Cube farms, green pastures and better barns

It is awful when you start quoting yourself, but after reading a very small blog post about “greener pastures and better barns,” I was reminded of a few analogies running around in my head. And, though it is 4:00 a.m. in the morning, I figured it was as good a time as any to write them all down.

I live in a cube farm. A cube farm in a basement. A cube farm in a basement, below a cafeteria in an old building on an old military base.

The leadership types get to be upstairs only furthering the opinion that they are “above us.”

Funny thing, I used to be upstairs on the top story of the building. In fact, I had a huge office complete with a round table and plush chairs. In fact, I’ve had three huge offices during my tenure at this job.

But, things change. They try to be innovative and tear down walls to try this new concept (cube farm) on the knowledge workers. You know, because we don’t already collaborate enough.

So, about 30 of us are crammed in the basement, with low ceilings, bad lighting and strange smells. I can’t complain too much. I have the largest cube. And, our desks are of the plug in sort so we can move them up and down during the day depending on our desire to sit or stand.

In the end, it is still a cube farm. We are all animals. The culture dictates, however subtly, that we commit to our stalls as much as possible during the day. After all, animals must be put in their place else they should runaway to greener pastures and better barns.

The cube farm animals are allowed to stray away from the stall for meetings held in conference rooms devoid of sunlight. Real farm animals might “meet” at a trough or run around in the corral with fellow animals to let off a bit of steam. They get to be outdoors and I’d be surprised if they came back to the stall with a long action item list.

Both cube farm and real animals have flies and gnats that continually swarm around the stall. Horses just swat at them with their tails and many of the animals just let the things pick away. I’ve even seen flies landing on horses eyes and they just sit there and let them! Kind of gross, but hopefully you get my point. When people gnats come to my cube I can’t just swing my arm out at them and they run away. No, I have to engage in some sort of social graces. The people that are interesting are more like the flies on the horses eyes that they just let sit. The others are the ones that need a good swat.

I can probably come up with more, but isn’t it sad that I’m even comparing to farm animals? As the most sophisticated species on the planet, humans have it pretty good most of the time. Yet, sometimes I just wish I were one of those pigs rolling around in real dirt, resting in the sun and eating whatever garbage is put in front of me.

Oh wait, I already do that at the food cube in the cube farm.

More later on barnyard experiences because there is more where this came from…

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