When I quit my prior law firm to move onto big-time corporate town, I left behind a quaint, comfortable office that I shared with another paralegal. Sure, it wasn’t ideal. I would have killed for my own office but I never made a fuss. Plus, my officemate was quiet and nice so I didn’t have much to complain about in the first place.
On the first day of my new job, I dreamed of my new office. I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like. Did I imagine a corner office with a view of the Charleston Harbor? Of course not. Those are reserved for attorneys charging $1,000/hour. All I wanted was a small little closet to call my own.
When I was shown to my corner of the large office building, it was beyond difficult to hide my disappointment. I was in a small cubicle area that I shared with eight law clerks. Though my back faced a window (which is a rare commodity in the building), it was still a cubicle.
I told myself that I was essentially starting from the ground up again. At my old firm, I wasn’t handed an office on my first day. I had to earn it. I knew I would have to do the same thing here.
So I smiled and set up shop in my new cubicle.
The good news was that I was told my cubicle should be temporary. I held onto that promise with all my might.
A year passed.
I gave up. I tied my fate to that two-walled desk and knew that we were stuck together forever.
Six more months passed. Out of the blue, HR lady came to see me. I had heard that a big move was coming. An entire floor was being shifted around so we could rent out some of our space. I prayed this was it. Maybe I would finally get my beloved office that I had dreamed about for years.
She told me my new room number.
The smile that was plastered on my face immediately disappeared. I didn’t even have to look at the building map to know where I was moving. The ‘B’ said it all.
I was moving to another cubicle.
She walked me through the office to show me my new desk. I didn’t even try to hide the scowl from my face. We arrived at 343B and all it’s glory. Not only would I be losing the one good thing about my old desk (the window) but my new desk was in a louder and less private part of the floor. I was worse off than I was before.
It was harder to smile this time around. For almost two years, I had been told that my work was stellar; that I was a wonderful contributor to the firm. I had just been elected to an employee relations committee. I was making waves.
Or so I thought.
I know there are bigger things to worry about. I should be happy I even have a job, right?
However, I spend over 40% of my waking hours in this cubicle. I spent thousands of dollars on school to get me where I am today. I wish I could not be pissed about it. I wish I could tell myself that this doesn’t feel like a slap in the face to all the work I’ve done here over the past two years.
But I can’t. Frankly, I’ve never felt less appreciated than I do in this moment.
How can I continue to enjoy what I do, and do it well, when none of it seems to matter?
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48 thoughts on “Cubicle Controversy”
Well, I hope I can say where your next desk will be. Miss you lots 😦
Miss you love! I wish you could see it. I’m sitting next to your replacement. We’re practically right on top of each other. Every one that comes over here (even Meghan) is like ‘What the hell are you doing over here?’
That sounds so hot! The on top of each other part…nevermind! Lol.
Oh Don…. you would 🙂
Oooh, I feel you here. I Have a similar feeling about my situation that I am afraid to talk about on the interwebs. You gotta love the law firm/law world. Harsh.
I debated on writing about it but I already feel a little better. I seem really silly complaining about it but when you spend 40+ hours in a place, you better like it! Haha
Ooh, this brings back memories of the corporate life. I do feel your pain. Careful what you write when using the company internet. There is always somebody watching, listening, reading. That comes from experience. 🙂
Oh I know that 🙂 I definitely scheduled/wrote this from home. Haha
Smart, very smart.
At least you have a cubicle. I sit in a long row of desks… no seperation between the people to my right and left. Our monitors almost touch… the only space between us the narrow area allowed for file cabinets that slide underneath the desk surface… I’ve worked here for 7 years (ish)… 2 years? You’ve got plenty of time to move to that office you crave. 😛 No sympathy from me.
Now, maybe, if you actually finished one of your flash fiction stories, then I could show you some sympathy.
You want to know why I never end my stories? Because I want them to be books one day. I feel like if I ‘finish’ them, then I’ll never come back to them.
PS – Your desk situation sounds horrendous. But that’s mainly because I hate people.
I know why you don’t finish your stories. But, you’ve got to hurry up and get on turning them into books and publishing them!!
The desk situation isn’t that bad. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. We have to be so interactive during the day as we discuss market movements and how we want to respond that cubicle walls would just get in the way. Honestly, even the people who have offices here spend 95% of their time on the floor with the rest of us.
