The Incredible Shrinking Office

Maybe you've recently been laid off ... or perhaps your parting of ways with your former employer is not so recent, and you're still doggedly out pounding the pavement, rejiggering your résumé, and search-search-searching for a job.

I know how you feel. I've been there too. It stinks.

But this post is not about that, nor about how to get a job. (We'll save those topics for another time.)

This post is about something called schadenfreude. Which is, in essence, a feeling of joy based on the misfortune of others. (See Avenue Q for a definition set to music.)

I'm sure you're thinking: How can this schaden-thing possibly apply to me? I'm the one without a job! I'm the one with the misfortune!

Well, no, not exactly. Because in this time of company and staff and job downsizing, they're also downsizing cubicles.

Remember that teeny little box you had to sit in back when you had a job? The one that barely had enough room for your computer monitor, keyboard, mousepad, and a tiny cup of bad office coffee? The one with the awkward wall height that revealed your neighbor's ill-groomed eyebrows but nothing below, and did not drown out the sounds of him/her smacking noisily on leftovers from the conference room one iota?

That little cube is about to get smaller, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Now, I understand the need to scrimp and save and make ends meet, but really, whose ingenious idea was this? Imagine having to sit in one of those "cubinis" every day and respect yourself in the morning. And if anyone's on the verge of going postal, well...Not good.

Meanwhile, you, my friend, are safely and comfortably ensconced in your own home and/or home office, or at least plopped in your most comfortable chair, without the walls closing in like a scene from Star Wars.

Don't you feel better?

Jen Doll is a former magazine editor and a current writer, blogger, editor, and odd-jobs-person in New York City. You can find more from her at and

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Trudy Oldfield

Reading about the "cubicles" that are the size of pea pods and barely have enough air in them to breath - it's no wonder everyone is sick or half sick all the time! There are "parks" all over the place that are "EMPTY" BECAUSE COMPANIES HAVE GONE OUT OF BUSINESS. The owners would rather have them as write-offs rather than allow those companies that are trying to start up or remain in business rent them at a "reasonable rate" and give employees enough space to be creative and actually THINK! By shoving people into PODS, they are actually doing their companies in. They treat them like animals and believe me most animals get treated better than that! But to continue, they treat them like animals and wonder why they are not more productive. You can only get out what you put in!!!
I am so-o-o happy I am retired before all this is happening. I am so-o-o sad that my children are experiencing this assault in their business lives! Of course there is always WALL STREET AND THE IVORY TOWERS IF YOU WANT TO BE ON THE GREEDY SIDE OF LIFE! AND LIVE OFF THE "LITTLE PEOPLE." LITTLE PEOPLE = the rest of the taxpayers who are working in the PODS! What an ugly world we have become.

December 27 2009 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam Globman

Thanks Al Schrader.....loser!

December 27 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave S

I think Al Schrader needs to be sentenced to 30 years in one of his power rows.....

December 27 2009 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

working in an office is easy no matter what size it is, it aint heavy lifting quit complaining

December 27 2009 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There are two kinds of operating philosophies company management operates with. One takes the outlook that "employees are our most valuable assest, so we hire the best, pay them well to keep them and make them happy when they are with us." The other takes the outlook that "employees are all replaceable,squeeze them to enhance profitability, some will leave but who cares?" Which would you like to work for? I've worked for both (now work for myself). Reducing employee comfort at the workplace is just one sign that you work for an employer who thinks "any monkey can do your job." Polish up your resume and go find an enlightened employer -- they exist.

December 27 2009 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why in the world are there so many ads for websites in these comments blocks? It seems to me that, if these people have a product or service to sell or advertise, maybe they should start their own site, instead of piggybacking on comment blocks like this. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that they were too lazy to do their own work and were claimjumping.

December 27 2009 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Reminds me of an old farmer I met year's ago , at the end of October , he would pick out a goose , nail it's feet to a board , and corn feed it till Christmas .

December 27 2009 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My company instead of calling it "downsizing," said the correct term to use is "rightsizing." Their bonus really increased when the company was "rightsized." Funny how that worked.

December 15 2009 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web