Your Office Cubicle Is Not the Problem
I presently work in a large corporation. I am fortunate to work for one that responds pretty well to employee needs and helps them grow their career. Many of the business people that I admire are entrepreneurs. They gave up their office cubicle in favor of forging their own way. Perhaps they always did it their way, or perhaps they just threw in the white flag on the problems that exist in the corporate world. There are many reasons why I can understand this choice, because when you are in control of your own destiny, you can feel more empowered to steer it the direction you want to go.
Yet, it saddens me that it seems to be most people view this choice as an either / or situation.
I suspect for many, the internal dialogue is something like this:
“I am either unable to make a difference in corporate america because, despite my best efforts, I do not know how to be more effective.”
“I can go it on my own and forge my own path.”
I realize that not everyone even cares about making a difference in the world. I've been told that I am a unique person for wanting that. However, I certainly hope that more people wake up to wanting to make a difference, and I do not think there is any one specific way to do that. You can make a difference by being a great parent, helping others, the list goes on endlessly.
Yet making a difference in our work hours matters, it matters a whole lot.
Here's why what you do matters:
- It matters because it is where you spend most of your time – your most precious asset
- It matters because you sacrifice doing other things with your time when you chose to spend it ‘earning a living'
- It matters because whatever you do is part of something larger than you, hopefully something that you believe is helping improve in the world
- It matters because it is fulfilling to feel like you are contributing to something with your existence
In corporate america, the problems with engagement and happy employment are not in the cubicles, though I think cubicles are awful ugly environments to work it. The main problem with work life in corporate america is a human problem. It is how we work together as people, how much we care about each other and our cultural expectations of one another. Let me elaborate.
We expect too much out of each other. We breath down each others necks asking when things will get done. We always focus on the next thing being done rather than on the value that we have created. We do not always treat each other like people – we treat each other like cogs in a wheel. Or at least, I have witnessed this occur often.
Ask yourself this question: What would an ideal life look like to me?
It will vary for everyone. If we are going to be a better, more productive society, each day has to include the following ingredients:
- Nourishing food
- Nurturing human interaction
- The ability to be present in creative acts (yes, everyone in every job is a creative being)
- A sense of contribution to a whole
- Breaks in which we rest or truly take care of our needs for a few minutes throughout the day
- Opportunities to learn new things and expand what we know
- Opportunities to share what we know
Does your day look like that? I am getting better at working towards this whole-hearted living. I am grateful that I can and that each day gives me a chance to continue to improve. (Try my elements to happiness planner if you are interested in moving towards this path further).
If you are feeling stuck, if you are not taking care of your basic human needs like exercise, food, human connection and self care, you cannot be the best person you are meant to be or contribute what you have to give to the world. You can take back your ability to have your needs met, by busting through the limited beliefs that got you to where you are.
Our culture must change to allow for all of these things in our daily lives. It is imperative to the sustainable future of a happy, healthy, productive world.
What can we do today to change what we expect out of ourselves and our co-workers so that life can truly be good, even in the office cubicle?
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