Cubicle Warfare

It is considerably noisier in my new cubicle at work.

I'm actually in a cubicle now, by the way. I'd always just had a desk, or two desks together, before, in a much quieter, more peaceful area of the building. Now I get to listen to three different police scanners - one right next to me - reporters and editors talking on the phone, ad reps on the phone, and editors discussing stories and photos with reporters and photographers, and the photo editor is right next to me, too. And I get to listen to all the way too loud talkers I had always loved being far away from before.

This is the biggest change that has taken place at work lately. So many people from all departments have been let go that there was a lot of empty space, unused desks, in the editorial department, right in the very open middle of the building. Even having shut down the office of one of our sister newspapers and having moved all those reporters, photographers, and ad reps into our building, there was a lot of space, and a lot of unused equipment to deal with. The place looks like hell, with desks, chairs, filing cabinets, light boards and innumerable baskets and trays for organization scattered and piled everywhere.

In order to store all of said junk and to make the daily going-on more efficient (see: my boss and I are now babysitting the editors, who refuse to do their jobs unless we do), the production and graphics department was just moved out of the room that the production department had been in for nearly twenty years, and which the graphics department was just moved to. We were moved out into the half-full editorial department, which, even at only half full, was not big enough for all of us to cram into along with all of our various tables and boards and printers and such.

We're all in cubicle-quads now, and scrambling to find space to organize or even just to set papers down without getting different piles mixed up and important things lost. Our Editor, the head honcho below the Publisher, is showing his usual dumbass qualities in bitching about the fact that there is now a filing cabinet where he used to stand and lean on the cubicle partition to talk to the photo editor. That cabinet has to go, he says, because leaning on that partition is "you know, part of the whole thing, we have to be able to do it."

Never mind the fact that the cabinet is being used by the graphics person who now has her desk there, and so needs it, and there's no where else to put it. Never mind the fact that the dumbass could just stand up straight and talk to the photo editor, just one small foot back from where he's used to standing. Never mind the fact that in his walled-in little "office" in the corner of the editorial area, his space has not been affected at all by this move.

Yesterday when he was bitching about the cabinet, I not-so-diplomatically but nonetheless calmly told him, "Ya know, Mike, everyone else has had to make adjustments with this move. You need to do that, too."

He mumbled something along the lines of "well ... yeah," looked down and fidgeted a bit, then walked away.

Right after I finished warning my boss this morning of that little bitch-fest, Mike walked by, slowed down and fidgeted as he looked at the cabinet, paused as if he were going to say something, then continued on to his desk when he saw my boss and I calmly watching him, waiting.

I doubt he'll mention it again, but if he does, I'm ready to list off all the huge changes and sacrifices we had to make to get here, what we can no longer do - things which aren't luxuries like leaning but actual necessities we'll have to now live without - and calmly tell him it's easily half his own damned fault for not doing his job and causing us to be late all the time and to put out a crappy excuse for a decent newspaper. If he'd pulled his head out years ago, efficiency wouldn't have been one of the issues leading to this move. Storage space could have been found somewhere other than our old department, and he could lean on partitions to his heart's content.

And I will pull no punches. I'm tired of this place and easily half of the people left, and he's the Big Bad Number One on my shit list. He has been for years, and I'm tired of being a nice, sweet little worker who doesn't make waves. Because this place needs to be shaken up. The shaking-up is happening, but we're not seeing much effect yet other than bitching by people who haven't had to move or sacrifice but who suddenly are unable to lean.

I'm too tired to be angry. I'm just disgusted. And the increased noise doesn't help, especially from those individuals who like to bitch and fret at the top of their lungs all day long (and who, not surprisingly, are some of the dumbest ones here). I've set up and decorated my little area as nicely and warmly as I can, to make it as comfortable as possible. I've even got twinkling christmas lights up.

If I can't have general peace and quiet, and I can't have some of the space I used to have and still really need, at least I'll have a nice looking and nice feeling cubicle to slave away in.

My area looks just as nice and sweet and inviting as it ever did in the old room. I still smile and try my best to get things done properly and on time. But the shiny smile, like the twinkling lights, is a lie. If anyone oversteps their bounds under the tired and never correct excuse of "this is the way it's always been," they will see the abrupt, no-nonsense side of me that doesn't put up with bullshit. I have a feeling there will be quite a few shocked people wondering what happened to the old me in the next few weeks, but the truth of it is, this practical side is nothing new. I just didn't need to show it before because we had our own space. We had enough space.

Now we're in the pit, and I'm ready - eager, even - for blood.

I think, once I have a few bucks to spend, I will finally order some of the cubicle warfare toys from Maybe I'll try to catapult mini marshmallows into the Editor's cubicle office. I'm in the exact opposite corner from him - it would be a worthy feat, I think.

1 comment:

Wren said...

I'm so frickin' proud of you. Odd thing for a mom to say? Maybe, but that's how I feel. I knew way back when you were a wee little thing that you were going to be a strong, independent, creative woman. I was right. You are. And you'll do just fine, m'love.