this was me), then managers (made sure to let everyone else know they were no longer in the peon class and even larger cells), then the directors (the cool kids, the upper class with windows and a double cube). mine was the 3rd row down. second cube on the right. that was me.
i’d spread out the 5lbs of food i packed for the day and mentally schedule my breaks in order to break up the monotony and stay awake. granola bar at 9:00am. chips and hummus at 11:00am. lunch at 1:00pm (the later the better, makes getting through the end of the day easier). 3:00pm a handful of almonds. and 2 more granola bars and some energy drinks to ward off an unexpected energy crash. there was always coffee in the break room in case of severe emergencies.
same people. same conversations.
monday’s greeting: “how’s it going” response: “well, it’s monday” or, “how was your weekend?” response: “went by way too fast.”
tuesday is a non event. no one talks about tuesday. sorry.
wednesday: “we’re almost there”
thursday: “is it friday yet? any plans for the weekend?”
friday: “how’s it going” “well, it’s friday”
i didn’t last very long. my breaking point was as follows:
my higher level peon (manager) called me in for my 6 month review. he went on to tell me i was management material. and that if i put in 2 or 3 more years in my cell i’d be eligible for parole. i mean, i’d have a good chance at making manager. i was going cubically mad. gray padded walls. awkward cube birthday celebrations. you know, that strange moment when everyone mumbles along to happy birthday just hoping they can go back to their cells. i was losing my mind, losing my heart, losing my creativity, losing myself. i resigned two months later. made a move. met my wife and found the job i’m in now. it took 8 months in a cell to wake me up to make a change. how long will it take you?