Tuesday, November 16, 2004

URSULA, THE CUBICLE WITCH

Every office has one. They are that individual that is bored, due to having a poorly defined job description with an ambiguous title that leaves them mad with power. They are that person that, after arriving late, finishing their personal phone calls and e mails behind closed doors, ostensibly in a telephone “meeting” with “corporate,” does a little on-line shopping and makes a few more personal calls. They are that individual that decides to, after all of these various activities, take a little jaunt by the cubicle pods to see what the drones are doing. It is usually at this point that the urge to control overtakes the Cubicle Witch, who will walk into one’s cubicle, place their knarled hand upon some minor decoration, like a 2 inch by 2 inch photo of Manpants or something, and say in a wet gravelly voice to the drone… “This is actually not work related, you know.”

The drone hangs its head in shame and fear of job removal. “Yes, I know,” it whispers.

The Cubicle Witch darts their beady eyes around the rest of the pod, looking for contraband not related to the actually well defined job description of the drone. Satisfied that the pod is returned to a void of nothingness and despair that lightness of being cannot emerge from, the Cubicle Witch shuffles off to search their next victim. Unless it’s time for an extended lunch period followed by a headache that makes it possible for them to knock off a few hours early.

Which brings me to the story of…….Madge, the career transition counselor.

See, Madge was an outside contractor hired to be in house two days a week working with clients. She got to have the cubicle next to mine. That cubicle is now used by Louise, the pod drone I told you about that desperately needs to loosen up a little. (I think I heard her actually snort the other day. It was at something she overheard me say on the phone, so I got great satisfaction in that.) Anyway, the day Madge arrived, it was with two moving guys and several boxes. These boxes contained a couple files related to the task of career transition counseling, but the bulk of them contained……..CUBICLE FURNISHINGS. We’re talking mirrors of various sizes, framed pictures with special attachments that enable one to hang them in a cubicle without messing up the nubby fabric, numerous dried flower arrangements, a little shrine for fruit and incense, an occasional table, a stuffed chair for clients, a new desk chair to replace the regulation one already there, more framed photos, several stuffed animals for the top of the computer monitor, an actual dried flower WREATH and I think some scented candles. It was astounding how she managed to get an entire studio apartment into one small cubicle pod. I think she must have been from New York. They know how to do that. Anyway, this was her first day. Other drones and myself walked by and looked at the environment with absolute awe.

And fear. Mixed with a little schaudenfruede.

What would the Cubicle Witch do? This went so beyond the realm of non regulation, non work related and caused such sensory overload in the sheer act of walking by that we could speak in hushed tones of nothing else for two weeks.

Which is when they fired her. I think it was the stuffed Barney that pushed them over the edge.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!
I wonder how long Mary Poppins would have lasted at your company?

16 November, 2004 14:21  
Blogger R said...

Couldn't they just give her a warning or something?! I mean how hard core is THAT?!! Maybe they did, and between the troll dolls and the paycheck..she chose troll. Anyway, how dare any of you show any proof of your humanity at work. Your supposed to be a cog. Cog's don't have man pants or Trolls. I hate Corp America.

16 November, 2004 23:35  
Blogger Brent said...

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17 November, 2004 15:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember Fat Bastard? He was like that. HATED IT when anyone had personal photos on their desk. Just another example of how power corrupts and causes demented cruelty.

I'm impressed with Madge's cubicle-decorating skills. Cubicles have got to be the single most dehumanizing aspect of working for corporate America. If there's an empty cube anywhere, maybe you and your co-workers should decorate it in Madge's honor, the Madge Memorial Cubicle perhaps. Management won't know who did it.
-Laura

18 November, 2004 06:04  

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