For so many years I have heard people make fun of cubicles and the people who inhabit them. Everything from TV shows to comic strips have long loved to insult the ever hated cube. Even the people working in them yearn for that corner office to escape the “cubicle monkey” namesake. I for one, don’t really get it. In my relatively short career I have worked at 3 different companies across 5 different office buildings and I have yet to find a cubicle I don’t enjoy. Have I just been lucky? How did I escape winding up like this guy? (this was later found to be fake, but the point is the same)
I can understand the cubicle monkey mentality, and I have seen some examples of really poor cubicle layout which makes it seem like you are working in a sweat shop, I think a lot of these setups are found in companies which are not technology focused. Possibly you will find the typical tiny shared cubicle layout where everyone is almost elbow to elbow in companies focused on customer support, telemarketing, or some sort of sales; however it seems the people who are most commonly labelled as cubicle jockeys are people in tech careers such as myself. For exaple, I can see how the below image would simply suck. If I had to guess though, this layout is some sort of sales force or low-paying telemarketing job.
The other end of things, where us uber high-end tech folks live for 8 hours a day is more like my cubicle. My day is spent in a cube which is about 8′x8′, I have a nice L-shaped desk, two sets of cabinets, two sets of drawers, my own closet, a nice private doorway, 7′ high walls, and room for a couple of extra chairs in the back. I have my own phone, with my own phone number, I have two 20″ LCD monitors, and I am rarely bothered. To be quite honest, my cubicle is quite a pleasant place to work. It’s not an office, but its definitely the next best thing. I even have nice little personal items scattered about and my own white-board. Across from me is a window with a nice view of some trees, and less then 100 feet from me is a nice outdoor patio with picnic tables. Is this that uncommon? Am I just incredibly lucky?
I tend to doubt it. I work at a 100 year old company who is highly tech-centric yet very old-school at the same time. If you look at the layouts of some of the newest most up-to-date tech companies you will find their office layouts to be even more comfortable. Even members of my family think of me as some keyboard mashing, vampiric cubicle dweller who is treated like Milton from office space. How can we break this stigma? Do I have to get a job at google, who has one of the most highly regarded office environments in order for people to believe that I am not just another Dilbert depicted cube dweller?
I really hate the way people in IT get labelled by the rest of the world. All of the folks who work in other industries think of us as having the super easy sit on your ass all day jobs that everyone dreams of. We get made fun of for sitting like cattle in large grids of cubicles with the only light our skin is exposed to being the beautiful hum the fluorescents above our heads. Since when is being smart, and using a computer a bad thing?
I don’t know about the rest of you fellow IT people out there but I for one don’t spend my entire day mashing away at a keyboard, my PC is simply the tool I must use to accomplish my job, and my cubicle is quite honestly a very comfortable and private place to get that work done.
Next time you want to make fun of one of your IT friends for their mindless lazy cubicle job, maybe ask for a tour of their office, or see if you can come to work with them one day. I think most people would rather keep their construction or waitressing job after spending a day in my shoes.