I can't start this article before I pay tributes to the person who inspired this thought in the first place. Its none other than Scott Adams of Dilbert, the designer of - The Ultimate Cubicle - (believe me it exists). I had read one of his comic strips once, which showed Dilbert saying:
"I am the king of this cubicle
and these are my subjects
- the mouse, the monitor, the keyboards and the box"
Let's face it Cubicles rule our life. Now we are not privileged as Americans to have our companies tailor our cubicles, but we are unfortunate to have them. I am going to focus more on IT offices because well that is what plagues me. No matter how hard the students of the best college of architecture try, nothing can make the insides of an IT office exciting. Ever noticed that bigger the office the more flashy its interiors are and if you are in a maintenance project, the bigger your cubicle is. When you pass one of those rooms with the nameplate on it and see the person inside, you are not envious of his position but are envious of his 'master cubicle'. I have worked in four offices and have experienced different cubicles. This article will not only warn every aspiring software engineer (oh! I know there are many) of the dangers of a bad cubicle but also give some tips and tricks to select the right one and spice up the place you live in your cubicle. Hence the title Cubicle Vastu shastra
PS - Don't use this article to start a chain of mails of things to do in office when you are getting bored.
Pick the one which is at the corner
If you don't get one fight for it. In the matters of love, life, money and cubicle everything is justified. After having a heavy meal at the decorated canteen of 'rice' and 'dal' all you can think is how to catch a quick wink without anyone noticing. At this time you are going to bless my soul for suggesting this idea to you. Most of the offices think that by keeping team members together is conducive to the health of the project. Their view point is right till the time they think that the boss is not a part of the team .So if you are about to catch up with your afternoon siesta you wouldn't want to let your Project manager see you. Chances are that he would be doing the same in his big cubicle, but it is always better to play safe. Corner cubicle would ensure a peaceful nap and then you can also do things like pick your nose, watch porn (though it offices have firewalls nowadays unless your friend is a security administrator)
Try to get one near the coffee machine
It is hard to stay awake in the office isn't it? Especially after the wild party you had last night. Hence the new culture in every office is to have a coffee vending machine. Some employees even make it a criterion for joining. When you are trying to stay awake your savior blabbering friend arrives and suggests you to grab a cup of caffeine -Oh sorry I meant coffee. . If I may say coffee it's like a dope for people in the IT office. One of the most common addictions for people in any IT office is addiction of coffee. Wonder if there are rehabilitation centers for coffee. Just heard on the morning radio that Eminem is on a rehab for sleeping pills. Anyway, that's diverging from the topic. If you stay close to the vending machine chances are that you will get addicted and can sue the company and also you can have regular chitchat with all the people who come there and believe me there is a regular inflow of people. This also ensures your heightened popularity. So if the office ever has an election, you know who will win.
Your neighbor has to be beautiful and should smell good
Now this applies to girl as well as a guy. Nothing wrong in peeking over to the other person cubicle and having quick talk or some companies' call it shorts talks. Or small talk. Get him/her some gifts sometime and pretend to share some of the things like a showpiece kept at the barricade of your cubicles. Share coffee and foodstuff. As you give so shall you get. There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a cubicle next to the smelly aroma of your neighbor and if your neighbor is loud chances are that you will have to have one Anacin everyday to keep the doctor away. Another candidate for a neighbor is someone who gossips a lot on the phone. You will hear one of the best stories of your office and will always be updated without getting spammed with advertisement.
From where you can see the horizon
The bad part about American offices is that the cubicles are too high 'representative of the closed nature of the people here. But in most Indian offices if you stand you can see what every person is doing in their cubicle . Get a cubicle like that. When you get really bored just stand and you can see what your friend is doing and can wave to him . Also you can see if your boss is approaching with some new work so that you can sneak into the toilet and basically avoid listening to him brag about himself
Spice up your cubicle
Some of the ways you can accessorize your cubicle are:
- Stuff toys if you are a guy - Every pretty girl in the office will flock to your cubicle.
- Cars posters - I have seen it in all the guys cubicle wonder why the girls don't put it up. Put it up if you are a girl, the guys would get interested.
- Post-it notes - I have seen cubicles with post-its on all the three walls. If that is the amount of work the person has I don't think he can finish it before retirement. Don't overuse them but they can become a good decorative tool
- A pet- you can sometimes get a toad from the nearby drainage and leave it near your desk. After some time it will stroll around the office making someone write all in a days work
- Weird showpiece - Keep something everyone will ask about and maybe showcase it with some lights . I once saw a cubicle with a big rear view mirror kept. Wonder what that was for even today. I keep a hand cream and believe me it is the star attraction
- Dustbin - You have to have it !
- Documents - To show that you are working pin up some documents.
- Office paraphernalia's - Most office's have a limited supply of paraphernalia's and if you have them everyone will ask you.
- Keep home made Food - You know it's a people magnet
Stay away from the printer
I once knew a guy who had the misfortune of having to share his cubicle with the printer . No the printer is a loud piece of furniture. After some time one could see the occupational hazards. He was always plagued with questions like -
- Is it not working?
- Is it out of paper?
- Where can I get more paper?
- Is the ink low?
- How do I change to Tray 2 ?
- What is plain letter?
After some time he died or in other words he quit. Last I heard he was found in an asylum playing with papers
Get a cubicle with a phone line
Talk to your long lost friends when you are in the office. Don't waste your time catching up with people at home. Make the office compensate for all the salt you have lost for them . Make them pay
Finally, I would just like to say for the health wealth and prosperity of your mind body and soul choose your cubicle wisely. It is one of the most important decisions of your life. Be the king of the cubicle or become a subject to its hazards.