Friday, September 3, 2010

Cubicle

I've heard derogatory terms for office workers: "office drones," "Dilberts," "cubicle jockeys." But working in an office can be a cushy job. There's always a place to sit, it's air-conditioned and you get free coffee. Maybe it's my upbringing in the world of academe; I've always been comfortable in offices.

When I worked in an office I used my breaks and lunch hours to write. During one job I wrote a screenplay and a couple of TV scripts on the office computer. My boss was fine with it as long as it wasn't on company time. (I admit she wasn't the usual boss.)

I prefer the freelance life, but it's no coincidence that I've created an office for myself in my home. Besides writing and photography projects I keep our books and files. I've always enjoyed managing details, probably because I'm good at organizing. Who doesn't like doing things they're good at?

I especially like offices in older buildings, preferring seasoned wood to sleek chrome. If one must work in an office outside one's home, I say let it be in Old Town.

29 comments:

Clifford Beshers said...

Love this photo, Petrea. Lovely post.

Katie said...

I'd be very happy if my cubicle had a view like this! Love the brick. I too actually like working in an office (I'm a sucker for free post-its and colorful paper clips), and even like my cubicle, although I sure won't miss is while I'm away. Which starts now!

Jean Spitzer said...

Terrific photo.

Petrea said...

Thanks.

Free post-its? White collar crime.

Katie, the fact that you can personalize/decorate your cubicle is a perk I forgot to mention. Makes it homey.

mark said...

Very nice photo. I like it. I love those old Chicago brick buildings.

Petrea said...

I love the brick, too, Mark. We don't have a lot of brick buildings in southern California, and it's nostalgic to me. It does remind me of Chicago.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I never had any skills that would land me a cube

Gina said...

I have found that I am at my most productive at home, but in a designated work space (i.e., not lounging on the couch with my laptop). I am actually using my newly created home office "nook" right now for the first time and I love it. A nice clean space to work whilst I gaze at the backyard and listen to the birds. The thing I miss most about working in my "real" office at work is the lack of natural light.

Petrea said...

PA, you are not a cubicle kind of woman. That's a compliment.

Gina, I admit I'm in a constant battle with my desk to keep it organized. But at least it's my battle and not someone else's.

Latino Heritage said...

Bricks, bricks, bricks = brilliant.

Susan Campisi said...

I like to think I'm not a cubicle kind of woman, and yet, here I sit. But I do enjoy the AC, free coffee, and the fact that I'm in Old Town (although not in a nice brick building).

And I guess I shouldn't complain as I sit here on company time enjoying your lovely post and photo. Perhaps I'll start on that screenplay next.

Bellis said...

I wonder if the person in that office can get out onto the balcony for a coffee break?
My last workplace was in a converted house, and my office was next to the kitchen. It got a bit smelly when people cooked their own lunch, and I got no work done all afternoon when fried cabbage was on their menu.

J+P said...

I know why the caged admin assistant sings …

I worked in a cube, but felt like a square. So I triangulated my contacts, which pointed me toward home. Now my circle of friends is smaller, but I feel more rounded. I divided by zero & have naught but contentment.

mark said...

J+P, Now that is a verse worthy of a Pulitizer. You should do this for a living. I would pay good money to read more.

-K- said...

In addition to the bricks, it's the framing that I like.

As for office life, I guess I've made peace with it. At least in my earlier days I had a much freer life and for a lot longer than most.

Virginia said...

A great little getaway of sorts. At least there's daylight!
V

Speedway said...

I love the patterns, the subtle changes in color of the bricks. I love the warmth they imply.

The cublicled life,no way. For those of you who've managed to carve a rewarding worklife outside of a cublicle, do everything you can to maintain that life. Cherish it. Nourish it.

I was cubicled for my last 10 working years, employed by a large gov't agency we all love to abhor. My co-workers and I did not mind the work, but we hated the way it was managed; other than the military, we were among the most regulated employees in the workforce: listened to, watched, monitored, our pee breaks timed.

We were not expected to do excellent work, we were expected to be perfect. While our accuracy nation-wide was consistently high, so was the percentage of people suffering from stress-related illness: obesity (at least 2/3 of us), diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer. For the size of our office, we had a higher percentage of these illnesses than other, larger sites. We lost count of the people who'd died from those diseases.

We were isolated in our cubicles, in part, to keep us from developing any camaraderie that made the job tolerable. A co-worker once remarked that she thought it was amazing that the agency worked SO HARD to recruit intelligent, educated people then worked even harder to drum out the very qualities they'd wanted.

No one who's good at their work wants to be a manager as they have it worse. Good people either transfer out or they stay with the job because they like to feel they're helping the callers. So the worst among us were managing the smartest. Go figure.

Gradually, one's mind can become as cubicled as one's body. It is a mindset I find frightening. We need all the creative thinkers we can muster to combat the cubicle-minded among us. The need for "thinking outside the box" has a literal example of what to avoid.

Another bad thing about working in a cubicle-- as Dave Letterman said, "There's no door for you to slam behind you when you're finally able to leave."

pasadenapio said...

Suitable for framing!

Petrea said...

I've been working on a project today. Your comments are all so interesting.
I'll take the compliments (thank you Roberta, Kevin and Ann) and leave Speedway with the last word.

USelaine said...

I love this shot.

Also, will you marry me? John too? I need a person who loves keeping the bookkeeping in order, as well as someone who knows, and has escaped, the cubicle scene. I think we could make it work.

Petrea said...

Sure, Elaine. You know we already love you.

Steve Scauzillo said...

I have an office at Cal State Fullerton that is on the 6th floor. Remind me to show you a photo of it. It has a great view. Yeah, it's a cubicle and it is shared by 5 other p-t professors!

Petrea said...

I know it's not in Temple City but can you post a shot of it on your blog? Maybe a photo of the view from the window, looking toward Temple City...

Amy said...

I would kill for a window view like that from my desk... I face a wall instead. Ah, maybe one day. :)

Petrea said...

No killing, Amy. This guy faces a parking lot.

Amy said...

But look at the pretty bricks!

Petrea said...

Yes, it's a pretty brick parking lot, and between him and the lot are some pretty brick walls. I agree, it's better than just one plain old wall.

Pasadena Real Estate said...

Well said Petrea. I have always liked the unlimited coffee always ready at previous office jobs. I wish my current office would make an effort to improve our coffee situation.

Petrea said...

Maybe you should take a proactive stance on the coffee issue. Better coffee would help you do that.