If offices are like neighbourhoods, then cubicles are like flats: each unit is made of the same materials, but their insides are wholly different. (That being said, we’ll never stop being shocked at how our colleagues can make their cubicles resemble something straight out of Pinterest while ours continues to look like a heap of trash.)
1. The corner of cleanliness
Your Type A coworker’s cubicle is a testament to her responsibility, organisation, and basic mastery of adulthood. Everything is colour-coded, alphabetised, and filed in adorable neon storage containers. You can always count on this person to have a stapler on hand – unlike the rest of us, she doesn’t need to spend 10 minutes digging through her desk just to find her office supplies.
2. The “creative” desk
Papers, papers everywhere. Who occupies this cubicle, a 16-year-old? There isn’t a square inch of space on this person’s desk that isn’t covered with a stack of papers, an outdated calendar, or a thick layer of dust. You’ve tried staging an intervention, but he can’t go two weeks without letting all that junk pile up again. Whether out of sincerity or lazy resignation, however, your colleague seems to take pride in the mess, claiming that his haphazard workspace reflects the mind of a creative artiste.
3. The general store
Clearly, this person spends way too much time at the office because she’s converted her cubicle into a second home. Whether you need paper clips, a candy bar, or contact lens solution, you can always count on this cubicle to offer a generous supply of life essentials. (We can only imagine will start storing once she has her own office).
4. The fanboy/fangirl headquarters
Every office has at least one person who’s completely obsessed with Rilakkuma. Or another person who hasn’t quite outgrown Harry Potter. Or another who trembles at all things Marvel-related. Bobbleheads, figurines, stuffed toys, collectibles, even posters: this geek’s got them all. His cubicle is practically a shrine to his fandom of choice, and you can only wonder how much more stuff he’s got stored at home.
5. The personal sanctuary
One look at this person’s cubicle will tell you everything about her life. She’s got three golden retrievers, a long-term boyfriend who loves rock climbing, and an extensive collection of souvenirs from Europe. She lives with her parents, she runs marathons, and by the way, she loves Hello Kitty. While you might feel a little awkward knowing so much personal information, keep in mind that like a Facebook profile, the wall of a cubicle tells only half the story about a person.
6. The empty cell
This cubicle has exactly three things in it: a computer, a chair, and a landline. Oh yeah, and a drawer, which is empty except for a single notebook. This cubicle, while officially assigned to an actual person, is curiously spare. We can only assume that its owner is either new, having trouble settling in, or always working off-site.
7. The botanical gardens
While most people can barely take care of one plant, this person has like, five, nestled in her cube. We don’t mean cacti either – we’re talking full-blown philodendrons, English ivy, and African violets. Whenever people ask how she has the time to maintain all the foliage despite the ever-increasing mountain of work, she can only reply that the practice keeps her disciplined and committed. And wouldn’t you rather feel like you were at a greenhouse than at the cold basement office?
8. The depressing makeshift cubicle
Clearly, the office didn’t anticipate an increased headcount while designing the floor plan, so some poor junior-level employee’s gotten stuck using cardboard boxes as a wall for his tiny desk and laptop. And if not that, he’s been forced to convert the pantry table into a communal desk, which he shares with two other interns and a box of stale mooncakes.
9. The dumping ground/trash heap/unofficial storage space
Thanks to its location near the storage room, this person’s desk is often mistaken for a recycling heap. Passers-by have no problem dumping old posters, magazines, office supplies, and packages into his corner when he’s not around – and any objections to this behaviour will go unheeded until he places a literal wall between himself and the actual trash heap.
10. Party central
On the other hand, this occupant’s lucky to have scored the prime location for her cubicle, which is next to the watercooler. She’s got the upper hand in office gossip, everybody knows her, and as a bonus, she’s always hydrated.
11. The ant farm
Half-eaten donuts, candy wrappers, cookie crumbs, and cups upon cups of identifiable liquids – yeah, whoever owns this cubicle needs pest control on speed dial.