Inevitably Agile

somethings are just inevitable …

WARNING – rant on cubicle correctness


We’ve all heard of PC (political correctness) and I’m sure we’ve all messed it up at some time or another.
For the vast majority of us who work in cubicle-ville there is CC (cubicle correctness).
I am regularly emailed with a complaint of a neighbour in cubicle-ville. This is not always in favour of the complainer as I don’t believe in equal behaviour for all. I believe some people have earned the right to have slightly longer casual conversations and others should not be talking at all.

The usual complaints are:

  • Inappropriate personal conversations on the phone.

Have you heard the cell phone advertisement where the girl all but shouts to her boyfriend on a poor reception phone that its ok she does not have gonorrhoea? Nice – we don’t care and we DEFINETLY don’t want to know that much about your personal life – I promise!

  • Too many personal conversations on the phone.

No one minds one or two personal conversations on the office phone – we get it. We all have lives outside the office and business hours are business hours for all the people we need to contact as well. But when you are on the phone every hour as you are personally micromanaging your home renovations (I am guilty of this one), or because you are actually running a business on the side, or because you are the family gossip and responsible for calling each member with the latest news – that is a NO-NO.

  • Repeats of your VERY interesting story

Its fine to get rid of your morning stress by telling the story of your car breaking down in traffic (or how cute your dog is, or what your charming child did at school yesterday), but when I and everyone else has to hear the same story told to each person as they arrive at work that is UNCOOL. Don’t you have work to do? If no – go have coffee where all the new arrivals will be and tell your story there, over and over, where people aren’t trying to work.

  • Hygiene.

This is a broad topic – it covers eating at your desk (again – I am guilty here). Its quite distracting and annoying to hear someone slurping their food and hearing knives and forks and smelling food next to you. Rather eat in the kitchen, a meeting room or go outside for some air. And if you cant help but eat at your desk – clear your plates and utensils IMMEDIATELY. Having rotting food and fruit flies all over because your neighbours desk is a pig sty is NASTY.

On the other end of hygiene we have BO (the dreaded body odour). Just about no-one is going to tell you that you stink. But they will gossip about you and avoid you. If someone is constantly spraying smelly stuff in the air – take the hint.

Do NOT clip your toe nails at your desk at work – I don’t care if you’re Brad Pitt – its NOT on.

Stop sniffing and bringing phlegm up in your throat. Its absolutely disgusting! Use tissues and/or go to the bathroom. Again – if someone leaves tissues on your desk … its a hint!

  • Discussions.

If you have a short discussion in muted tones – that’s fine – but longer meetings should be held in an office or meeting room


In general – be considerate! Think: What would my mom say?

Open areas exist to save space and to allow people to communicate easily. So there will be noise – if you hate it – then invest in a pair of really good ear phones. If you have a cell-phone, keep it on you or keep it on silent. We don’t want to listen to your ring tone (as hip as you might think it is).

Finally – if you have an ignorant, uncaring cubicle neighbour – print this out and place it on their desk with a lemon – hopefully they get the hint (you might need to highlight some phrases)…

UPDATE (17 May 2010)

Just found 2010 – Top workplace pet peeves.


3 responses to “WARNING – rant on cubicle correctness

  1. Malcolm March 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    lol … having a bad day? ;P

  2. sam March 24, 2010 at 6:52 am

    haha- no actually 🙂 But some people on my team were and I decided to write about it.

  3. Pingback: agile, Complaints, scrum master, team, scrum, inspect and adapt, leadership | Growing Agile

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