Why do I need an office

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    My workplace is a mix of open space concept with cubicles and offices. In general supervisors, senior and intermediate staff are located in offices. Junior staff and technicians are located in cubicles. Another piece of information is that it is a male dominated environment. I am a female.

    I have been working in this place for half of my career. I have seen how new staff arriving to the company, with less experience and mostly males have been located in offices. At first this wasn’t an issue as I was still developing experience and confidence in my contribution to the company. I was also really focused in technical work and not so much in developing bussiness. I also really didn’t feel that I needed it.

    Now, that I have over a decade of experience  I have started to feel that not being in an office undermines my status in the company. It results in less trust from some junior staff and confusion in other colleagues about my status and my experience. I am afraid i am treated with less respect and trust because I am still in a cubicle.

    At the same time it is easy for me to feel isolated and like I don’t belong to my group. I feel easily ignored and are very sensitive to what my mind takes as evidence of favoritism towards other female or male colleagues or towards being excluded: fron conversations and from projects. Even though I often receive kudos for my work and efforts, I am afraid that if I move to an office I will feel even worse. More isolated and own my own

    I have been waiting for them to offer an office but it hasn’t happened. Few days ago mixed feelings provided me with the courage to request one. My manager told me he needed to talk about it with his boss.

    I am right now waiting for the answer. I have to admit that one of the things that moved me to requested is the status and reputation I geel comes with it. I am aware of being jelous of a new staff with half of my experience who was assigned to an office and that seems to enjoy the respect and appreciation of other colleagues. He has merits but I think I do have lots of merits to. Even though,mine are mainly technical.

    It hurts that my boss had to kinda think about it. I had actually asked before and that’s what he had said.

    At this moment a part of me is afraid of wanting the office for vain reasons even though I know if have merits to get it and that I would be able to focus better and it would give me an incentive to be more independent and confident. I am ashamed of wanting the reputation and of expecting more respect from my colleagues once I am in. I feel that if someone asks me why do I need the office I won’t be able to say something eloquent, besides: :because whatshallwecall-them have one despite of being younger! And newer in the company”

    That goes without expanding in the feeling isolated issue.

    Has anyone gone through a similar situation?  Can someone help me investigate what am I running away from? Where am I stuck)? Is this a case of self loathing?



    Dear Padawan:

    Regarding the reason you want an office, feeling “ashamed of wanting the reputation and of expecting more respect from my colleagues once I am in”- in the workplace one’s reputation is important to the quality of your experience and future experience. In your private life you may choose who to associate with and who to not associate with, hopefully. You can choose to think: what others think of me is their business. But in the work place, it matters.

    Your concern with your reputation in the work place, especially in the open area with lots of people, where you work, is not an indication of vanity, but of practicality.

    The fact that you feeling easily ignored, being inclined to feel that way, well, this is another issue, not the same. It is parallel but not in the same category. Am I making sense to you?



    Hi Anita

    Thank you so much! and yes you are making all sense

    Yes and I am aware that the feeling of isolation I have is another type of beast. However, it has been one of the reasons why I have been afraid of making the change.

    Today I had two events with two colleagues that gave me more determination to make the move. Unfortunately, in both cases I  felt disrespected and I am under the illusion that having the office will send them the message that I am not another junior staff with requests that don’t matter or that doesn’t know how to do her job.  At the same time, I also know that they may still see me as kinda of a loser if that’s what they choose to do, even if I become president of the company one day.

    I want to avoid changing my behavior for getting their approval and I don’t want to spend time and energy competing with them or proving them that I know what I am doing and that I have a seniority.  But at the same time, I feel that if I don’t do it they will take over my projects, continue treating me as they can tell me what to do, jumping in conversations I have with other colleagues about my projects, with a sense of entitlement; and challenging my decisions and opinions.  I care about their actitudes because their actions may affect my work.

    Among the many practical and professional reasons I have for getting that office is the message I think it sends.  However my worst fear is that even after changing places I won’t be happy until I resolve whatever issues of confidence I may have. It is hard sometime to know if I am being bullied or if I am lacking confidence.

    Thank you so much!





    Nothing wrong with having vein reason for wanting an office. If you feel you have put in your time and are qualified for an office desk then you did the right thing by asking for it. But I hear some wishy-washy head chatter in your words. You’ve twisted your own words and made going after what you wanted a bad thing.

