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  D.F.'s Column Archive

February 5, 2007

Management and the Great Cubicle Posting Debate


“The seventh and final item on the management meeting agenda shouldn’t take long at all,” announced Quimberly, who presides over each management meeting and never saw a discussion item he was willing to wrap up quickly when he could extend it to last the entire afternoon.


You have to cut Quimberly some slack. Running these meetings is his one big moment in the sun every week. The rest of the time, he pushes numbers and crunches paper, or something like that. But in The Chair, well . . . Quimberly is quite the man. So no topic is too mundane for executive-level attention in this company. You want proof? Behold:


“Management needs to clarify its policy with respect to cubicle material postings,” announces Chairman Quimberly.


Squeeseland is confused.


“Why do we need to post information about the material our cubicles are made out of?” Squeeseland wonders.


But that’s just Squeeseland. Drimpy is appalled.


“That’s disgusting!” Drimpy declares. “Who wants to read about cuticle materials? With the things people put their fingers in? This is an OSHA violation waiting to happen!”


Cubicle materials!” Squeeseland misexplains. “Not cuticle materials, you idiot!”


This is getting out of hand. The Chair needs to step in.


“Now Squeeseland,” Quimberly says, “It’s not right for you to call Drimpy an idiot. You’re both idiots. I’m talking about things people post on their cubicles. Notes. Cartoons. Flyers. Memos. Political propaganda. We need a policy for this!”


“Oh, right, of course,” says Buford. “We need a policy for this. Why do we need a policy for this?”


“Because,” Quimberly says. “There’s no policy! What if people want to post cartoons making fun of the CEO? What if they want to print out and post blog entries critical of the company? Or porn?”


Drimpy ponders that one.


“Are you talking about blog entries critical of porn? Or porn critical of the company? Because that would be interesting.”


Squeeseland slaps Drimpy upside the head. Buford uses his laptop to post to his blog. Something about porn. Quimberly is losing control quickly.


“Let’s say, for example, that it’s an election year,” Quimberly says. “Is it OK for employees to post campaign materials on their cubicles?”


Drimpy has a suggestion: “Why don’t we have one policy for the outside part of the cubicle and one for the inside part?”


Quimberly likes it: “A multifaceted, nuanced cubicle material policy – laden with conditions, clauses and qualifications. I like it! Squeeseland, what should we allow on the outside part?”


“Not Dilbert,” Squeeseland says. “Dilbert is stupid.”


“I like Dilbert!” Buford says.


“You are Dilbert!” Squeeseland insists.


Uh oh. The group is getting distracted again. Quimberly needs to take back control yet again.


“Everyone have a bagel and listen to me,” Quimberly says. “It seems to me that family pictures are fine for the inside. So are inspirational poems and people’s schedules. Political propaganda?”


“That is going to be a problem,” says Leo the Lawyer.


“Allowing it or banning it?” Quimberly queries.


“Either,” says Leo. “If you ban it, you’ve got the ACLU in here complaining about free speech. If you allow it, you’ll have fights among the employees. Plus, the union will flood the office with signs for the candidates it likes.”


“Do we like the union’s candidates?” Drimpy asks.


“No,” says Leo.


“All right,” says Quimberly. “We can’t risk fights among the employees. No political signs. We’ll take our chances with the ACLU.”


Just then, in walks the CEO.


“I have an announcement, team! I’m running for governor! I want my campaign signs on the inside and the outside of every cubicle. And my bumper stickers on all your cars too! Vote for me!” And with that, the boss exits triumphantly.


Everyone looks around. Quimberly is in a quandary. “”What happens,” he wonders, “if some of the employees support the other guy? Can they put up signs for him?”


Everyone looks at Leo. Leo looks at his hands. “Sure. Let them put up whatever sign they want. The boss knows where all those at-will employment agreements are kept, you know. Buford, didn’t I see you at a campaign rally for the other guy?


Buford gulps. Looks like it’s poetry and Dilbert for Buford’s cubicle. Shouldn’t there be a policy about this?


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