I am not a fan of the open office concept.
In my opinion, corralling all your workforce into one common area and fencing them in with a series of padded fabric-covered walls does not inspire creativity or collaboration. It is, instead, the very definition of chaos.
By either luck or chance, I have spent all but the last two years of my professional life surrounded by four walls and a door. I reminisced not long ago with a few of my colleagues from the “early days” about how spoiled we were compared to the younger associates we work with today.
When we were first starting out in Corporate America, we just so happened to work for a company headquartered on a campus of buildings erected in the 1950s–a golden time when a cubicle was not a place where professionals (neither young nor seasoned) hung their hats Monday through Friday. These buildings were true office buildings with real, honest-to-goodness offices. They may not have all been large offices (some were little more than broom closets), but it was a place where you could close the door and have a private telephone conversation or hold a meeting without interrupting your neighbor.
I went almost 20 years without having to figure out how to display my child’s artwork on a moveable wall. I didn’t know that constant feeling that someone was looking over my shoulder to see if I was really working or just browsing for new sandals on Zappos.com.
I now have to put my phone on vibrate because I don’t want to disturb my cubemates. However, most of the people in my personal cube farm don’t share my concern for others privacy. I have sat two feet away from someone having a confidential one-on-one meeting with his manager. The person across the aisle from me once interviewed a job candidate while the rest of us tried not to listen to how she stumbled through several questions.
I have been forced to listen to loud chip chewing and noisy straw slurping. I’ve had to look at other people’s messy desks and have become obsessive about my own desk cleanliness.
My earbuds are my sanity and my BFFs.
I like my quiet, and I value my personal space which makes what happened last Monday the exclamation point at the end of my horror story.
The Older One had been home on leave for a week before deploying to Germany for six months. I took a few days off to spend with him, and so between working at home (the balance to the open office concept) and vacation time, I had not been in my office building for a week.
Sometime within those seven days, I got a new neighbor. He is apparently a big baseball fan.
I know this not because of how he introduced himself, but because of how he decorated his cube with his extensive collection of Cincinnati Reds bobble head figures. He has at least 20, and he has arranged them along the tops of all of his walls…even the one that is also my wall.
This is now my view…
Every day, I now have the pleasure of gazing at bobble-headed baseball butts. You’re jealous, I know.
I’ve fantasized about pushing them over the edge while he’s away from his desk and then swearing there was a mild earthquake while he was gone. I’ve contemplated sending this picture to HR to support a claim that he is creating a hostile work environment. I could also just tap him on the shoulder and politely ask, “Do you realize your butt’s in my face?”
But I think I might have a better plan. I’m packing up my Disney princess/villain miniature shoe collection and taking it to the office Monday. I’m sure he’ll realize he’s invaded my space when he sees the stilettos lined up beside his balls baseballs. If not, I’m pretty sure Maleficient can kick his butt…one bobble-headed baseball butt at a time!