In possibly the most horrifying workplace story ever, an employee at a New Jersey pharmaceutical company was told that she must take down pictures and mementos of her dead daughter. Apparently, the cubicle shrine was making her coworkers uncomfortable, so her boss informed her that she was to remove photos and other personal items, including her daughter’s toe shoes, and also to stop talking about her daughter altogether. Why? “Because she is dead.”
This boss is clearly the winner of the Least Sensitive Manager Ever award, beating out such luminaries as Donald Trump and that guy at the diner who’s always screaming at the other waitstaff. However, it’s worth noting that there are some things that really should never, ever be kept in cubicles. (Please note that this list does not include pictures of your child. You should be able to keep those … and we’re not even going to start explaining why.)
The following items, however, should be immediately removed from your cubicle; or better yet, never introduced in the first place:
1. Drugs and drug paraphernalia.
“Duh,” we here you saying. “Would I be so stupid as to keep drugs and drug-related items in my actual cubicle?” Well, you might. Especially if you extend “drug-related” to include movie posters featuring giant pot leaves or pictures of your favorite band holding a bong. We have seen both these things in cubicles over the years. Don’t do it.
2. Pictures of nekkid people.
We don’t care how attractive your friends are: We don’t want to see them in any stage of undress. Yes, that includes bathing suits. One of the nicest things about working in an office is that you have the reasonable expectation that you’ll never have to look at anyone’s uncovered butt. Don’t ruin that for everyone.
3. Political posters.
This is confusing for people who feel that their views are the majority opinion for their area. But even if every single person in your office claims to be voting for Joe Schmoe, it’s not appropriate to wallpaper your cube with campaign materials. Don’t start fights where there’s nothing to gain.
4. Anything smelly.
The way things are going, everyone on earth will someday have a fatal allergy to an element they run into every day. (We’re thinking about developing one to oxygen. Why be boring?) We’re all very proud of you for your ability to grow rare Bolivian orchids in a cubicle, but we don’t want to smell them all day. Ditto your aromatherapy situation and your potpourri. Keep it on the coffee table at home.
5. Weapons of any kind.
This item has a place of honor at the end of the list, because after all the previous items, it should be obvious why it’s included. After a day of dealing with your smelly, overly political, nekkid, drug-abusing coworkers, you probably can’t be trusted with a weapon.