Though I’m contractually obligated to refrain from blogging about my company, I think it’s safe to say I can write about anonymous people in my office in a pseudo-social light that has no impact on the company’s business or my relationship with it.
Plus, this is just too interesting to pass up.
Here goes. My cubicle is in a high traffic area. Most people in the office know my name and it’s fair to say that many people on my floor see me on a daily basis because I’m in between the copy room and the kitchen/bathroom area. One of my four cubicles walls is also made of glass (though it can feel like a fish bowl occasionally, it’s actually a great spot).
Daily, about eight people stop by or throw remarks, greetings and odd phrases my way. And, during the holidays, they visit more frequently when I put out festive treats people scarf down as if they’ve never eaten before, but that’s a whole other post… Anyway, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon I’d like to share. About once or twice a week, male co-workers will comment on my “seriousness” or how I always look “pensive” while working at my computer. Or, they’ll ask if I’m mad, sad, or frustrated, even if we are not in conversation and I haven’t expressed any inclination of these feelings to them.
Now, here’s the thing, they all have private offices, with doors, but when I’ve walked by their desks they are not smiling pleasantly at their desks either — they are concentrating. Like me. This is a work place, where people are paid to sit at their computers, think and do their jobs — not sit at their desk typing away and pausing to cordially curtsy and grin like some crazed Victorian era maiden every time a someone walks by. And, would they be interrupting my work, asking me what’s wrong, or commenting on my ability to focus, if I were a dude? Probably not.
The fact that I’m “serious” and “pensive” is a good thing — it means I’m doing my job. Why should that incite comments, concern or a seeming distaste that I’m not sitting here decorating the office with my smile? Sorry boys, this isn’t Mad Men. And, frankly, it’s insulting that the concept of me “thinking,” or being a hard-worker is worthy of awkward banter while they are on their way to take a piss.
Do they expect me to smile and look cheerful because I’m a woman? Or, am I the jerk — and they are simply concerned that I’m working too hard? Though they may not know it, I suspect there’s an underlying prejudice when these lookie-loos peer into my cubicle.
If you’ve experienced any odd cubicle culture snafus because of your location in the office, or your gender, leave a comment below. I’m always up for hearing more stories about your career life, thoughts, etc.