I found myself doing actual work about 50% of the time while I was corporate America, the other 50% I would say I used to manage my career or do my own thing, which consisted of reading the news, answering email or whatever else we did. Now there is a program where you can monitor yourself and see just how much time you do use doing what on the computer. It is written by some guys on the west coast who have some experience writing some pretty cool software in the past, their latest invention is called Rescue Time (http://rescuetime.com). I personally have not tested it yet, but am waiting for my beta invitation so I can give it a run. Check it out and sign up for the beta or email alert when it comes out. It should provide some interesting data, just do not let your boss get a hold of it or upper management might be upset.
One of the biggest things in cubicle culture is the inherent obsession with keeping track of people and when they come into the office, ie who comes in late,who leaves the office early, who works long hours etc.. The parking post started this topic in my mind and I will elaborate on it as it relates to non-parking, but your late arrival to the office. Maybe my knowledge of this subject stems from the fact that towards the end of my corporate America cubicle service I was more late then on time and I developed some handy skills.
So, here it is laid out for you on what to do and what to look for in the way of the fake out on time arrival from your peers. When you are on time to the office, always keep your jacket on if you have it and always carry whatever else you have in your bag. Take the same route to your cubicle every day. This gets people used to your “normal” behavior when you are on time.
Now, when you are late to the office, take off your jacket when you get inside the front door, take a notebook out of your briefcase or some papers and hold them under your arm or in the same manner you do when you come out of a meeting and take a different route to your cubicle. Usually aisles along the window sides of the floor are good routes, generally these aisles are used for daily work traffic vs. arrivals. If you take an elevator up to your floor there will usually be two doors on each side to get into one side or the other of the floor, take the opposite door you usually do and walk around. When you get to your cube, sit down quickly and look as if you have to finish up some things as if you just got out of a meeting.
Do this and your cube mates will not suspect a thing. If they ask, tell them you had an “early” meeting. Generally they will leave it at that. On the same token, be on the lookout for this fakeout and ask follow up questions as to who the person met with, it will turn on the heat.
Enjoy the weekend
One of the things often kept track of in cubicle culture is what time people get to the office. In the world where people actaully drive cars (vs. a place like New York City where you walk, take the subway or a cab) it’s always easy to see who gets to the office early, their cars are in the spot(s) up front. But there is always that time when someone will be late to the office and try to do the fake out.
What to look for to expose the fake out and what to avoid so you are not caught
It’s pretty easy to tell the fake-out and most never fix the problem. Look at the wheels, when someone gets an up front spot, but it late to the office, it is generally because one of early birds left for a doctors appointment or something like that. This usually happens between 9:30am and 11am. The true late comer sees the space and grabs it and feels good about being up front because now everyone thinks he/she was early. (If you have been one of these people you know the good feeling I am talking about. I have had it). Now here is the kicker, because of the angle to get around the two cars on either side it requires you to really turn the wheels to get into the spot. Most late comers will not straighten the wheels, they will just pull into the space and leave the car as is. Simply look at the wheels in these front spots to the office, you’ll see what I am talking about and when you are late, make sure you do a quick reverse once you are in the spot and pull back in straight so you are not caught being one of these fake out late comers. I can not tell you how many people my friend and I used to spot.
PS if you want to get an accurate picture of these fake out late comers you have to check before noon, after that when people go for lunch, its hard to tell.
This birth of this blog was prompted by a crazy idea that a good friend of mine and I had a long time ago when we worked together in corporate America. The culture in the land of the cubicles of corporate America is a sometimes odd, stressful, funny, annoying, obtuse, playful, non-productive, productive, weird place. My friend and I used to sit and laugh about all that we would do, partake in, and see in the cubicle culture in a company we worked together located in Virginia. We thought about writing a book on Cubicle Culture for Dummies to talk about all the crazy things that go on, the do’s and don’t and lessons from all that we learned to help those entering this world. Given a book takes a lot more organization, I took it upon myself to start this blog as the outlet for such musings.
Before the birth of this blog a group of us regularly exchange emails via a group list about all these happenings. I thought it would be fun to bring them to life on the web and see how it goes. The actual straw that broke the camels back to get me to get it up was some exchanges my friend and I had last night about the “double double”. That’s the total dick move you can make of including two questions marks in email exchanges with colleagues. My friend asked me to view a draft of the email he was going to send to some morons in his current company. I said, do not pull the Double Double, he agreed it would be too dickish so he edited it and shot it off late night last night (more on late night email sending and why it is important in the cubicle culture world later).
I am no longer in the cubicle culture as I left there to get back to my roots as an entrepreneur which is much better. I could care less about revealing my identity, however for the sake of my friends who will he joining in as contributors and the possibility that people could piece together who they are, we are keeping our posts totally anonymous, however trust this stuff is real and you’ll know it is if you have or do work in the corporate cubicle culture.