Speak to me of your cubicle

I work in a cubicle. I’ve got an L-shaped desk and a single shelf along the back wall. The only personal items I have are my page-a-day calendars. Some of my cow-orkers have gone way over the top decorating their cubes: Beanie Babies, dolls, flowers, plaques, pictures, toys, etc.

Our office is being moved next week and we have been advised to limit our “personal touches” to the one shelf that will be in each cubicle.

I understand wanting to personalize your workspace, but some people go nuts.

What’s your cubicle like?


It’s not too bad - not as bad as I’ve been in the past - but it’s just generally… busy. But it is bad enough that my boss asked me if someone had used my cubicle why I was on vacation.

“Uh, I don’t know, why?”

“Oh, well one day I used it (he lives/works in another state) and it was all torn up, papers were all over…”

“Uh, yeah… Maybe someone did. I’ll have to ask around.”

Personal touches: a calendar on the wall as well as a Post It Board with some stuff my kids drew, a few comic strips that I enjoyed, and an occasionally updated drawing of me in various states of distress. Oh, and a menu for the Japanese restaurant.

We were just moved this week to a new area. Our cubicles really aren’t. We each have an “L” shaped work station, arranged so the long legs meet, making an elongated “C” shape for two of us to share. Lucky for me, my semi-cube mate works elsewhere, so his half is just a repository for his boxes of stuff. Still, there are 18 of these in one large room.

One woman has a couple of plants. Lots of people have photos. I have a fairy, a sailor angel, a spongy pink die, and a family photo taken when my daughter was not-quite-2. Oh yeah, and a flamingo pen. When I get my real cubicle, I’ll personalize it a bit more.

I do have a few comics stuck to the wall. I collect them until I have enough to fill a sheet of paper, then I copy them and hang the whole sheet up. It’s not as messy looking.

The right wall is largely blank. Everything I need is in the main part of my desk. I have turned by PC on its side and shoved to the back corner. The monitor (which is a HUGE CRT) is wedged in the corner. On the back desk section (which is not that deep) holds my phone, calculator, some in/out trays and my contract binders. The main part of the desk holds the calendars and is where I do the majority of my work.

sigh I used to have an actual office…

I’m one of those “home away from home” types. I have a “Hula Honeys” calendar hanging up, and several framed pictures (two panoramic seascapes, plus a picture of a friend’s daughter, that I took, and also a picture of me and my BIL on a roller-coaster). Because I wear a walkman most of the day to drown people out (my cubicle is right by a very busy “intersection”), I also have two boxes of CDs. That and the polka-dot lizard that lives on top of my monitor.

I have a makeshift cubicle: really a corner, with a big metal cabinet blocking the third side. One big table lamp, one piano lamp from Mom and Dad’s house on the desk. No personalization except one unframed snapshot of Mom and me tacked to my message board over my desk. Lots of piles of stuff: phone books, folders, media directory, box of napkins, instant coffee, carb bars, etc. I don’t personalize, I guess, because I don’t think that the people at work need to know about my personal life. (It’s not all that interesting, for sure; but it’s my business.)

Basically, a shrine to the Boston Red Sox. And an occasional reference to personal lines insurance, which is apparently what I do for a living. My favorite thing on my desk is a framed picture of myself and my sister at Game 2 of the 2004 World Series, freezing our asses off, but having the time of our lives.

I wish I had a cubicle. This must have something to do with those “jobs” you guys are always talking about.

I think they should come with their own little ceilings. That would be cozy. sigh.

I’ve got half of a double-long cubicle that I share with a cubemate. The opening is in the center of a long wall, so I have a drawer pointed in that direction, with my monitor on it (I hate typing with my back to a door).

The rest of the cubicle is essentially bare, except for a half-dozen technical books stacked next to the telephone. Having worked off-site and been moved around for the last two years, I have no interest in personalizing my cube for fear that I’ll just have to pack it all up again next week.

Most of two walls are covered with art work from my children. Very old, some of it. Most of the rest of the cloth walls are covered with flow charts and documentation. The entire desk area (one of those L shapes) is covered with heaps of notes, drawings, print-outs and spec documents. It looks messy, but I know where everything is.

And I have the entire history of the company in coffee cups along my windowsill. We have been bought, sold, spun off, and acquired six times in eight years, and I have a coffee cup and a shirt from every change. Also by the window is my Dilbert M&M dispenser, and two filing cabinets full of files I don’t want but am afraid to throw away.

Periodically we get memos from On High that some muckety-muck is coming thru, so clean your area. I disregard these. I cleaned once, and couldn’t find anything for a week. If it is a choice between being efficient and looking efficient, I go with being efficient.