1. About once a week you take out lunch under the guise of bringing it back to the office and instead eat it in your car and/or on an abandoned park bench because that’s preferable to eating in a place where you’re interrupted mid-bite because there are no dividers in your “work station”.
2. Whenever someone you’re messaging, who sits 20-feet away, sends you a message saying “Let’s chat offline, I’ll walk over,” you momentarily picture yourself running away in slow motion.
3. You stress over what time to come in because in an open-office space everything is exposed and you don’t know whether to arrive before 9 a.m. so your boss thinks you’re on top of it, or saunter in after 9 a.m. so you don’t appear overeager. (Not that you’d actually saunter, but you fear coming in after 9 a.m. gives the sauntering impression.)
4. You will try to open a box of cereal/bag of potato chips/Xanax and immediately regret it because it sounds louder than any sound that’s every graced your ~shared work space~.
5. Sitting directly adjacent to people is anxiety producing because you don’t want people to think you’re hitting on them via chair-body language, so you will try to subtly angle your chair, give up and try to ignore the fact that you’re minorly sweating and they can probably feel it.
6. You have severe anxiety about people who can see your computer screen. You suspect your boss glances over at your monitor every time they walk by and catches a glimpse of the email you’re sending to your mom re: low glucose foods, or the g-chat you’re sending to your friend about the guy from the bar last Tuesday. This is when WALLS really come in handy.
7. You inevitably make awkward eye contact with people across the office and you know it’s weird and you will try to mute said awkwardness by shooting them a quick, half smile so as not to appear over eager. You will end up looking mildly queasy, realize you aren’t doing yourself any favors, and direct your gaze back to your shoes.
8. The higher ups in the company used to have offices and while this office set-up is the great fucking equalizer, it’s makes you uncomfortable because you have no idea how to smile, act, talk or look busy as they walk by. You’d be happy if the exec got his corner office back and you just embraced the repressed employee feeling.
9. You like that everyone gets lax and unplugs their headphones to play music and have a drink on Friday afternoon, but like, their music is mediocre at best, and is distracting you from finishing the project that stands between you and your weekend.
10. 60% of the time you have headphones in but aren’t listening to any music. You’re only wearing them to signify that people shouldn’t talk to you right now.
11. If someone pops up in your cube window/behind your chair/in front of the couch you work on, you’re caught off guard, forget to be pleased to see them and automatically give them a “who the fuck are you?” kind of wince.
12. You are sick of everyone using buzzwords like “repurposed wood,” “work pods” or “treadmill desks” because as much as the wood is lovely, you really need everyone to stop talking about the wood. You really need everyone to just stop talking altogether.
13. People sometimes think you’re hungover but really you are just trying to shut out everyone within a 10-foot radius and look nauseated because you’re claustrophobic as hell.
14. You’re hyper conscious of how loud the music in your headphones is. Your greatest fear is that your most embarrassing playlist will be audible to the excessively chill coworker on your right.
15. You’re concerned that your reactions will be too loud and that you’ll disrupt everyone around you. Someone says something funny and you laugh – but, was that even a laugh? It was more like a bark. Or like a low key growl. Someone must have heard. Everyone is probably staring. This is a disaster.
16. You are overwhelmingly jealous of everyone who rotates and only has to be in the office part time, because that seems like the perfect happy medium. Or, like, the Barefoot Contessa’s WFH situation seems ideal. You’d be willing to consider either option.