One of the most iconic features of office life? The cubicle.
Sometimes the walls are tall enough that all you can see is ... the walls. Other times, the walls are short enough that you have to avert your eyes so you aren't awkwardly staring at your neighbor, or you're constantly turning around to see if your other neighbor is staring at what you're currently Googling.
And, as we all learned in Office Space, those walls do nothing to cancel out sound.
Needless to say, many employees have a love/hate relationship with their cubicle. But you can give your coworkers a more pleasurable working experience by not committing any of these cubicle sins. You may argue that a lot of these are just common sense, so if that's the case ... why do we keep doing them?
Disclaimer: I'm currently sitting in a cubicle and am basing none of these on my coworkers, who are lovely and perfect. And, come on, how passive aggressive would that be? But I digress.
1. Talking way too loudly: Be it on the phone, particularly on speakerphone(!), or to someone three cubicles away, there's no need to speak loudly or yell when your other coworkers are trying to work and concentrate. If the coworker you have to speak to is more than a cubicle away, pick up the phone and call him. Remember Nina from Office Space? "Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment!"? Yeah. Don't be like her. If it's a personal call? Go out in the hall or outside for cripes' sake.
2. Um, that stinks: Those leftovers you brought may smell delicious to you, but it could be rancid and nauseating for others. Try to avoid bringing any of these foods if you're going to chow down in your cubicle. This also goes for taking your shoes off and wearing too much perfume/cologne. Having to sit through eight straight hours constantly inhaling your "essence" can be pure torture for your coworkers.
3. Your ringing cell phone: So you know you have to be quiet while speaking, but the same rules apply to your cell phone. Your ringtone, you know, Ke$ha's "Take It Off," ringing loudly every 5 seconds while you're at your three-hour meeting (hey, your mom is worried about you) will make your coworkers "accidentally" throw that thing out the window. Same goes for annoying beeps and boops for emails, texts, and any other kind of notification. Silent or vibrate, people, silent or vibrate.
4. How rude!: When your coworker is on the phone, don't stand around hovering, waiting for them to get done. Give them a second. Walk to your cubicle and wait a few minutes, then walk back. After sitting all day, you could use the exercise.
5. Offensive decorations: No one likes to stare at a boring cubicle all day, but those swastikas, "I Hate My Life" posters, and nearly naked photos of your spouse are sure to offend a coworker or two (unless said spouse is Alex Skarsgard).
6. Don't be a (total) slob: Hate to say it, but you can't close the door to your cubicle if you don't have one. You never know who will be walking by and with whom. If your boss and a client walk by your cube and see it strewn with trash, dirty magazines, leftover food from a week ago that's molding, papers you never got around to organizing, and day-old spilt coffee, it won't make the best impression. Okay, those examples are a bit extreme, and if you have those things in your cubicle, do everyone a favor and watch Hoarders.
7. Stop, thief!: Even though everyone's stuff is out in the open, that doesn't mean you can go up to a coworker's cube (whether he's sitting there or not) and steal their stuff. Even if you're just "borrowing" it. Simply ask your coworker first. It's really not hard.
8. Turn that sh*t down: Sometimes sitting in silence for eight hours a day is maddening. But that doesn't mean you can blast your heavy metal music to keep you awake without a pair of headphones. And those cheap-ass headphones you get for free with your iPod? If you play anything loud enough, your coworkers can most likely still hear it. And hearing a constant pumping of bass from those headphones is even more annoying than listening to the actual song. How can you even concentrate when you're playing music that loud anyway?
9. Hey, that's private: Look up. See all that open space? How those cubicle walls don't quite make it to the ceiling? That means any conversation you have most likely can be overhead. If your coworker comes by to gossip about how another coworker is the most disgusting, ugliest, dumbest, most infuriating wench she's ever met in her life, it will be overheard by someone. These walls literally do have ears.
10. Excessive wandering eyes: Sometimes you have to search for strange things while at work. Here at The Stir, there are some Google searches I've done that I'm not too proud of to check the price and spelling of a sex toy or when and where the next Masturbate-a-Thon is (sorry Mom). If I were to catch you checking out my screen, I'd be instantly embarrassed, and you'd probably form far too many assumptions about me. Try not to stare at your neighbor's screen all the livelong day. Keep your eyes on your own.
Hey, even if I'm not passive aggressive (at least when it comes to this), you certainly can be! Send this list to the cubicle-mate who is making your worklife a living hell. Your other coworkers will thank you.
Any other annoying habits your cubed coworkers do to drive you up a wall? Are you guilty of some of these?
Image via YouTube