In today's Washington Post there is an article entitled "Low Walls Call for a Low Profile." It offers tips for office-dwellers transitioning to a cubicle.
This article needed to have been written back when I worked for a massive national nonprofit in the late 90's. Good God. I HATED Cubeland with a passion, not simply because I couldn't order my clinique.com products in privacy, but because most of my fellow colleagues had no clue how to operate in an open environment.
The article offers the following tips:
Keep Your Voice Down.
Amen. I knew waaaay more than I needed to about the executive assistant's pap smear results, her boyfriend's anatomy, and her sister's drug problem simply because her cube abutted mine.
Control the Cell Phone.
Um, yeah. I don't need to hear the full "Ride of the Valkyries" or worse, "Rump Shaker" in the office. How about a regular ring, sweetie?
Ask Before Entering.
Another Amen. I kept a pile of books on my cube chair for the sole purpose of dissuading Roving Chatters to not sit down. And, mental note, if I am on the phone, assume you can't come in. Duh.
Avoid Sneak Attacks.
Which is why I had a cheapie mirror on my computer. So I could avoid routine heart failure every time someone tapped my shoulder.
Don't Pile Up.
Amen again. Do NOT hold meetings--or worse, conference calls on speakerphone--in your cube. Get a conference room. Really.
Keep Your Germs At Home.
Stay home if you are sick. I kept those little pump bottles of rubbing alcohol next to my desk to ward off the common cold banshee. It looked a little anti-social to wash my hands when someone left, but no more anti-social than they looked sneezing on my keyboard.
Choose Your Decor Carefully.
Drunken college photos are out, classy girl. My most "out there" wall hanging was a Vanity Fair cover of the delicious Ewan McGregor in a kilt. (If you know me, you know that the greatest aphrodisiac in my world is a man with hairy, manly legs in a kilt. Rowwwrrrr).
Choose Food Carefully.
Okay. This is serious. When I worked at an agency in Atlanta, I worked with a "raw foodist," a man who did not cook anything. To this day, I cannot eat cantaloupe melons because he filled the office kitchen with overripe cantaloupes and ate them around the clock. The smell--to this day--makes me gag. It was overpowering and cloying and gamey and horrible. I spent hours and days wishing he'd cook up some nice halibut just to get rid of the overripe cantaloupe rank miasma around my cube. Bleeeaaah.
Yes indeedy. Nothing like an "I can hear you, sweetie! Get a room!" lobbed over the cube wall to save you from another story of connubial bliss on the part of your coworker.
Happy Monday, y'all!