I’ll admit it, I was excited to get a cubicle. Not a corner office with a view, not a majestic mahogany desk and plush leather chair, just a cubicle with a mouse that didn’t work very well and a computer that was probably made the same year I was born. And I’ve already given myself away. Now you know it’s my first job.
Because who else besides a recent college grad collecting her first real paychecks would be excited about a cubicle? I get the sense that people who have actually spent an extended period of time in cubicles come to resent them, but to me, my three gray half-walls represent opportunity, adventure, a career. They’re a blank canvas waiting to be filled with… stuff… important stuff. Stuff that says things about what I do. Important memos and such. Pieces of paper. Lots of them.
See the problem is, as excited as I am to have my own piece of real estate in the newsroom, I don’t quite know what to do with it. So I’ve been cubicle cruising, looking for ideas, creating a look-book etc. and I’ve got to tell you, there are some nice spaces out there.
The editorial assistants maintain a level of organization that I could only dream about. On the other end of the spectrum would be Mike Argento’s desk. I’ll call it lived in, and in some sense, practical. He has a copy of what must be nearly every issue of The Record from the past decade piled in his cubicle, and while others may scoff, I think it’s probably handy to have your own personal archives dating back to the late ’90′s at your fingertips. Of course the sports writers have all hung iconic cut-outs of physical prowess, images that make me realize how insignificant my own athletic achievements actually are, and I sit next to Abby who keeps flowers on her desk, brings in her own bowl and silverware and whose space defines “homey.”
The worst though, is photographer Jason Plotkin’s cubicle. He not only has clever photos and funny graphics tacked up everywhere, but he also has hand-drawn pictures of flowers from his two little girls.
What is that? I don’t have kids. No one’s ever told me that I’m the best dad in the world and handed me a flower drawing. Maybe if I left my college roommates locked in a room with a bottle of wine and some paper and markers, I would get some artwork, but I don’t know if it any of it would be appropriate to hang up on my half-walls. For me, that level of cubicle taste and personality is unattainable.
But that’s just it though, my cubicle has got to have personality.
The space I sit in is a way of introducing myself to the newsroom, and I guess, if I want to get philosophical, to the career that I’m starting.
And although my bland cube might say to some that I have, well, a bland personality, I prefer to think of it as a sign that I haven’t got this whole professional identity thing completely figured out yet.
I will decorate, eventually.