What is it about cubicles that draw so many people? Why do millions, tens of millions, of people get up every Monday through Friday, take a shower, shave, brush their teeth, get dressed, and head out the door to drive to a building where they sit in various size cubes? And why? Why? Why do they do it week after week, year after year, and decade after decade?
My guess is insanity. We are sick, twisted individuals who want to punish ourselves. Perhaps we know our sins and we are trying to pay for those sins without the realization that Jesus died for all our sins, past, present, AND future. Maybe we just want to have something to complain about (something to write about). Maybe it’s an addiction. We need the cube. We can’t go without it for more than 2 out of every 7 days. Sure, every now and then, we force ourselves away from the cube for a 7 day stretch, but then we are right back in our chair the following Monday. If we didn’t have the cube, what we we do? What would our life be about? Why would we need Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, or coffee? Maybe that’s it. Maybe Microsoft partnered with the coffee people to create an addiction to the cube that would take a miracle to break. That Bill Gates is a clever little rascal.
Or maybe it’s something else…
I think we stay in the cube because we get comfortable there. We know what our paycheck is going to be on the 15th and the 30th. We know our health care costs are covered. We know we have money put away for our future. We know our taxes are covered. We know we can go to the dentist, get an eye exam, and pay our mortgage. We know we can keep food on the table, and clothes on our backs. We have tricked ourselves into thinking that the cube is the only way.
We hear about those other people; those people who live a life outside the cube. Some of those people even used to sit next to us and they gave up the safety and security of the cube for a different life. That works for them, but it could never work for us, right? We laugh at them and make fun of them behind their back. “Did you hear about Larry? Yeah, apparently he quit to go start his own business. He’s going to start a restaurant. What an idiot. Everyone knows you can’t start a restaurant in these economic times.” And then we go back to our work, secure in the knowledge that we made the right decision to stay in our cube and not just not follow our dream, but not even bother to have a dream.
Sometimes people get kicked out of their cubes. Some of those people find new cubes, and we celebrate their victory. “Oh, Dave, yeah, I heard he got hired on at Citi. Thank God.” Thank God? Really? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for everything God has provided for me, but come on! Some other people get kicked out of their cube and use that as a springboard towards their dream job. “Oh, Dave, yeah, he finally got that book published he has been working on for so long. I guess he finally had the time to put the energy into finishing it.” ‘Ata boy, Dave!
I guess my point is that most of us, the vast majority of us who work in cubes are stuck in cubes. We might get inspired every now and then and say, “I’m getting out of here,” but many times those moments of inspiration pass. We go back to our desk, and forget about our dreams in favor of free coffee and 10 days of vacation time.
I knew when I got my first cube that it wasn’t the place for me. And now, 10 years later, I am doing something about it. What? You’re writing a blog? Exactly. I’m writing, every day. Some days I write crap, and some days and write stuff a little better than crap. Bottom line, I keep writing, every day, until the day when my crap turns into gold. It will, because I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And gosh darn it, people like me. OK, I stole that. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
I’m working on my dream outside my cube. What are you doing?