You have to talk to people!! I could never do your job 🙂
I don’t have to talk very much. Just a couple words at a time, followed by hours without saying anything.
Ugh, sorry about that. I work in HR and my last place we went from offices to cubes. Real great when dealing with private information and upset employees.
Now I am in a shared office. Not a cube but still no real privacy or quiet. I don’t think I would mind except for the type of work we do, you know?
Yeah – Cubicles are definitely the spawn of satan. I’ve never met a happy person sitting in a cubicle 🙂
It doesn’t help that I’m distracted so easily. That’s the main reason I want an office. Damn corporate world!
Sorry, but that situation sounds gross and I would hate it. I often pretend I need to listen to a recorded meeting in my office just so I can shut the door and avoid small talk for a while. Speaking to people on a regular basis completely depletes me. I hope it gets better for you!
It is gross! Haha
What really stinks is before I left my old cubicle, I was the only one in there. It still wasn’t perfect but I was essentially by myself in a huge cubicle area so it worked. Now, not so much. Ugh! Luckily, everyone on my team agrees with me so hopefully this won’t be permanent.
I wish I had something extremely encouraging and insightful to say here, but all I got is…that sucks.
It does suck!! 🙂
I know! Let’s drink the frustration away!
If it makes you feel better, I’m in the fucking break room/library for god’s sake. I do have windows though, so there’s that. No harbors nearby though. Hang in there though. I can tell you’re good at your job. SOmebody will take a shine to you and put you where you deserve to be.
Here’s to hoping! It’s just damn frustrating!
Oh man. At my last job – an international NGO – travel and offices were the only two big perks. I mean, we had amazing benefits, but the pay was your standard nonprofit pay. Many a verbal brawl was had over windows and walls.
I’m sorry you don’t have enough privacy. It’s so, so distracting.
I know! How am I supposed to be on FB with no privacy?? Haha – JK
It is hard though. Whoever came up with cubicles is an idiot! 🙂
I think every day that you do well and work hard is not a wasted day.
I hope so! It’s hard though.
That sucks, but I would welcome a cubicle. I sit in an open-plan office, with my back facing into the room so everyone can see my computer monitor, I have no idea what is happening behind me, and I have zero privacy. I also sit facing my boss, so I get to see his shiny, bald head ALL day EVERY day.
Haha! Oh man. Okay. You win.
Aw, I hear you. I was in a very different profession and always had an office (not always with a window though – I’d rather be in a cube with a window than an office without). You’ll get yours someday! Or, you’ll become a famous author and then you can just work at home!
Haha- The latter would be nice 🙂 I had gotten used to my first cube. I really didn’t mind it. Getting moved to this new one just sucks (insert whiny voice here)!!
I’ve got nothing original to say, so I’ll go with the standard because it’s just true. It sucks!!
It does!! Haha
I think this calls for a glass of wine. Toast, chick. Toast! \m/
WAY ahead of you!!
If we’re competing here, maybe not! haha!
I can’t imagine how employers expect people to do their best work in conditions like that. I’d be insulted by that move too. They’re not showing any indication that they value your efforts. I wish I could offer some new positive perspective, but that was making me angry to even read. 😦
That’s what I think too. I’m been so unproductive this week. I’m sure it will get better but I’m not diggin’ it right now!
Aww.. that really sucks. Have you tried asking about a new place? You never know until you’ve tried, right?
Only for the past 2 years! Haha
Cubicles aren’t fun, but at least you are in Charleston, SC – most awesome city in the states!
Haha – Silver lining. Yes!
I feel you. I had an office at my last job, and then when they hired someone senior to me, I was booted to an open office space. Not even a cubicle. I was at a table with four other employees. That was the day I stopped being invested in my job.
Hoping you make it out of cubicle land soon!
Ouch!! Do people not understand what that does to productivity?
I think I’m in the minority here, but I actually like working in a cubicle environment. I think it goes back to my days in the newsroom – loved being able to shout out to people and see what else was going on. In the one office I had, I felt isolated. Hated it!
Haha yeah I think you may be 🙂 My old one really wasn’t that bad. I’d gotten used to it and my view was awesome. This one just sucks. I’m practically sitting on the girl next to me.
Oh, man. That’s rough. I hear you: feeling appreciated is so key to loving your job. Hopefully a shiny new office with a window is around the corner.
I hope so 🙂