Tales from the Cube is for all of my guys stuck in the Cube, slaving away, waiting until Friday so you can get to Happy Hour with your buddies. For the monkeys who are well suited with a laundry list of excuses for getting out of “Team Events” because you’d rather light yourself on fire than spend a second past the mandated 40 hours with these people. For the guys who forget headphones and it’s the worst thing that could happen to you because now you can’t drown out the banshees in your office, this one is for you. Send your own stories to email@example.com.
I work at a pretty large company in Philadelphia that is a corporation personified. The walls in the building are all painted the same, the white linoleum floor of the break room reminds you of your grade school cafeteria, and when you’re forced against your will to stay late you can hear the air conditioning cut off, not realizing it’s white noise to control your mind and make you numb while you work on the same spreadsheet you’ve been updating since you started there. There are 12-15 of us that are crammed within one and half cubes like Charlie’s grandparents in Willy Wonka. I’ve been on my team for almost 2.5 years now. I’ve witnessed babies, engagements, all kinds of hirings, and all kinds of firings. There was a girl who used to take her shoes off and walk around the bullpen – basically an open concept cube. She was canned on Valentines Day, which is fitting, because the only love she could find was with the Wawa burrito that consistently gave her heartburn she complained about.
This week started off like any other. I woke up, got dress, and started my walk to work cutting it as close to 9am as possible. I walk to work, yes. Absolutely love it! Best time of my day from Monday-Friday. Throw in some Music or a Podcast and I am good for my 20 minute commute. But, the moment I cross the threshold through those glass doors like it’s the entrance to the Gates of Hell, my happiness turns to helplessness and despair. It only deepens as I take the elevator up, and it sinks to it’s lowest when I get to the bullpen and I’m welcomed by cheery “Hello’s!” and “How was your weekend?!”
By 9:10am one girl asked where another thought the best brussel sprouts in the city were. Dead serious. Like it was life or death that if she didn’t acquire these brussel spouts there would be hell to pay to anyone who got in her way. I didn’t let it bother me because she was leaving at the end of the week so I know that was one less annoyance I’d have to deal with come Monday. Think of it as my going away present to her.
Well today she left. Typically I work from home on Fridays. I cherish my WFH days like a Ben Simmons 3 because it doesn’t happen often. But I had to go in for some meetings. Who schedules meetings on Friday’s? Assholes. People you’d never get along with if you weren’t forced to be in the same cage as them chained by the paycheck and health benefits. There was a going away lunch for the girl today. I missed it because I had a “meeting with the Marketing team”. Have to keep those excuses top of mind.
Earlier that day she basically cornered me to help carry the knick knacks she’s piled up on her desk over the last couple of years down to her car.
Sidenote: I don’t keep anything personal on my desk that I care about. Because if they ever fire me I can get out of their stat.
I begrudgingly agreed knowing I’d find a way to get out of it when it comes to it. And then that time finally came. I pinpointed she would leave around 3pm-3:30pm so I bee-lined for the bathroom around 2:55 when I saw her getting antsy and started to shuffle things around. I took the elevator to a whole different floor because I had to take precaution at all cost. I crushed 30 minutes in the stall scrolling Twitter and Instagram until my legs went numb. I couldn’t take it anymore so I finally waved the white flag and headed back to my desk. I called the elevator knowing I had won and that some other sorry sap had to take her precious family photos and shoes out to her car in 30 degree weather.
Sidenote #2: Women love keeping 10 pairs of shoes under their desks. Some girls on my team even bought shoe cubbies to put under their desk. What a wild move. Is that normal in offices?
As the elevator stopped for my floor I go to step out and as I look up from my phone there she is standing there. I froze in my tracks as two guys from my team were behind her carrying some of her stuff. Think about that, she needed 3 people to help carry all the shit from her desk. That is preposterous. We locked eyes. She was looking for me to give some heartwarming speech like I was bred out of a Nicholas Sparks book. I instead just laughed at the two guys behind her, gave her a half ass hug, and said “Bye, take it easy.” I mean she’s going to a company like two blocks down, she’s not taking leave to battle Stage 4 cancer.
But this isn’t the worst part. Everyone has one person they absolutely loathe on their team. Mine is this one girl, the absolute worst. Butt’s into conversations, sucks up to management, and makes everything about her. I sometimes play a game in my head if I would save her in certain situations. Natural disaster? Probably not. Eaten by wolves? Should’ve been faster. The other week she mentioned how distraught she was from the death of Kobe Bryant and how she’s going to live life to the fullest from now on; starting with how she plans her wedding. All about her. She’s the girl on the team who just got engaged. Everyone must know she’s engaged. Basically forced her boyfriend into doing it. Pretty sure she has a countdown on her desk til she gets married, I don’t know, I try not to visit. Good luck to her future husband. The over/under on their divorce is by 40.
Well I get back to the bullpen and this girl is CRYING over the one girl who’s last day it was. Like ugly crying, talking through the tears like someone just told her the diamond ring she got was actually cubic zirconium. I fucking lost it…internally…I couldn’t take another meeting with HR. And before you question if I’m being inconsiderate to their friendship. First, fuck you. And second, I’m not. The girl who left didn’t even work alongside this girl nor did I know they shared any bond whatsoever. The crying broad just wanted to make it all about herself. I mean get yourself together hunny, this is a place of business. The girls on my team of course gave her the attention she craved and consoled her. They even told her to go take the rest of the day off, to which she was able to muster enough strength to say, “Yea. I think I will.” What a fucking hero this broad is! Someone throw her a fucking parade! You know she fucking strained her shoulder patting herself on the back so hard.
But this is Cube Life. I’ll see this chick Monday and I’ll continue to hate her guts. I’ll have my headphones in with no music playing, so when she comes around to ask me a question I’ll pretend like I can’t hear her and she’ll leave me alone to ask someone else who wasn’t as lucky as I.
Good God, Joe, please start fucking paying us.
Send any Cube Monkey stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.