November 20, 2018

That Really Bunches My Panties . . . by Brendon Marks

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I read once that you shouldn’t make your work environment too much like home, or you may not want to leave and therefore become dull by falling prey to the ‘all work and no play’ syndrome. Many occupations (like coal miner, hog farmer, or honey wagon operator) rarely worry about this situation, but office workers must ever be on their guard.

I’m an early riser and usually was the first to arrive at work. While wandering the halls one morning it occurred to me that cubicle content says a lot about the occupant.

I use to work for a major company in a large building, and I didn’t know all the other employees, even on my floor. If I did know them all, I still couldn’t keep up with all the reorganizations and cubicle swapping that went on. Entire departments were moved out and new ones moved in over a weekend.

Once the boxes were unpacked and people got settled in, it was interesting to see what they have collected in their cubicle. (The nesting instinct.)
Early in the morning, when no one else is around, the building is quiet. The individual cubicles are deserted; equipment is shut down and lights are turned off, but the cubicles still speak volumes about the owner.

Without looking at the nameplate outside the door you can usually tell, with about ninety percent certainty, the gender of the occupant.
If it’s clean and neat, it’s not necessarily a woman, but if it’s a mess, chances are it’s a guy (but he knows where everything is).

Is there a full box of facial tissue in each corner? It’s a female. If there’s none at all or two or more empties, you can bet it’s a male.
A stuffed animal perched on top of the computer monitor–female; a Slime-ball stuck to the file cabinet–male.
A dartboard for estimating project schedules or miniature basketball net usually indicates male.

A poster on display depicting a famous sports star is not a good indicator anymore. There are as many women who fantasize about or idolize some sports hero, as there are guys who do.

Family pictures have always puzzled me. Why do people hang pictures of their family in their cubicle? I can understand a color print of a relaxing nature scene, but why family? At first I thought it was to remind themselves of the reason why they work, but that can’t be true. If it were, there would also be pictures of their house, their car, their boat, or their horse. Another possible reason could be so they will remember what their family looks like, but even that doesn’t make any sense. Kids change so fast that if you take their picture in the morning, by mid-afternoon they have something pierced, tattooed, or dyed, and look very different.

I suppose though, regarding spouses, there may be a lot of cases where a ten-year-old picture is much more pleasing to the eye than a current one.
My cubicle was different. There were no pictures. No stuffed animal, no slime ball, dartboard, or basketball net. No relaxation squeeze-ball or candy jar. There was a calendar (without a picture) and a reminder of my dentist appointment stuck to one wall. My filing system was a piling system (but I knew where everything was). The front of one file cabinet displayed my PLU label collection.

If someone wanted to know the Product Look Up number for navel oranges, I could tell them. Otherwise, every metal surface in my cubicle is covered with refrigerator magnets creating a magnetic field that filled every corner and deflected the electromagnetic radiation from my computer terminal away from me. It also prevented electromagnetic eavesdropping on my telephone conversations. Unfortunately, I had to step outside in order to use my calculator.

There wasn’t too much chance of me confusing that environment with home. The walls were a different color.

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