Meditation: On Cubicles
AT is all about the home, but let’s face it: we’re New Yorkers, which means we probably spend more time at work than anywhere else. So how much investment do we make in our work spaces?
For my work-mates and me (believe it or not, poetry isn’t my day job), the answer is: an awful lot. A year or two ago, we moved into a dirty, dingy space that no one else wanted and spent our own time and money turning it into a great working environment.
We hung real framed art, bought Flor squares to cover part of the industrial gray carpet, and bought lots of lamps and succeeded in getting the overhead flourescents turned off. We found that the layout of the space–low-walled cubicles flanking a well-trafficked hallway, with space behind us for file storage and occasional temp help–perfectly suited our work styles, giving us easy access to one another without being on top of each other. Other groups with whom we worked closely were stationed nearby, so we could collaborate effectively and feel part of the larger flow of the office.
It’s no flood or fire, to be sure, but when we were told last week that, as a result of corporate restructuring, our group has to move to another floor, it felt like a disaster and a demotion. The new, smaller space is truly soulless, far from our colleagues in other departments and from the hub of the office. Needless to say, it’s near no windows, and nobody’s getting an office out of the deal.
So, other than brushing off our resumes, what’s a cube farmer to do? Everyone has their terrible moment, and Herman Miller’s is surely the invention of the cubicle. How much effort should we make to personalize our new digs, knowing that we’ll be moving again in another year, again to a place not of our choosing. I mean, what’s minimalism, and what’s just sad?
photo credit: hanzov69