Worst place to have a desk in a traditional work setting

I don’t doubt that the twisted minds of Dopers can come up with all kinds of awful locations to place a desk. But I’m more interested in bad desks you’ve had or seen in a work place.

For example - next to the break room which holds a microwave where people heat up heinous leftovers for lunch.

My worst was in a cubicle in an office - mine was the first you’d pass as you came in. Naturally, because I’m of the female persuasion, many folks assumed I was a receptionist or that I kept track of my coworkers. It was difficult not to be rude with the numerous interruptions.

In the building where I work now, there’s one unfortunate soul who sits facing the ladies’ room door, which is right next to the mens’ room door. One would hope he’s learned to block out the traffic past his desk all day.

I’m sure these aren’t even close to the worst out there. Do share!

My office is directly across from two single bathrooms so I get to hear farts and groans all day but I don’t care because at least I have a real office. The worst that I know of is an open floor plan cubicle farm. Our sister site is moving to that and people have to reserve temporary cubicles by the day to work. I have no idea who ever thought that would be a good idea but it is an idea that keeps raising its ugly head like a dragon in the night and won’t go away. They tried to move me to that model as well and I refused under the penalty of resignation.

I worked in an open floor plan office once - imagine a couple dozen engineers with all their crap overflowing from desks to floor to the few cabinets and shelves available. It was, um, interesting…

Right next to a row of meeting rooms, people are always gathering behind me, it’s unnerving.

Just down from the kitchen where someone kept microwaving fish was worse though.

I once had a job where I was part of a team of people and I was closest to the door. Don’t be closest to the door. When people come in to ask for shit they ask the person closest to the door. My work load was always more than everyone else’s.

When we moved, they let us pick our desks and came to me first (I was closest to the door, natch). I picked the desk two miles in the back and was at peace forever more.

My current desk, though not horrible, is about the worst I’ve had.

Behind me is a conference room which is frequently used for depositions. Depositions can get very heated, as the attorneys probe the deponents with nosy questions, and the deponents want to fight back. Sometimes a big brouhaha can erupt - about ten feet behind me.

I’m also the closest person to the receptionist’s area. The receptionist is quite popular, and when there are no clients in the lobby, people stop by to chat with her. They’re all young women with shrill, chirpy voices. A half hour or more of that really gets on your nerves.

Next to the asshole that whistles the whole damn day. And he has so much seniority that no one can say anything to him.

Mine was by the empoyee entrance. There were 10 foot tall, heavy fire doors that SLAMMED when they were closed in the winter if people (which was pretty much no one) didn’t hold them while they closed. Plus, I got the cold air. AND I was forced to smell the perfume and aftershave of every perfume and aftershave wearing person in the company as they walked past. I don’t miss any of that.

But, my current department is having an “open work space” plan foisted on them in the coming months. We’re a department that requires FOCUS rather than collaboration so it might eclipse the above. Oh, and our desks won’t even have drawers. I need to find a new job.

My gf is in advertising. The agency she used to work for had the 12th floor (IIRC) of a building in downtown Pittsburgh near the point. Her desk looked out through a glass wall. I could never get anything done sitting there. There’s constantly something to see. She learned to ignore the view.

The job I had before starting my own business went through a painful remodel. They originally planned for an elevator in the 3 story building, then changed the plans halfway through the project. When I gave notice, they tried to tempt me to stay by telling me I could have the elevator shaft as an office. They’d put a skylight in the roof. Imagine a relatively small office with a three story cathedral ceiling. It was tempting.

That’d be “up the butt”, Bob

I had the desk that faced the men’s and ladies’ washrooms. What was nice about that was that I could be sure no one was already in there if I needed to go. Only rarely did the smell escape. I could also warn my fellow coworkers if someone had been in there for a while. I was also right by the entrance door, but since I was the receptionist, it was my job to do the meet and greet, except that the desk was set up so I was looking away from the door as I worked. It was also facing away from the entire rest of the office so people would often unintentionally startle me by coming from behind with work for me. I swear one coworker was as light on his feet as a cat.

Then I was moved to another desk. Not such a bad location, but the woman who sat on the other side of the cubicle, with nothing but a half wall between us was the loudest, most negative, drama queen in the office. She could have had her own office, but she wanted to be in the middle of things to air her drama. It was a drain on my soul being stuck next to her bitterness and misery day after day. I was so happy when she was moved to another cubicle.

The cubicle layout in my office used to be so bad the only way to get to my bosses’s cubicle was to walk through mine. I eventually had to put up a sign disclaiming all knowledge of Boss’s wherabouts. We eventually rearranged the place, and now I have the desk in the corner where you can’t see if I’m there without walking all the way in. Sweet vengeance.

