Cubicles are nothing to brag about. They are open desk spaces with fabric covered partitions on three sides offering the only privacy you’re going to get. Sitting up normally provides a view in your peripheral vision of many other cube desk jockeys. Turning around reveals a row of desk jockeys behind. If you stand up to peer over the so called walls, you will see a maze of cubicles accompanied by a steady hum of people.
A cubicle is a sign that you work for an extrovert or are not senior enough to be given an office with walls. Four walls and a door. That is the working dream.
I was once a cube minion attached to a headset for hours at a time, robotically reciting a script hoping to find the sucker to boost my sales numbers. It wasn’t a glamorous job but it paid the bills. After all my hard work in college I walked away from cubicle life for good. My office came with four walls and a locking door. It also came with 30 some odd energetic students. I traded the hectic life of a public school teacher to write about my three feral darlings in the office with the invisible walls.
Now I have a real bona fide office with walls. Four real walls, a closet, and a non-locking door. But it can still be shut. Life could not be better right? All those times I couldn’t concentrate because the invisible walls consisted of a metal baby gate that the kids learned how to get into … All the times the voices in my head were competing with rambunctious squealing and a loud TV in the other room … That’s all over.
Creativity has taken a hit. I have learned that maybe I work best in the middle of chaos. It’s hard to think when I have a deskmate behind me. I’m fine if he’s on the phone but when he’s got Cheers on in the background my train of thought derails constantly.
The office is at the end of two hallways. You don’t get much more tucked away than this. Or lonely. Once my deskmate leaves I get the place to myself. All I can hear are cars driving on the street and crickets chirping. I cannot hear the sound of great story ideas, much less the voices in my head.
Working in a cubicle took some patience and getting used to. The office with the invisible walls was a delicate balancing act as well. It didn’t take long for my mind to completely ignore everything going on around me. Bleeding and dying were exceptions that got through. Maybe it won’t be that bad to work in an office with walls. I hope.