My experience in the workforce has been short, let’s face it, I’ve only been out of college a few years and really can’t give advice from decades of experience. I have, however, been working for quite some time, starting with my first job in high school working as a cashier in my hometown’s CVS to waitressing at a local pub and then various internships throughout college and not to mention the full-time job I hold now.
I started interning at a start-up company almost two years ago. After coming home from a teaching abroad experience that wasn’t a great fit for me and deciding I didn’t want to jump into a full-time job doing something I didn’t love, I reached out to some friends and landed myself an internship in the Washington, DC area. For the first time in my life I felt respected, engaged and important at my internship. I had had the experience in the past (during my college years) where I’d be sent out on a Starbucks run to get 20 different lattes, frappuccinos and espressos only to spill half of them in my car on the way back or forget someone’s order and have to turn around and go back. This internship in DC was different, I didn’t get coffee for anyone, people knew my name and I sat in what they called a “coolicle,” – you read that right, the company I worked for actually embraced the fact that we had a cubicle and called it a coolicle!
Cubicles have a bad rep, people associate them with boring sales jobs, boring accounting jobs or boring journalism jobs – notice I added boring before each? But what if I just said “sales, accounting and journalism,” that doesn’t sound so bad, so why add the negative connotation that a cubicle brings? A cubicle really just gives you some of your own space to get your work done, it’s not a jail cell and there’s no closed door that hinders you to walk next door to your colleague and do some collaborating!
My thoughts on cubicles, or coolicles, whatever you may call them, is that your perception of them is completely an attitude and does not need to reflect a reality. Your cubicle is not what makes or breaks your job! What does make your job something you enjoy doing every day is the work you’re doing (do you like it?), the people you work with (are they stimulating?), and the culture of your company (does it fit you?). My advice is to go into your cubicle with excitement and do your best every day with a smile on your face and you’ll forget the negative connotations. Hang up some pictures of your friends, put a funny quote up on the wall, and have a laugh! It’s all about your mindset!
If you were wondering about my awesome internship in my coolicle, it turned into a full-time job with a full-time coolicle about two months later and a year after that it turned into a move to a city I wanted to live in with more responsibilities and more desk space. I say, throw out the idea that a cubicle is a bad thing and become the Cubicle Warrior you deserve to be, three walls certainly won’t stop you!
This is a guest post from Sarah Fudin. Sarah works in community relations for 2tor, Inc who partners with the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education's online programs, which provide current and aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn an Master of Arts in Teaching online or online Masters of Education. Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.