10 Reasons I Won’t Miss My Cubicle After I Quit My Job to Travel

by Kim on January 16, 2011 · 37 comments

10 Reasons I Won’t Miss My Cubicle

There are many things I will miss about my current life after I quit my job to travel, but my cubicle isn’t one of them.  I am so ready to be done working in a cubicle farm.  It isn’t natural!  Cowboy, take me away from ergonomical assessments, staff meetings and in-and-out boards. 

Without further ado, I present to you:

The Top 10 Reasons I Won’t Miss My Cubicle

1.  Office Euphemisms

My mom used to have this really weird pet peeve in which she would absolutely lose it if “her” scissors weren’t returned to their home in the junk drawer promptly after use. 

I’ve got the same psychotic pet peeve about office euphemisms.  For some reason, anytime anyone uses the term touch base, run it up the ladder, or the absolute worst, parking lot of ideas it takes every once of my willpower not to go apeshit. 

2.  Badges

In the building I work in, I need my personnel badge to click me in the front door, click me through the security bars, click me into the wing of my department and click me into the lunch room.  The way I’m attached to that thing, you’d think it was my oxygen tank.  Even during my half-an-hour-of-freedom lunchtime walk my badge slaps against my leg, reminding me who’s really in charge. 

3.  Staff Parties and Other Moral Boosters

I know they’re supposed to be fun but staff parties and moral boosters are just awkward.  At my current place of employement I’ve participated in a kickball game, putt-putt golf tournament, a wiener dog balloon animal competition, and numerous baby showers and holiday parties.  Believe it or not, boss, I can’t really get into party mode without a drink in my hand.  And, yes, it actually is a huge pain in my butt to bake homemade cupcakes for the potluck tomorrow. 

4.  2 Weeks of Vacation

This one speaks for itself, but may I just rant for the 8,442 time about how inhumane it is to provide a mere two weeks of vacation time to employees? 

5.  A Dictated Schedule

I hate knowing that rain or shine and barring an 8.5 earthquake I know exactly where I will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  A dictated schedule takes the spontaneity out of life. 

6.  Having a Boss

Every time I sit down to talk with my boss I feel like I’m in the principals office. I’ve never gotten used to hearing someone else talk about me like they own me, commenting on the time I have available to work on a certain project, or the amount of work I have on my plate (another horrible office euphemism).  I mean, can’t I determine for myself how busy I am and how much work I’m able to take on? 

7.  Annual Reviews

I’ve always received good marks but I’m perpetually convinced that I’m under-performing miserably.  The days leading up to my annual review are torturous.  And based on the seriousness of the review you’d think that we were discussing how many lives I have saved, not whether or not I’d met my goal of publishing 8-10 articles in the employee newsletter.

8.  Technical Difficulties

Isn’t it amazing that anytime you need to set up a webcast, give a powerpoint presentation or show a video at a meeting the projector won’t sync with the laptop, the Internet won’t connect or the speakers won’t… speak?  There is nothing that gets me sweating faster than trying to figure out why I can’t log on to my computer while twenty people stare at me and take not-so-discreet glances at their watches.

9.  Awkward Elevator Conversations

I work on the 14th floor of a 15-story building so I’m closely acquainted with the elevator.  The elevator is such a strange social experience.  I find myself either standing shoulder to shoulder with someone and completely ignoring that they’re there or I’ll attempt small talk, even a little humor, and just as the conversation starts rolling the elevator doors open, my new acquaintance exits, and I clunkily end the conversation alone in my moving box. 

10.  Time vs. Production

Let’s be honest.  I can get the same amount of work done in six hours as I can in nine, yet because production and efficiency are not as valued as “putting in your time,” I’m cubical bound for nine hours a day whether I need to be or not.  I spend over half of my waking life in my cage cubicle, sprinting outside on my lunch break for a half an hour of sunshine, and then sprinting back to my desk to put in the mandatory 40+ hours.  I spend more time with my coworkers than I do my husband, my family and my friends.  What’s wrong with this picture?

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Emmanuelle January 17, 2011 at 6:58 am

Oh yes I hear you on that! Especially the schedule, boss, and time vs production things. They drive me crazy! I could have my work done in less time but hey no, I have to put in these 40 hours a week and be chained here.
I’ve asked to have a 4-day work week, I will make the 1-day worth money by teaching yoga and writing. It’s accepted, but it will take months to get implemented. Thinking of quitting altogether, yay!

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Gillian @OneGiantStep January 17, 2011 at 7:12 am

Office gatherings outside of work without a drink are torture!! I mean, I spend 8 hours a day with these folk already without drinking…surely, if I am to extend that I deserve a drink?!! Cheers!

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Lily (Explore for a Year) January 17, 2011 at 8:01 am

Hi Kim,

Great post! I’m in total agreement with you, particularly on 7. Annual Reviews, 8. Tech Difficulties, and 10. Time vs Production.

