What Working in a Cubicle Taught Me about being a Duck

"blue toned photo of office cubicles"This past June marked my 2 year anniversary of doing something I always vowed I would never do: work in an office. Even as  a child I knew I could never be content with a 9 to 5, play-by-the-rules, “there’s no “I” in team” career.  I’m a solitary creature.  Teamwork gives me a headache.  Yet, there I was.

How did I get there?  When the economy went into a tailspin a few years ago so did my massage therapy practice.  Throw in a hurricane evacuation and there you have it.  I moved to a small town and worked a job which at its best provided me with a paycheck and at its worst left me in tears with high blood pressure and vowing to quit…which is precisely what I did last week.  I am now dedicating my life to my art, photography, writing, reiki and love of vintage clothing. Am I thrilled with my decision?  Absolutely.  Were the past 2 years all for naught?  No way.  I leave with important lessons tucked under my business casual belt…lessons which I may not have learned otherwise…lessons I now impart to you, my dear.

Lesson 1:

People Will Talk

"photo of girls telling secrets"…and talk and talk and talk some more.  There are always people ready to tear you down; Negasaurus Rex who are intent on spreading their misery and drama to those around them.  Sometimes this is done in front of you, other times behind your back.  They talk about you. They talk about each other. Sinner or saint, it doesn’t matter.  You could be Mother Teresa and someone will still talk smack about you.  That’s just the way it goes.  The best course of action?  Ignore it and don’t play along.

Lesson 2:

Not Everyone Loves You

"photo of voodoo doll with needles in heart"If you were raised an only child, like me, then this may come as a shock.  It’s sad, but it’s true.  There are people who simply do not and will not like you.  Why?  They might not like your haircut, your laugh or you remind them of someone form their past that they detest.  The reasons vary wildly.  But do you know what?  It doesn’t matter. Whatever their issue, it’s just that…THEIR ISSUE, not yours, so don’t sweat it!

Lesson 3:

You Are Not A Doormat

It is your right (and your responsibility) to be happy…and to say “no.” You don’t have to do so-and-so a favor because of blah-blah-blah.  If you want to do it, go right ahead, but you’re never under any obligation.  Nowhere is it written that in order to be a good person you must say yes to everyone and everything.  It’s perfectly fine to say no. There’s nothing wrong with having boundaries.  Try it sometime.

Lesson 4:

Be A Duck

"photo of rubber duck splashing in water"Ducks’ feathers are coated with oil.  When they come into contact with water it just rolls right off of them, leaving them dry and no worse for wear.  Let life’s annoyances do the same thing; let them roll right off of you. Does this mean tolerating unacceptable behavior from others?  Nope.  If someone treats you like crap there are numerous solutions for handling them and the situation.  Walk away.  Kill them with kindness (love is a powerful weapon for positive change).  The options are endless and the decision is entirely yours.  You can’t control other people but you can control yourself,  your thoughts and your actions.  Reclaim your power.  Take responsibility for yourself. Whether you explode in anger or laugh it off is up to you.

I am oddly thankful for my cubical experience.  It helped me grow.  It taught me different ways to manage different (and sometimes difficult) personalities.  It solidified what I want from life by showing me what I absolutely do not want from life.  It also taught me to be a duck.  So if you’ll excuse me, I have a new life to swim to.  *quack quack*

Kisses & Chaos,

Alli Woods Frederick

image credits:  SD(#28134) – Mark Sebastian*  I’m Lying – Taylor Dawn Fortune  *  Broken-Heart – Malekat Dubai  * No – Paul G  *  Splishy Splashy – Rachel Carter
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  • Sarah

    This has to be one of my favorite additons to date! I have to add, that I can think of another good thing that came of that experience! Without it, we may have never met! 😉 And I’m really glad we did! <3

    • As am I.

  • Jennifer

    I love this post Alli! I too know what I DON’T want to spend my life doing. Just reinforces my decision for me 🙂

    • Amen to that!

  • Valerie

    Alli, good for you! I did the same thing (quit a lucrative desk job) six years ago and have been soooooo much happier ever since. I can honestly tell people that I love my job and that it makes me feel good. No office environment ever did that for me. so, know that I mean it when I say that I’m thrilled for you. You lucky duck!

    • Hooray for happiness!
      And thank you for the well wishes!