Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Adam's Guide to Cubicle Life

I spend a lot of time at work. Recently, I've started thinking about what I want and need to keep at work. So, I thought I'd share.
  • Extra coffee mugs. Even if you don't drink coffee, you'll drink tea or water or soda or something. If you drink coffee, and you don't make it for yourself at home in the morning... chances are that you're not running at full speed when it comes time to grab the freshly-cleaned mug off the counter.
  • Your breath is going to smell like crap after all that coffee. Keep a breath-tamer with you. Mints, gum, Listerine, Toothpaste and a toothbrush... it doesn't matter, just do something about that nasty breath,
  • Ramen. Maybe its the college kid still rearing his save-money-for-booze-conscious head... but ramen is delicious. The beauty of ramen is twofold: 1) You save money by not going out for lunch. $8.00 vs $0.08, the choice is obvious. 2) You can wake up 7 minutes later, because you don't have to make a sandwich or something in the morning.
  • Instant Oatmeal. It is also dirt cheap. It's easy to make. Can save upwards of 15 minutes of sleep. Eat it while you do your morning e-mail [deleting] routine.
  • Toys. Its inevitable, your job is going to be boring at some point. Make sure you have something to play with... there isn't enough news to read in the whole world that can occupy 8 hours of boredom.
  • Headphones. This may seem like a given, but even if you're not listening to anything, headphones put up an imaginary force field around you. People are about 45% less likely to come tap you on the shoulder.
  • A "place setting." You'll need a spoon, fork, knife, bowl, and plate. Keep a stock of napkins too. When someone brings the extra food leftover from a meeting, and sets it in the common area... they never bring utensils. Do you really want to miss out on free food just because you're not prepared?
Never-ever put anything in the common fridge. The Fridge Nazi will come throw your food away everytime. I know you're laughing right now... because EVERY office has the Fridge Nazi. So, you have to keep beverages and leftovers cold... what do you do? You have to get a mini-fridge. Once you've got your mini-fridge installed, your food options have just expanded from 2 to 2000. You can take lettuce, and salad dressing. Sandwich fixin's. Chips and salsa. The list is nearly endless.

Maybe I should write a book. How to Save Your Sanity in the Cubicle Sea.
I've already got the table of contents started:
1) How to Select a Toilet.
2) The Desktop Chef: 10 Recipes for the Lazy.
3) Cube Essentials. What Office Depot Doesn't Carry.
4) How to Kill Time Without Getting Pink-Slipped
5) Boring Meeting Survival. How to Pay Attention in a Meeting
6) Boring Meeting Survival II. How to Make Pretend You're Paying Attention.
7) Manager Handling 101
8) Political Science: Office Edition.

Yes, you read that correctly... I'm going to write an entire chapter about where you should poop. On that note, this posting has concluded.

P.S. Its really cool when someone you respect links to your blog. Raymond Chen linked to me yesterday. I was literally schoolgirl-giddy when I saw the link. Thanks Raymond.

--- Update 12/17/2005
Great comment from one of the guys on my team:
Coffee mugs, why so many? I will tell you why so many mugs. Boeing people like to be recognized and reminded that they successfully deployed an airplane bolt system back in 2003, or that their group of 34 people were able to reach a system and process maturity level 2 rating in '04. These are all great accomplishments that mean nothing to the person on either side of you cube. I personally don’t care to know that Mr. Boeing Bluebadge was on this team or that team...yet I am somehow obsessed with reading each and every one someone puts up to their mouth. It's almost like every time they take a sip of tea or coffee they are whispering to you "Pssssstt…Hey check out what I did back in 2001 on the military program!"


Anonymous said...

Now that is funny =). Can I make another suggestion for another chapter?
How about:
Places to never go to lunch with co-workers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Adam,

I'm writing an article for the company newsletter on cubicle etiquette, any words of wisdom to lend me.


P.S. I work in a Boeing building in St. Louis, MO, although we are not Boeing employees.

Adam Phillabaum said...

JR: I'm sure I could think of something.

Send me an email, adam.phillabaum@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Heh, my co-workers often talk to me for a few minutes before noticing I've got my headphones on, which are good enough I can't hear anything they say....

Anonymous said...

I've just started a new job and have inherited my first cube...there's so much to learn [sigh]. Your blog made me laugh, and reminded me of the joy of instant oatmeal, thanks!

The Historic Neighborhoods Alliance said...

A fan is always good too. I work with a bunch of folks who like it nice and toasty in here. But . . . we're in friggin north carolina!!! not the north pole! A fan keeps it nice and temperate in the cube-zone!

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