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Personal Space Issues

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I don't need any responses; I just need to vent (in a long and rambling post ).

I've been temping at an office job for the past month, and it's slowly killing me (for a variety of reasons: too many to catalogue here). The thing that's really bugging me lately, however, is my cubicle space. It's not that it's small, or that it has no windows, or that I haven't brought in anything to pretty it up. It's that I'm apparently the only person who realizes that it's my space.

My cubicle has two walls created out of cloth-covered partitions, one wall that is solid concrete (the factory is on the other side), and the "wall" behind me is, in fact, a row of tall filing cabinets. I face one of the partitions, and the backs of the cabinets are behind me (they're in a little row behind me that is like another cubicle, but just full of cabinets). People will come and stand directly behind me and write on top of the cabinets, or stand in my cubicle and have conversations with other people (yesterday, two people stood in my cubicle and chatted -- with each other, completely ignoring me). It's making me crazy!

I have personal space issues. I'm not germophobic, but random strangers aren't allowed to touch me (unless I'm politely shaking hands after having met them). Only very close friends and my immediate family are allowed to hug me. I'm not demonstrative; I don't ever initiate physical contact, except with my boyfriend (who's well aware of my hang-ups). People standing too close to me (and by "too close" I usually mean "within 3 feet") make me intensely uncomfortable, almost to the point of panic attacks. I need my space, and I need a lot of it. Maybe it's not healthy, but this is the way I function, and no amount of counselling or psychiatric drugs has changed this. I have friends, I have a boyfriend, I get out quite a lot and I'm friendly and generally cheerful; unless you got too close to me, you would never know how uncomfortable I get. I'm not agoraphobic or obsessive-compulsive, I'm just aloof. (I get along great with cats! )

I realize that nothing of this office is actually "mine," that the cubicle and its contents belong to my employees, as does all the office space. I still find it incredibly rude to have people standing in my cubicle (when there's plenty of room to chat elsewhere in this office), carrying on a conversation as if I didn't even exist, while I'm trying to work and finding myself extremely distracted. (Not to mention the fact that they discuss information I'm not really supposed to be privy to!) The worst part is, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, because the worst offenders are the owners of the company: extremely rich people who have partial ownership of a major league hockey team, and to whom I am just a temp and scarcely worth their time or attention. They won't even talk to me. And my supervisors, the people I should be taking this complaint to, are just as intimidated by the owners as I am, so they're no help to me.

I'm in the process of looking for another job, but I can't leave this one until I've got something lined up. I've thought about asking the temp agency to re-assign me, but A) it took them a while to find me this job; B) I know this is a bad time of year for temp/permanent positions; and C) I don't want to seem like a lousy employee for quitting over what must seem like a relatively minor thing. (Although there are other problems here, they're all minor; it's just that there's so many things wrong and they all add up!)

*sigh* TGIF, right?
post #2 of 5
Unfortunately when you have a cubical, that's the way of cubical life. I remember being in my first cubical and it always ticked me off because I sat right next to the mailboxes. When I was gone, people would always come into my cube, OPEN A DRAWER, take a pen to write with to leave a note in someone's mailbox. Then take the pen. It always bothered me...until I began OPENING THEIR DRAWERS and taking post-its, pens, paper clips...that was my little revenge.

Try talking about something weird, something that would freak them out and not want to be around you....or just post a bunch of PETA or anti-this or that signs up...for some reason office employess tend to avoid those cubes.
post #3 of 5
I have a large boundary for personal space too, about like yours. Even when I'm in a car, I have to have no cars on either side of me and plenty of space behind and in front or I get nervous. I would just pretend I was sick, and start coughing / sneezing at people who were in my cubicle for no reason. .

I hope you can find a job you like better soon!
post #4 of 5
I don't have a cubicle, but I have similar issues at my work. Last year they did "corporate restructuring" and moved me to the lobby, and got rid of security during the day. So now I have this huge lobby, a giant desk, and 350 people that walk by me each day, 4 times a day... They come down for lunch, and are waiting for someone else, instead of using their company paid cell phones, they come behind my desk, stand over top of me, and use my phone!!! They don't even ask! Sometimes I can make most of them feel uncomfortable so they rethink themselves and say never mind. But the ones that are so brazen and rude are the rich ones, who are shareholders of the firm, and talk right over top of my head.... as I'm trying to answer the switchboard calls coming in... and there's nothing I can do about it! I feel your pain....
post #5 of 5
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
I would just pretend I was sick, and start coughing / sneezing at people who were in my cubicle for no reason. .

When I am in the Library scanning the shelves I stand back a bit so I can read the titles better. I am very tall, and 4'1" very senior ladies are forever walking in front of me like I'm not there and blocking my view.

Well... they did.
Until I perfected my Sylvester "Wet Sneeze" technique.
Practice it a bit by saying "suffering succotash" with your tongue hanging half out of your mouth, then once you learn how to spray it add a sneezy sound.

I can clear a whole row now in three seconds flat
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