Life is full of surprises. Last week, I took off a Friday and Monday to enjoy a much needed four day weekend full of booze, music, hiking and naps. When I returned on Tuesday, I found something that really put a damper on things: The Powers That Be moved someone unannounced into my cubicle area.
While initially it doesn’t sound that bad, I can promise you, it is. I am a creature of habit, one that likes things in order and on time. The workplace is a delicate environment and any major shift can have massive implications.
I immediately knew the work equilibrium was thrown off when I entered my cubicle area and saw that my trashcan was billowing over with shit that wasn’t mine. After scanning the landscape, I realized that someone had moved into the adjacent cubicle and put all the prior cubicle owner’s unwanted garbage into my can. What kind of savage desecrates another person’s trashcan? Her trashcan had nothing in it but an empty popcorn bag and a few bags of chips. I feel like a horse with its gait thrown off.
What I came to find out is that this “new” person was in her early 30s and a temp hire from eight months ago that was previously housed in another area. I never understood how someone can be a temp for close to a year, but it’s not my problem. She had erected a shrine to her children and looked like she had enough food to survive a nuclear winter. How the fuck did she get all this crap into the cubicle in one day?
I did what any workplace warrior would do: stole another trashcan and put my old one in the middle of her cubicle. One has to show dominance and establish their kingdom. My cubicle may be small, but it’s mine and no one can come in and try to annex my little slice of heaven. I also turned off her computer during the “Windows updating, please do not turn off the computer” mode, but that is neither here nor there.
You know what, I wouldn’t even care as much if she were friendly. I gave her the benefit of the doubt of not knowing the lay of the land, and being the nice guy I am on the quest to restore workplace equilibrium, I figured, why not be the better person? I walked the five feet over, held out my hand and said, “Hi, I’m Bernie, pleasure to meet you” to which she replied, “Hi.” No name, no formalities. You’d think I offered her a SARS infected blanket.
I write this to you over the muffled sound of some Top 40 music. This is cubicle land, buy some damn headphones because no one wants to listen to Lana del Rey or whoever it is. It’s bad enough people bring in their children to work and drop them off in my area. They are loud, they sing, and they make a ruckus while I’m trying to work. I’m sure it won’t be long before this woman brings in her rugrats, too. She seems pretty obsessed with them based on her shrine of pictures and shitty children’s drawings.
What is it about the workplace that makes it alright for people to dump all over their fellow coworker? These are the same people that complain that people are out to get them or that no one likes them but have yet to comprehend basic workplace etiquette. These people are also some of the more inept people in the workplace and get frustrated when technology flies by them.
I think it’s high time to take back the workplace. The cubicle setup is not ideal, but it is what many of us have to deal with. Somewhere along the lines, people have forgotten to be courteous and respect other people’s workspace. This morning, I couldn’t find my scissors and you know where they were? In the temps little mug with her child’s baby picture on it. Have a little pride, a little self-control and most importantly, some respect for your fellow man..
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