If you believe the news, all CEOs are now opting to live like lowly peons, in burlap cubicles and open offices, elbow to elbow with the hoi polloi. This egalitarian vision of the future warms our hearts, especially since we have never, ever experienced it in real life.
We’re not saying that there aren’t CEOs who long to mingle with the masses. We’re just saying that we’ve never met a high-level executive who would voluntarily give up his or her swanky private office, shiny furniture, and other assorted perks, in order to get closer to the people. It’s human nature, maybe: If you can use your position to get office furniture made out of real wood, why wouldn’t you?
Perhaps if you want the truth, you need to consult press releases. After all, if someone is selling something, it’s probably because someone else has expressed interest in buying it. We have to think that there’s probably still a pretty high demand for, say, high-end office furniture for CEOs. Even modular furniture companies are getting in on the act. Witness this recent release from ACISCO, touting its workstations for high-level executives:
“Available in a variety of styles on www.ACISCO.com, the modular office furniture for sale affords upper-level employees the privacy and meeting space they require while still offering the flexibility common to all modular stations.”
I guess furniture companies should be glad that executives and managers still need privacy and meeting space, since the average person does so well without either. For example, we once worked in a cube the size of a gas station bathroom. It was intended for one person. Three people worked there, not counting the intern, who came in occasionally to weep when there were too many people in the bathroom to make a private crying session feasible.
We also once worked in a storage closet. This was exciting, because although there were no windows, there was an actual door. Unfortunately, that door did not have a handle on the inside. We did not discover this until we were locked in. Fortunately, someone came to look for us before the air ran out. If there hadn’t been a staff meeting, they would have found our bodies in the spring.
The point, obviously, is that privacy is for the weak and comfort for the lazy. We are perfectly happy sharing our department’s single solitary pen, and swapping out our broken chair for our coworker’s slightly better chair when she goes to lunch. It’s like pioneer days! You go ahead and take that semi-private modular workspace, Mr. CEO. We’re too tough for that sort of thing.