Less than two years ago, I lived in a cubicle. I drove forty miles a day through glacial traffic to and from it. Within the cubicle, I was assaulted by e-mails and text messages and phone calls and visits from angry little creatures who neither wanted nor understood the technology I was made to foist upon them. My associates and I were chronically understaffed and overmanaged. And the virtual workpile, no matter how deeply we shoveled, was always up to our chins, and threatening greater height. For 14 hours out of every 24, I was focused (or supposed to be) on the needs of my workplace. Every day I would arrive at the cube farm, disarm access points on 5 different locked doors, dutifully place my dog collar of an ID badge around my neck and fire up my cell phone leash. Three giant monitors on my desk would blink groggily to life, as I tried to do the same, aided by burnt coffee with polymer whitening-agent. I punched a digital timeclock, which tracked my hours. I logged into the networks, where the digital workpile lived and festered. I logged into the phone system, which tracked my every voice communication, and where my conversations could be monitored from any telephone on earth. I was physically tethered to the cubical, too. A headset connected me to the land lines and allowed me to continue working the keyboard and touch screens which threatened my wrists, while the angry little creatures sniveled directly into my ears. There could be no more efficient assault on all the senses at once.
And then, for some reason, after 14 years in the cubicle, I quit.
The soul-sucking dehumanization of my life as a technologist had finally taken its last from me, and away I went. The door didn't hit me.
Now my IN box looks like this:
And also, THIS
Now I interact with people and things that I like. Almost every single day. When I'm hungry, I eat. If I'm sleepy, I take a nap. If I need to breathe air, I open a window. And there are these people who live at my house that I finally am getting to know. I thought we were a family when I lived in the cube, but it turned out we were only weekend associates. I actually know things about them now, like how and when they like to sleep, eat and play. Stuff they never did during the two waking hours of each day that I was available to them, back in the old times.
Free of the tethers of access badges, time clocks, network use tracking and call monitoring, I have almost entirely regained my humanity (though I still have a distrustful relationship with my TV remote).
And yes, if you're wondering, our financial world is completely different now, too. We don't eat out, or have a housekeeper, or go away on vacation any more. There are days when I don't know where the next bowl of Froot Loops is coming from.
I wouldn't change a thing.
I am so blessed to have met my family before they outgrew me. I am so lucky to have friends who support me in my work. I am so fortunate that my health allows me to take eating and sleeping and running and jumping totally for granted. Many Thanks, God, for all you give to me and mine. I hope we can be worthy. Speaking of which, I have a lot of hard and delightful work to get to. My IN box is overflowing.