There was a study recently sugesting open plan offices actually discourage collaboration, since nobody wants to talk aloud and possibly distract other people working nearby. (Ethan S. Bernstein, Stephen Turban, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, August 2018.) Would be nice if people paid attention to it and gave up on the idea.

When I worked in broadcasting I shared a desk. Not an office, but literally a desk. Fortunately we worked different shifts.

I worked for a small not-for-profit organization that was located on the second floor of a building built before World War I. At first I shared a tiny office with our Development person, but with both of us on the phone all day (she was talking with donors AND going through a divorce at the same time) the privacy thing was unmanageable. I got moved into the only available space - a 6’x4’ space between the receptionist’s desk and the restrooms. If I closed my door, there was no ventilation, and anyone who came to see us naturally came to me, since my desk was before the receptionist. Even worse, the building was underwired, and when anyone tried to plug in a space heater, the entire office would blow a circuit.

In my last gummint job, my position involved a lot of research, so I’d often be reading reports, etc, on the screen, oblivious to everything else. My boss thought it was hilarious to come up behind me (it was carpeted) then lean in close to my ear and say “Hello”, invariably making me jump. Funny fellow… Apart from that, he was a great boss.

Luckily, my desk now kinda, sorta faces the door, so I usually know when someone comes in, but I have been startled out of deep concentration on occasion.

Just remembered in my very first engineering job, my cubicle was right next to the blueprint room. The traffic wasn’t too terrible, but there was the contact high from the chemical fumes…

I worked in an office and one cubical was by the intersection of the hallways by three busy offices but it had a window and a great view.

When my new coworker asked if she could have it, I said, look at the traffic, it’s going to be noisy, that is why no one wants it, despite the view. She said, “I have four kids, all teenager, noise doesn’t bother me in the least.”

I was the first cube in the space and next to the coffee maker. I told my boss that one of my yearly objectives was to keep the coffee from burning. In addition to keeping track of the sixty coworkers in that room because every five minutes “do you know where Jim sits?” 45 seconds later “he isn’t there, do you know where he is?”

In my experience, in close proximity to a co-worker to whom you have an insanely intense and utterly hopeless crush. That was miserable.

I was next to a mystery whistler for 2 years: he was in a different department from me but only 2 cubes down, and I didn’t want to announce to everyone that the whistling should stop until I knew who he was but he was smart enough to stop when I’d walk near their cubicles. Maybe I was right to play it safe since I just found out who it was a couple weeks ago when he whistled while standing and I heard from the grapevine that it was the same guy who went off on a rant about my co-worker for his political views. (I can’t wear headphones all the time because they hurt after half an hour or so, and I get just as distracted by music as I do by talking in the workplace, albeit not as much as by whistling.) Fortunately, an opening just appeared 2 cubes down and I snatched it up so I don’t have to listen to him anymore.

My workplace is still adjusting to cube farm life, having just transferred from another building where we all had offices. One of the folks I’m friends with has the worst cube on the floor, right next to the men’s restroom. The toilets are automatic, which means they are stupid and flush for absolutely no reason at all. So when it’s not peeing and pooping sounds keeping her entertained, it’s constantly flushing. Her cube is also right next to the door to the elevator. It’s one of those security doors with electronic locks, so it makes a lot of noise every time it opens and closes.

She telecommutes a lot.

My cube is okay, but my neighboring coworker makes a lot of weird noises. Like humming sounds and under-the-breath mutterings. I also think she might be reading out loud to herself sometimes. If she was having an actual conversation with someone, it wouldn’t annoy me. But rando noise is distracting for some reason. Also, each of our cube walls has a fiberglass panel at the top, with a little crack separating the panel and the wall it is attached to. The crack is perfectly lined up with my coworkers eyes. I know she’s almost certainly glued to her computer monitor, but sometimes I imagine her eyes peering at the back of my head through the crack and I get the heebie-jeebies. I want to cover it up with a piece of paper, but we’ve been told that’s against the rule.

I used to be on the other side of the partition from someone who led endless bridge lines or conference calls. Remember the painfully chipper voice at the beginning of Office Space repeatedly saying Corporate Accounting Please Hold! - Well, I sat next to Shelly Hi! Whojustjoined? I swear she might as well have been a parrot. Actually, the bird would be more interesting as they chirp and squawk now and then. Hi! Whojustjoined? Hi! Whojustjoined!

Other than that, a sucky desk or cube location is immediately next to a printer or copier as you will become the de facto un-jammer and expert in why it’s not working as well as the assumed keeper of paper and toner.