Pack Up Your Cubicle.


I was never attached to my cubicle at my previous job. Really, it was half a cubicle and there were no walls. And, my back was literally facing the rest of the office there in the corner. It sucked. I was a shooter’s dream.

Cubicles are God’s way of saying, “You’re settling, dude.” You feel it down inside, and your boss knows it. Or else he would be sitting in a cubicle, too. That’s why he or she has that office. Because they didn’t want to settle like you.

I tried to dress my space with photos of family, some concert and event paraphenalia, Dr. Pepper cans. Months before I was let go, I moved all my stuff to a box (which was only half filled) so I wouldn’t have much to move on that fateful day.

My cubicle never felt like home. I never missed it when I left for the day. It never energized me when I came to work looking for a reason.

I couldn’t call it mine.

It was my cubicle that brought me to that pivotal decision to start a business of my own. Something I could in fact claim and be proud of. Something that energized me.

You may be working in an existing job, wondering, “When am I going to get started?” There is a certain comfort that comes with that cubicle. You don’t have to pay the electric bills. You don’t have to make the decisions. You don’t have to worry when business is slow (except for whether you will lose your job).

The cubicle-life can in that regard be like governmental housing. It is there for people, and many of us have been there. But, some are okay with the cubicle being a destination rather than a way to something more meaningful. That is a shame since opportunities abound for everyone wanting to better themselves in this country.

When is it time to pack your cubicle? When you finally start listening to your cubicle.

I understand as well as anyone that fears surface when this is given deep consideration. But, consider this as well: your cubicle is an illustration of your life as you work for someone else, doing something that doesn’t mean anything to you.

1. Consider the limitations of your cubicle. It says, “My decision-making abilities are very limited.” Despite management’s attempt to create the appearance of democracy in the office, you will not be brought in and asked to provide a plan to turn things around. Your cubicle communicates that you are like everyone else, an employee responsible for clocking in and clocking out. Does that satisfy you?

2. Consider the thinness of your cubicle. A person really has no secrets in a cubicle. You think loud enough and the cat’s out of the bag. A wire frame and vinyl stands between you and the other guy (or girl). Would you want to live in an apartment like that? The one who makes decisions and steers a company’s direction has the privilege of secrecy. That is the entrepeneur’s edge — the uniqueness that is nurtured in secret until that day when you make your place in the world.

3. Consider the smallness of your cubicle. I never measured mine, but they are all rather small. Not enough room to pace and figure out procedural issues. The entrepeneur is set apart by use of space. You want to work from your favorite coffeehouse over a Cafe Americano? You want to go to the library and sit in your favorite chair while catching up on your emails? A cubicle doesn’t allow this. It is a small box that keeps you small.

4. Consider the forgetfulness of your cubicle. All that time spent in a space, slaving over your work and one day it will be someone else’s space. Go ahead and hang your photos — call it your own. You will some day move to another cubicle. That is the part that was most demoralizing about an office job — moving to another cubicle without explanation. Once every three months, everyone played Musical Cubicles. Ridiculous. The point, I guess, was that we were not important enough to even keep a cubicle. An entrepeneur does something that makes a name for them. In the very least, the work they do is memorable.

5. Consider the blandness of your cubicle. Truth is, your cubicle looks like the other 50 to 75 cubicles in your office. And, when you sit in there no one can see how you stand out (no pun intended). The idea behind starting something for yourself is that there is a craving in the heart of people to stand out. It is not selfish. Not impure. It’s how we were made.

Cubicles are not inherently evil, but they are limiting. And, placing limitations on yourself is not necessarily good. The fact is, you’ll find reasons to stay in that little box working for someone else. But, don’t you deserve to give yourself a shot at building something right now yourself?

My cubicle told me when it was time to go. Hopefully, you’ll listen to your cubicle, too.

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