There was an awful story in the news yesterday: a county employee in Los Angeles died at her desk, in her cubicle, and was not found until the next day by a security guard. The police think she may have been dead for as long as a full day before her body was found.
The story sounds like the over-the-top plot of an Office Space knock off, but unfortunately it is true. Think for a moment about what that story means. For hours, apparently, no one passed by the worker’s cubicle and noticed her condition. No one stopped by to visit or interact or checked to see why she wasn’t showing up for a meeting or returning phone calls. When everyone left for the night and turned out the light, no one saw that she still was there, slumped over her desk. For anyone who works in a large office environment, it is the ultimate nightmare.
What does it say about the solitary and empty nature of cubicle work in a modern office if a worker can die at their desk without someone — anyone! — noticing for a full day? In view of this kind of story, can anyone really wonder why so many people find their cubicle existence a cold, separate, unsatisfying, soul-deadening experience?