Dear Ms. DiOrio,
Thank you for your letter of praise for what the office cubicle means to you. I presume you thought your “open letter to people or entities who are unlikely to respond” would be lost in cyberspace. (Another highfalutin word I’m sure you feel is unnecessary.) However, I have been asked to respond on Mr. Miller’s behalf.
While we do appreciate your sentiments, I must, on behalf of everyone at our company, correct some of your more egregious errors (the factual ones, not the errors in thinking). Mr. Miller did begin the company that allowed you and Dilbert to flourish (we receive no proceeds from Mr. Adams), however the inventor of the cubicle was Mr. Robert Propst. And, as with most inventors (think Dr. Frankenstein, for example), he became dismayed at what his creation became (“egg-carton geometry” was one phrase he used to describe the way people applied it).
In point of fact, we are proud that our company not only makes what is known as open plan furniture, but also that we are very open about their value to the world. We realize that there are those such as Rich Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations who think cubicles “kill morale, communication, productivity, creativity, teamwork, camaraderie, energy, spirit, and results.” On the other side are those, such as one person responding to Mr. Sheridan’s tirade, who say they “like the privacy of cubicles” and “would be too distracted by an open environment.”
The point is that to dictate any mode of working is not a good idea—even the most creative and team-oriented people in the world need to work alone sometimes. The answer is to give workers a choice, which is why we make everything from desks that snap together to cubicles that turn the idea of the cubicle upside down.
In conclusion, it seems that the underlying issue you are dealing with is not so much the cubicle and your annoying co-workers as much as it is your boss’s management style. Change her (or him or whatever), and your spirits will be lifted no matter what type of office you are working in.
Mr. Randall w. Braaksma
Assistant to the Assistant
Art by Dave Albers