Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Cubicle Life

I have noticed this more since I actually started working in one, but cubicles suck ass and a lot of people bitch about them. As I sit in one, I start to wonder a couple of things. First, why do people dislike them so much and if people dislike them so much, why are they so prevelant?

I wonder if people dislike them so much because it sort of combines the bad aspects of social interaction and the bad aspects of being alone. The combination of these two features seems not to work too well together. The cubicle kind of forces you to be alone and apart from people but it does not give you any real privacy. Usually your little doorway shows your computer screen and you and anyone passing by can bother you or just invade your privacy. Also, if your cubicle is anywhere close to other's then you end up hearing everyone's phone conversation and improptu meeting. This would be fine if you were actually interacting with people, but it's not really that way. You are apart from everyone by default and have to make an effort to have conversations with others. You can't just take a minute to break from your work to talk to someone, you have to leave your cubicle and go have a cubicle visit. During that visit, you have to have enough to say to make it worthwhile to go see someone.

So you've got that and you've got the whole drab, boring office feng shui or whatever. I am starting to believe that physical surroundings play a huge role in mood. Maybe the Sims wasn't so wrong in that regard....

So anyway, that ends up getting to the question as to why they still exist if they suck so much. I can see their advantages to those in charge. They are cheaper than real walls and more flexible. But I wonder whether the savings are worth the cost in morale, which lowers worker productivity.

Of course, maybe it's more the job itself that makes the difference. I often come across people saying fuck working in cubicle I am through with that. I wonder if it's just that they just hate the jobs that usually lend themselves to the cubicle and it's not so much the cubicle but the work that usually leads you to work in one.

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