Top 6 Reasons You Need to Decorate Your Cubicle

obligatory cubicle photo

Straight, Childless, Has Personal Life (Sorta)

If you truly enjoy your job, it’s probably because you have a sense of humor. Today’s post is dedicated to every employee who ever needed a laugh to get through the day, but especially to those who know what it’s like to do time at the cube farm.

Without further ado, here are the top 6 reasons you need to decorate your cube, like, pronto.

If you don’t decorate your cubicle, one of your prank-pulling co-workers will.

Remember that one time Kate left for a doctor’s appointment, and when she came back someone had pinned photos of a shirtless Mark Paul Gosselaar to her cube walls?

Although personal decorations aren’t 100% effective at preventing such tragedies, their removal adds a level of difficulty, forcing the prankster to re-evaluate whether the stunt is actually worth it.

Decorate, and your boss will automatically assume you’re in it for the long haul.

Simply install a Dilbert calendar, a photo of your cat, and a few paperweights, and then delight in your boss’s false sense of security as he tells his boss, “This one is going to stay. She really likes it here, I can tell.” And, who knows, with your boss a little more relaxed, you might actually want to stay.

You can get sick, come to work, and still feel like you’re resting at home.

So you’re still hourly and you don’t get paid sick leave? No biggie, just buy one of those pretty boxes of Kleenex like you have on your nightstand.

For over-the-top comfort, plug a vaporizer into your power strip and hang up one of those classy, adhesive 3M hooks for that moment your fever breaks and you no longer need the Snuggie.

Your co-workers will have an easier time making assumptions about your personal life.

Married? Single? Gay? Straight? Children? Pets? Christian? Branch Davidian? One framed photo can answer all of these questions and more, giving that guy in accounting the green light to make the off-color joke he’s been holding onto since you started.

Other items that make stereotyping a breeze include Glee screensavers, crosses of any kind, Tribbles, and four or more iPhone accessories located within the same two-foot radius.

You won’t mistake your cubicle for Brad’s cubicle.

At least not again, because—oh em gee—all of these things do look the same. It’s not your fault the only thing differentiating your cubicle from Brad’s is an extra layer of keyboard plaque. You’re new here. What’s Brad’s excuse?

To easily find your place in the maze, go for that one item no one else has—maybe a Doom mouse pad, a snow globe from Door County, Wisconsin, or an autographed photo of Jim Neighbors.

Now tell me what’s in your cube. (Or show me by attaching a photo to your comment).

Photo credit: ba1969

The Small Business Bonfire & Me

Small Business BonfireI am not being compensated for writing this post. However, I do have something to gain from the Bonfire’s growth.

Several months ago, Alyssa Gregory put out a call for contributors for a new site she was starting, Small Business Bonfire.

I contacted her and a short while later was offered a spot as a contributor for the site’s blog and monthly newsletter. My first small business article for the site—a piece on direct mail marketing—was published back in March.

I also joined the site (you can join for free, you know) for a couple of reasons. First, it’s good business practice for freelance writers to be involved in their clients’ networks and communities. This participation may take different forms depending on the client, but I try to always remember that helping clients is good for my business too.

Second, the Bonfire network is in and of itself valuable to me as a small business owner. I’ve gained something by being a part of the community, and I believe all good things should be shared.

One of the cool new things I learned about while at the Bonfire is the Hello Bar. It is awesome for drawing attention to important messages on my blog. Maybe you noticed that orange bar up there urging you to subscribe to my blog’s feed when you came to Suess’s Pieces today? That’s the free version, and I have a few Hello Bar invites left if you’d like to try it out on your own site. Just leave me a comment.

If you’re self-employed or hope to be, I think you’d really like life around the Bonfire. I’ll even let you pick my brain without charging you my consulting fee.

Genealogy Challenges: Identifying Ancestors is Not for the Feint Hearted

old family photo genealogyby Gael McCarte

Digging for ancestral roots is not for the feint hearted.

My father’s Scottish accent, his expressions like “wee lambies”, “hen”, “duck”, and his insistence that my English mother pressure cook tripe and Scottish Broth provided our cultural frame in Australia.  We were Scots. Even non Scots agree “if you are lucky enough to be Scottish, then you are lucky enough.”

Scots have been described as “…some of the kindest, most generous people… the pace of (Highland) life is gentler than that elsewhere…”  I own that.

My Scottish ancestors were entrepreneurs, a baker with a string of bakery stores and a butcher who owned a number of shops, females both.

My grandfather lived in the old Gorbals.  His WW1 Royal Dublin Fusilier regiment was all but annihilated at Gallipoli.  Lucky to survive, he went to the Western front.  In a book written by one who was there was a photograph of blinded men.  With bandages or one hand over their eyes, other hand on the shoulder of the one in front they stood.  My granddad was blinded there.  In the confusion he was demobbed to Wales, near the fire station in Flynt.  Another researcher’s grandmother (as a girl) remembered the stir when the blinded Scot came to town.  Tradesmen were in short supply and high demand, so with help he opened a carpentry business.   My online contact would take photographs of the area and return the disposable camera so I could develop the pictures.  I never heard from him or my camera again.  Another on line researcher sent me historical photographs.

I claim this history as grandparents fighting at Gallipoli confirms an Australian’s personhood.

Innuendo whispered that my English roots were potted plants, gypsies. I dismissed it, focusing on my English grandmother.   I procured her birth certificate.  It was not hers, it belonged to her namesake with the same birthday.   My English research screeched to a halt.

Our maternal grandfather owned a store.  He sold from the store and from his horse and cart as he drove wares to the countryside.  A rag and bone man, he also sold horses.   We had pugilists, circus owners and performers in our tree.

Somehow the “therefore” eluded me.  My cousin discovered that our maternal grandfather, the rag and bone man was a full-blooded Celtic gypsy.  Taking his mother’s name, the identity of his father remains unknown.  Illiterate, he loved to be read to.

Travellers call themselves Minceir or Pavees. In Irish they’re Lucht Siúil, meaning “the walking people”.  Some books idealize their life on the road, some call travellers “cons”, “tinkers” while others claim traveller life involves alcoholism, violence and grinding poverty.  Some of these books have input from travellers, some do not.

Travellers experienced enforced showers and separation from other children at school, inadequate education and stigmatization within the greater community as adults.

The destruction of traveller camps that leaves bewildered children homeless has spawned supporting social media sites.  On one “Jimbo” wrote “i was born a tinker ill tell u no lie a tinker ill live and a tinker ill die now dont get me wrong i carry no shame the lord made me a tinker and im proud ov me name.”

A non traveller, reviewing a documentary where Scottish travellers were harassed by Police wrote “I couldn’t believe…the levels of bigotry they face(d) everywhere … it was shocking…they were basically told nobody wanted them in their town (so) they moved on…2011 can you believe it?”

Responses to the 2011 series, “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” range from

“I … struggle to see what the ‘Traveller community’ contributes to our society. They cheat our old people, turn rural towns into battlegrounds, and raise children who have no aspiration except to join the ‘welfare queue’… friendly or devout, they seem to be in a cul de sac, not good for them or the rest of us”, to “I have been in travelling people’s camps many years ago and found them friendly and respectful, unlike the racist stereo types you lot are portraying.”

I equally embrace my Scottish and my traveller genes.  As the renown historian and philosopher (Pop Eye) said, “I yam what I yam”.

What have you unearthed digging up your family’s past?

Photo credit: yarnh


Gael is a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, part of a team of forensic psychologists intervening with offenders in the Department of Justice, and a consultant and mediator within the Family Court. She is also a wife and mother to 3 as well as a published author, blogger, and seminar speaker.