Those were such misuses of everyone’s time, energy and intuition. I’ve been out of my cubicle for 9 months now and don’t miss any of the things you listed above. I do miss having an income stream sometimes, but even then I have no regrets about my choice to take time off!

– Lily

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Justin Hamlin January 17, 2011 at 10:10 am

Kim –

Could not agree more. I actually was writing a blog similar to this one. I was never a cubicle dweller until 6 months ago, now I have seen this side of the cubicle wall, I know it is not for me.

Great list that even after 6 months, I can relate to completely!

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Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World January 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

My biggest office euphemism is ‘daily tag up’. Tag up? What?

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Casey.Maree January 18, 2011 at 1:36 am

Oh my, it’s like you are writing my exact list – except for the 2 weeks vacation, I am lucky enough to get 4. Another of my most cringe-worthy office Euphemisms is ‘Heads Up’.. grrr.
Great site by the way :)

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Kim January 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

@Emmanuelle Congrats on getting that 4-day week approved. That will be amazing when it finally goes through. Having another day for yoga and writing will be good for the soul. But, I say quit all together! Ha!

@Gillian I could not agree more.

@Lily It is so nice to hear that you don’t regret your decision one bit. It gives me a little more strenght to take the leap, knowing that I won’t regret my decision either.

@Justin yep, six months was about all it took for me (or less). I’ve had other cube jobs where I was able to move around more and they weren’t so bad. But this one my butt is glued to my chair and it is so, so hard to handle. It is so not natural. Nothing about cubicals is natural!

@Jill- I haven’t heard that one, thankfully!

@Casey- Oh, four weeks, you are lucky! You won’t believe it but I got almost six weeks at my old job. Why did I leave that job again? My happiness level was much higher, I felt like I had a much better work/life balance. Two weeks of vacation- not so much.

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Scott January 19, 2011 at 6:49 am

I can’t believe how I keep finding myself going back to this list. I swear it is like you have gotten in my head and found the stupid ass things that make me want to chew on broken glass daily. I am reminded again of this on this Wednesday morning as I walk into the office I sit in and I am greeted by someone who sits in the same office as I do with the same greeting I get every Wednesday morning from him: “It’s Hump Day!” Tomorrow, as with every other Thursday, I will be told that “It’s Friday Eve!” in our morning salutations and of course on Friday I will no doubt be greeted with the Holy Grail of weekday office euphenisms, “Thank God It’s Friday!”. This individual has been working here for over 35 years and has no doubt been uttering these phrases roughly 52 times a year (minus vacation days and holidays) for the better part of that tenure. While I too am happy and thankful when another Friday rolls around I sincerely hope that I never reach the point that I must exclaim this feeling as a grossly overused salutation. The fact that these sayings have developed as a way to help someone through their week is the truly sad part. I never want to see the day that my life becomes a bunch of Thursday’s strung together each one distinguished only by a catchy phrase to signify how far along in the week it is.

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Caitlin January 19, 2011 at 6:50 am

I just want to add that I think I could live a perfectly happy and content life if I never hear the words “tickle your calender” again. What does that even mean? Why tickle…my calender is not Elmo!!?!?

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Kim January 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

@ Scott Haha! Yep, we all fall prey to the morning salutations sometimes. Maybe you should feel lucky. Where I work, no one even greets me when I walk in!

@ Caitlin Haha to you too. You guys are cracking me up. The workplace is such an interesting subculture. I guess that’s why the show ‘The Office’ does so well.

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Steve Roy January 23, 2011 at 5:23 am

Kim,
This is spot on and my life in a nutshell as well. It’s REALLY awesome that you and your husband are getting the hell out! Very few people will ever have the balls to do that!

Traveling the world sounds like an incredible adventure and I wish you much luck and happiness.

Think of me sitting at my desk pretending to work when you’re walking down the streets of Amsterdam….

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Kim January 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

Thanks Steve. I’ll think of you… but hopefully I’ll also read on your blog that you’ve found a way out as well. Good luck to you!

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Spencer February 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Great list! I agree. I wouldn’t be surprised if you never work in an office again. After I went travelling for 18 months through America,Europe and Asia I started my own business and have never looked back! I wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t of experienced the joys of travelling.

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Kim February 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Wow Spencer, you are describing my dream come true. I hope you’re right and I never go back to a cubicle!

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Kyle Morgan February 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Glad to hear that you’re escaping from Cubeville! It’s a horrible place to get stuck, the open road is way better!

I’ve managed to move from a boring Cubeville in the US to a job that I love in Malaysia. It’s almost like an adventure coming to work everyday as I’m the only native English speaker in the office!

