Why I Took a Dull Gray Cubicle Job

May 09, 2019

Dear Imaginative Woman,

I took my second Dull Gray Cubicle (DGC) job when I was 28.

My first one was a short, 3 week stint at a mutual fund company when I was 20. It was only 3 weeks because I gave my 2 weeks notice almost immediately, when I realized I totally hated working in a cubicle and that I would never, ever, ever do such a thing to myself again!

I love 20 year old Emma. She had her principles, she was healthy and strong, and she was not going to compromise herself for something as silly as a paycheck.

28 year old Emma, however, had fallen on some hard times.

Technically, 28 should've been the prime of my life. It should have been that great age when youthful energy merges with grownup smarts.

The only problem was, I had pretty much zero youthful energy.

At the time I had been teaching pre-school (3-5 year old kids) for five years.

I loved that job. It was fun and interesting, but it was also overwhelming. Taking care of kids consumed all my energy.

On top of that I had been diagnosed with two auto-immune system disorders that caused deep fatigue, the kind of fatigue where it feels like you're moving through water every time you do anything because your muscles are so tired.

I had to quit teaching, because I literally couldn’t do it anymore. I didn't have the energy to run around or sing or do any of the things pre-school teachers need to do to keep kids safe all day.

I needed a job where I could recover my energy, and I found the perfect one.

I got a cubicle job doing data entry for a non-profit.

I worked in a little gray cubicle in a basement office. There were no windows, the air quality sucked, and I was staring at spreadsheets. This was 20 year old Emma's nightmare, but I didn't care anymore, because I could sit all day, recover my energy, and I freaking loved my paycheck!

This job was utter relief for my physical and nervous systems.

I was enthralled with office life. I could do things I could never do as a pre-school teacher, for example:

  • I could go to the bathroom anytime I wanted!! I could just get up and walk away from my cubicle without anyone’s safety being risked. Whaaaat? Amazing!
  • I could have a whole drawer full of snacks, and I could microwave things in the kitchen whenever I felt like it!!
  • I didn't need to coordinate breaks with other colleagues, and I was able to go for little walks during the day.
  • I could go on Facebook and YouTube and do all the internet things!! Fun!!

For sure I noticed the people around me seemed miserable, and I remembered hating that first Dull Gray Cubicle job. But I didn't care because I was in the lap of luxury, and it was perfect!

Until I recovered, and all my natural energy came back.


 

I'll tell you what happens next in Part 2, which will be published next Thursday!

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