Monday, June 06, 2011
People who complain about being trapped in a cubicle: at least that's your cubicle. I've been working in professional offices for 13 years and until now I've never had a cubicle of my own, a little workspace I can piss all over (metaphorically) and keep my stuff.
In my previous job, I shared a desk with another editor. Sometimes our shifts overlapped. I'd be working late, and he'd show up with nowhere to sit -- and because he'd been working there longer, I'd have to move my stuff. Before that, I shared a desk with other editors too. When I left my stuff on the desk, when I came in the next day my stuff would be shoved to one side, presumably because someone else had used that space to keep their own stuff. The walls were too low for me to tack anything to, and besides, why would I want to post a picture of my wife in a cubicle so other people can stare at it? Before that, my workstation was two tables next to each other at perpendicular angles, one just large enough for the computer and the other cluttered up with papers.
Since starting my new job, I have a place to keep my own stuff. They even gave me a key to lock up my stuff if I so choose. Now that I can keep stuff on my desk, I'm going a little overboard. I brought in my old Magic 8 Ball from college, I guess to help me make vital decisions on deadline. I brought in two mugs -- one to keep pens in and the other for coffee. I have an AP style guide and a thesaurus, a Mensa daily calendar, an alarm clock because the office wall clock is just out of my sight line, an in-out tray, a paperweight shaped like a ball of crumpled paper, a padded mouse mat, a box of tacks, several pictures, and two plants. I don't even like plants. But I feel like I should have plants. I bought a jade plant, which will probably die because it's not sunny in there, and some other plant whose species I can't remember but it's got long green spiky leaves like the top of a pineapple but not as thick or sharp. If I could get away with it and not look like a lunatic, I'd also decorate with Christmas lights, bobbleheads, a white board, an iPod dock, a tiny coffee maker, a coaster for my coffee mug, a board to eat sandwiches on, a lamp, a fan, and a goldfish.