There’s something about the word that elicits a very poignant image in the mind, most likely something like this famous scene from Office Space.
In our culture, “cubicles” tend to be a symbol for a “dream deferred.” It is where the restless creatives sit and hope for their “big break,” their chance to “do what they love” and “follow their passion.”
What a lot of people run into is the vicious cycle of saying, “I hate my job,” or “I hate where I work,” not realizing the energy they are bringing to the situation. The truth is, the cubicle is an inanimate object. It’s a few walls. But how you feel within them is up to you.
A perfect example of this is the lonely millionaire who sits poolside, gazing out at a morning sunrise with his cappuccino and his newspaper, and for some reason still feels unhappy.
Is that the sunrise’s fault? Is that the cappuccino’s fault?
Of course not. That unhappiness lives inside the person — and nowhere else.
Unfortunately, it is far easier to wallow in self pity while sitting in your cubicle than it is to remain positive, open-minded about the future, and even excited to embrace the other seven hours of the day available after you “clock out.” But what happens is so many people spend all day sitting in their cubicle rehearsing the same script over and over again — “I hate my job, I hate where I work” — that by the time they leave, they are emotionally exhausted. And rightfully so! You just spent eight straight hours repeating to yourself “I’m unhappy.” What did you think was going to happen?
This is a reminder to those who work somewhere that is not their end goal, and especially those contained in the infamous “cubicle.” If you are not satisfied with your work, then find a way to make that environment work to your advantage. Learn what you can. Connect with the people around you. Make an effort to practice the skills you may need down the road now. And most of all, if nothing else, use those eight hours a day as an opportunity to practice the extremely difficult habit of positive thinking. See what happens if you can remain open and positive throughout the day, and how much more inspired you will be to work on your “dream” after-hours.
Sitting in a 4×4 box of office memos and excel spreadsheets might not be the most exhilarating thing in the world, but it’s where you are right now. Don’t add to the frustration with your own inner dialogue. Instead, practice the emotional skills needed for you to ultimately “do what you love.”
It all depends on what you choose to do with it.
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Originally published at www.inc.com