Office 101


An office is a place where people go to spend the day in a tiny cubicle and wish they were not spending the day in a cubicle. Cubicles were invented to keep workers from spending time talking to each other so they could get more done. Instead workers hide and do less work. Funny that no one thought of that before they spent so much money building cubicles.

Offices are usually in tall building with large windows to let in the light. The windows are then covered with blinds to keep the light out. If the blinds are not enough to keep out the light, cubicles built in front of the windows finish blocking the light. This results in high-energy costs since offices must have light and because there is so little natural light that they must use artificial light.

People who are important get cubicles with taller walls. Really important people get offices with doors. Another way to tell how important a person is is by the size of the cubicle or office. Executives have offices large enough for a desk to set in the middle of it and still have walking space around it. According to this theory, the security guards in the lobby are the most important people in the building.

We don’t know exactly what people do in their offices, but they seem to spend a lot of their time working on computers and creating data. They create data electronically to avoid having too much paper to file. After the data is created, they print it and run fifty copies. They also send the information out by email and copy everyone in the office to show how busy they are creating electronic data.

Some people think their own job is the only job in the office that has objectives. They send email to all employees with information important to their particular place in the office pecking order. This causes a lot of time to be lost deleting job announcements for jobs so obscure that only alligators and cockroaches would be interested; computer tips that everyone deletes without reading; and automatically-generated email messages from computer security, usually to say that the computer system is down and you can’t receive email.

In order to send things from one office to another that can’t be emailed, offices have fax machines. Fax machines are very handy for people who do not know how to use a scanner or send email. Fax machines are not as fast as email because the machine must scan documents to send them. They are also not as fast because people are busy using computers and no one checks the fax machine for faxes that may have come in.

Telephones are another essential item in the modern office. Everyone has their own phone and makes their own calls. The secretary no longer has to answer the boss’s phone since he has voice mail to do this. Unfortunately, the person being called also has voice mail which results in a lot of time being wasted playing phone tag and pretending not to be in while the voice mail answers the phone. If they could just have voice mail without a telephone, it would save a lot of trouble.

Copy machines are another device that modern offices cannot do without even though the stated objective is to cut down on paperwork. Because electronic files can be lost, people still tend to think of permanence in terms of yellowing paper files that no one ever looks at because they are too inconvenient. Also, without paper being generated, it may seem as if no one is doing anything.

I hope this explanation of an office has been helpful to you. If it has, please sign below and make fifty copies to be distributed to everyone in your office. Send an email to all employees to let them know it will be coming and leave a message on their voice mail to tell them that a fax has been sent. If the copier doesn’t jam and if there is enough artificial light, you can then return to your cubicle and pretend to be working.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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4 Responses to Office 101

  1. Sheila Moss says:

    The old one big room offices were pretty bad, but the new styles are not so hot either. They took away our high cubicle walls, solitary but private, and gave us low walls with a glass barrier along the top, like a gold fish bowl. They added something called “white noise” which was like a blower or fan running all the time. Worst of all was the ergonomic chairs, one of which rolled out from under me causing me to bang my head on my cubicle desk and end up in the ER. I retired not long after that. Wonder what is next? Glad I won’t be there for it.


  2. energywriter says:

    So true! I was was happy the first time I had a cubicle instead of a chair on a group work table. Ugh! Everyone knew if I had to blow my nose or hiccup. Paper is only useful for potlucks. Otherwise 25 people would bring chips and the other 25 would bring napkins. I use paper at home too. Main reason, I’ve had a couple computers die and old emails and notices were the only way I could reconstruct my email list. Still working on the most recent disaster deletion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sheila Moss says:

    A few places have figured it out. When I left, they were modernizing. They had lowered the walls but retained the cubicles. The big cheeses still had offices with a glass window added. But they still had doors. *SIGH*


  4. shutupjohn8 says:

    Years ago, when I worked at Duty Free Shoppers in Hawaii as the Visual Merchandising Manager. At that time, Chuck Feney and Robert Miller were still the owners of all 14 divisions around the world. They had a very different take on “The Office”. No money is made in the office, so if you are not interacting with the customers, you will not know what their needs and wants are. All actual offices were the same size no matter your position in the company. I am a hands on individual and with the help of my crew, we were very successful. Your story was oh, so very on the mark!

    Liked by 1 person

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