How To Survive Your Cubicle Job
The wonderful cubicle job. An important stepping stone in your career that every business person endures. The question is, how do we make it through these few years without wanting to throw our computer monitors out the window? Here are a few small environment and personal changes that you can make that can actually make a huge difference on your work ethic and feelings toward your office cubicle.
The decor and ambiance of your office cubicle is responsible for setting your mood each and every day. If your workstation is bland, boring, and lacks individuality...so will you. Take the time to make your cubicle a little less boring. Here are a few suggestions:
- Add personal pictures of yourself, family, and friends or your kids’ drawings.
- Include your favorite artwork or motivational quotes.
- Make DIY organizers and accessories.
- Utilize a decorative pillow, blanket, and/or small rug for added comfort while working.
- Bring a few plants to work (can be live or fake depending on your environment).
- Replace your plain black pens with creative, fun, and awesome cubicle accessories and office supplies.
Make your workspace a more interesting place to work; make it yours. You might even be slightly more motivated to show up to work each morning.
How can you expect yourself to be motivated to work hard and give all of your effort if there’s nothing that you’re working towards? I’m sure you’re not planning on working in a 5x5 cubicle for the rest of your life. So, make a plan. Why are you going to continue to show up to work each morning and produce your best quality work even if it means staying at the office for an extra hour? Are you showing your boss that you’re worthy of that big promotion and being upgraded to the corner office with windows? Maybe you’re undergoing a job search and you’re hoping for a letter of recommendation from your current boss raving about your accomplishments and the hard work you’ve put in over the years. You might even be preparing to start your own business and this cubicle job is your opportunity to save money and learn everything you possibly can while working under another professional.
Whatever your reason or motivation may be, it will be why you show up to your office day after day. This is how you will survive your cubicle years. Make sure your goals are important enough to provide sufficient motivation to get you through the week, month, or even year behind those tall cubicle panels.
Believe it or not, you are allowed to have friends at work. I understand that your cubicle walls keep everyone seperated and focused on their own work, but try to avoid secluding yourself and not speaking to anyone all day. Make plans to go out for drinks after work, go to lunch together. Having a friend or two in the office can drastically improve your day. It’s difficult staring at the same monitor screen all day long without a change in scenery or real conversation that involves actual speaking instead of a new email notification. Connect with your coworkers and add some enjoyment to your day.
The Little Things
In addition to decorating your cubicle, setting goals, and making friends, there are a few other minor details that can improve your workday. Or at the very least, make it go by a little bit faster.
- Stop checking the clock! There’s nothing more depressing that checking the time after what seems like hours only to discover just fifteen minutes have passed.
- Bring snacks to work. If you’re already in a bad mood, try to avoid being hangry at all costs. I don’t know about you, but food tends to make me happier.
- Take frequent, short breaks. Like I mentioned before, sitting in front of the same monitor for hours can cause your mind to wander. If you find yourself losing focus, take a quick coffee break, have a short chat with a coworker, eat a snack, or step outside for a minute or two for some fresh air and sunlight.
- If you lose interest in your current task or find yourself easily distracted, move on to something else. You can always come back to what you were working on later. This way you always have something new to work on and you’re still being just as productive.
- Reward yourself! If you finish a big project or receive praise from your boss, reward yourself with a night out or even some vacation time. Time off is actually extremely beneficial to you and your work so you should make the most of your vacation days.
Your cubicle years don’t have to be as unbearable as they’re perceived to be. With these minor changes to your environment and mood, you might even enjoy going to work (at lease a couple days out of the month). An office cubicle job is a huge stepping stone in your career and probably the most influential learning experience you’ll face. Instead of being miserable and complaining all day, make the most of your time here. You might even miss it when it’s over.