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Kim February 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Hi Kyle. Escaping from cubeville is my numero uno goal at the moment. It is just not for me! What are you doing in Malaysia? I’ll go poke around you blog and see if I can’t answer that question myself. I’m glad you’ve found a job you love in a new, amazing place. It sure sounds like an adventure!!

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Irina Sazonova February 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm

All of those (and loads more) are precisely the reason why I do not regret quitting my job and setting off on the road.

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Kim February 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Hi Irina. It’s always great to hear when people quit and don’t regret it. Actually, I’ve never heard anyone say they regret quitting their job to travel, but it’s still a huge fear! I should look around and take the experience of all of my fellow travelers into consideration the next time I start worrying about the risk of quitting!

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flights to ghana March 19, 2011 at 4:48 am

that’s nice and entertaining . I really enjoyed it .

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Kim March 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Thanks, glad you liked it. :)

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Sara March 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm

This is hilarious… So true! Especially the badge part. I started just carrying mine when I went places so it didn’t have to be on me at all times. Occasionally I get locked out but it’s worth it for the partial freedom!

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Kim March 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Hi Sara, I totally agree the freedom is worth it! If anyone can appreciate this post it is my fellow co-worker!

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Amanda @ 88 May 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm

For meeting and exceeding last month’s goal at my office – all of us were treated to pedicures. They set a schedule and had a pedi-cab come pick us up for our . . . pedicures right from the office. (Ha! Pedi-cab for the pedi-cure!) They were done at a super nice spa and with the ride over, the pedicure, and the ride back I was out of the office for a little over an hour. While it was an awesome treat – no one was working anyone’s desks while we were out. It might seem crazy – but even 1 unplanned hour out of the office throws the entire day (which can lead into the WEEK) out of whack. I would have rather been allowed to leave free and clear an hour early on a Friday. Spending more time at work than anywhere else really is a struggle.
Amanda @ 88 recently posted..this kills me

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Kim May 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Ahh, pedicures. Do you work in an office with all women?? ;) Yeah, I always think that the best reward is TIME. Give me time off!!

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Carmel May 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

My least favorite office buzz word is “dovetail.” I worked at a temp job for a few months and there was a guy who LOVED these little buzz words. He liked to dovetail everything. So annoying. Luckily I’m in the medical field now and these cute little business words and phrases are less common (although not UNcommon).

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Kim May 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

Dovetail is a good one. Haha. I am going to start keeping a list of the buzz words. They are seriously hilarious.

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Andrew - The Unframed World June 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Dedicated schedule and having a boss are my two reasons for doing what I love as a travel photography blogger. Great post. Very inspiring.
Andrew – The Unframed World recently posted..13 Meter Stage Dives at Kiyomizu Temple

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Those are two very good reasons Andrew. More than anything I cannot wait to live without a dedicated schedule. I vow to be spontaneous again!

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Rotub August 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I agree with everything you wrote here. I have had (and continue) to limit the amount of time I spend thinking about this stuff. It drives me insane and saddens me. I quit my full time job to go back to full time study in an attempt to learn again and get all that free time /freedom that i missed so much.

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Kim August 10, 2011 at 7:51 am

Congrats on making the leap out of the cubicle! I can’t wait until I can say the same thing.

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Jo October 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Awkward ‘small talk’ conversations with ‘higher ups’ – & they ALWAYS end the convo with, “Well, let me know if you need anything… ” then they saunter away with their coffee mug in hand & a fake smile plastered on their face, onto the next employee.

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Kim October 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Oh, I can relate to that one completely. I am SO AWKWARD around higher-ups for some reason. All of that power they have (over me) makes me so uncomfortable. I usually avoid eye contact and interaction completely.

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Cait April 12, 2014 at 4:42 pm

As I posted on my Facebook page after pasting a link to your “Dreams are free” post… This blog is making me lose my mind – in a good way. I do that Internet search day and night to find out how to make my dreams come true, so to speak. A few months ago I found your book but waited to order it (money… eh), and earlier this week, in another one of my daily (yes, at work) Internet Explorer sessions with a million tabs open, I came across your book again. And now your blog. And I’ve started from the beginning and am slowly reading every entry. This is so inspiring, as I’m sure you’ve heard a million times. Almost everything you say strikes a chord with me, I mean, I am living in Portland (Maine)! But still, it’s a Portland! Anyway, those office euphemisms… “shoot me an email” is one I can’t wait to never hear again.

Thank you for posting your journey. Really, thank you.

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Kim April 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

Ah, Cait, it sounds like your journey has already begun :) Let me tell you I do not miss office euphemisms AT ALL!

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J June 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

I left the cubical world and wrote about how to do it and exit the rate race early. This true story titled “Don’t Let The System Tell You When to Retire” can be purchased at Amazon. It is my concise true story about my time tested proven strategies to give you more life options. Life is too short to be in a cube ;-)

-The Author

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