Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cubicle Law: By the People, For the People

The U.S. Constitution is a living, breathing document. And so is "The Cubicle Survival Guide." So, in full disclosure, I've have several conversations recently with people who claim that they often -- discreetly -- take off their shoes in their cubicle and no one complains. In fact, many cubicle dwellers claim the feeling, particularly after a long workday or stressful afternoon, is well worth the risk of offending cubicle neighbors. Removing one's shoes frees the blood, eases circulation, and allows one to feel as if they are in control of their own lives and perhaps rebelling against the ceaseless conformity of the cubicle farm and corporate aesthetic. If only for a few minutes. A few, invaluable soul-sustaining minutes.

So, in an unprecedented interpretation of prevailing cubicle etiquette, I'd like to update the following mandate put forth on page 105 of "The Cubicle Survival Guide," in the Chapter Six: Hygiene:

"There is never, ever a justification for removing your shoes at your cubicle, even if you are the Incredible Hulk and find your expanding green feet splitting the seams of your loafers apart."

Indeed, when "The Cubicle Survival Guide" hit bookshelves across America in 2007 the economy and the workplace were different. However, today people are working longer hours for less money, and the incredible strain on their emotional and mental well-being is almost -- for many -- unbearable. If taking off one's shoes allows them to stave off freaking out and jeopardizing their careers, then I'm all for it, assuming they've taken the necessary hygienic steps maintain clean feet. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

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