    The reason you want the office is because you believe you are deserving of it based on your merits. You want the benefits of what having a office brings. But you don’t have the conviction as to why you want the office hence you can’t defend your desire. You haven’t made your PROS list for getting the office out weight your CONS list.

    Which do you want more?
    Improved company status & reputation Or Feel more isolated and on your own.

    This is the internal struggle you have to resolve so your mind, heart and actions can align in getting you what you desire.

    Things that might be keeping you stuck:
    1. You think too much of what others think. Your expecting a change in trust, respect and confidence from others as a results of the office. These are things you can’t control. You can only control the status it gives you with the company. How others interprete that status is none of your business.
    2. You compare yourself to others too much. Comparison is an act of violence against yourself.-Iyanla Vanzant. You are comparing yourself to others with little or similar merits as you. Its made you jealous, wanting what someone has vs going out and getting it for yourself. I think you maybe disappointed in yourself because you made the office request out of mixed emotions- (jealously, frustration, anger, etc) vs mixed emotions- (excitement, self-respect, self-worth, happiness, etc).
    3. You self sabotage your efforts by feeling bad for wanting something you strongly desired. You made wanting to gain company status shameful. So you should be ashamed from wanting to climb the corporate ladder? See how that makes no sense. Is that why we work, to grow where we are planted. You’ve made growth apart of your CONS list.

    I think you will get the office but you need the second batch of emotions in order to feel worthy of the office. I think your energy was just off according to your own standards thus making you stuck thus lacking confidence. Weather you get the office or not, get back in alignment with your best self and displaying that at work.

    Hope this helps 🙂


    Dear Padawan:

    You are welcome. Reads to me like getting an office is a good idea, a step in the right direction, for the practical reasons of improving your effectiveness as an employee in the company, putting your knowledge gained over years of experience, your skills to maximum use.

    As you aim at getting an office, you can work on becoming more assertive in other ways, in your personal life and at work. You wrote: “It is hard sometime to know if I am being bullied or if I am lacking confidence”- it will get easier as you pay attention, learn and assert yourself, over time.

    Let’s look at the behaviors you listed in your last post:

    1. “they can tell me what to do”- once an employee who is not your superior tells you what to do, you can ask: “are you telling me what to do?” If he/she says “yes”, ask: “what authority do you have to tell me what to do?” And wait for an answer (if you can imagine a challenging answer, let me know, I might figure out what you could say next, if you so choose)

    2.  “jumping in conversations I have with other colleagues about my projects, with a sense of entitlement”- You can say to the person: “you jumped into my conversation. That is quite rude. Next time wait until I am done with my conversation before you start your own”.

    3. “and challenging my decisions and opinions”- you can say to the junior employee doing so: “It seems to me that you are confused about my position and your position in this company. I worked here for X number of years and am very qualified to do my work. You worked here for Y number of years and have yet to learn to get to my level. Try to learn from me, not to challenge me.”



    Dear Yvar and Anita

    Thank you so much for your kind inputs. They have been very helpful

    The insight about the things that may be keeping me stuck was very useful. I think it put me of the track of noticing that anger in underlying the whole situation. I have been holding grudges and frustration for many reasons and that has been manifested in jealousy, lack of confidence and in feeling threatened all the time.  I think this puts me one step closer to accepting that it is ok for me to want to move forward in the company,  in trusting my self more and that accepting that I  don’t have control about what others think or how they behave.

    Regarding how to address the behaviors of my colleagues that bother me I think that becoming aware of my anger will help me figure out a kind and gentle way of setting boundaries, which goes in line with Anita’s advise. For now, I think the first step is looking inside, recognizing my anger and letting it be there without running away from it. This last part is what I think I have been doing. I think this approach will make me less reactive and will help me act more wisely when my colleagues trigger my insecurities.  Unless I do that, even if I tell them that they are being rude, or how to behave, I may end up feeling confrontational  and defensive with them.  I would like to avoid doing to them what I don’t like them to do to me: telling how to behave and what to do.  I think there is hope!

    Thank you so much!!! I feel a lot better today!


    Dear Padawan:

    Glad you felt better when you posted the above. I hope you find a way to accept your anger, let it be there, and over time, choose how to react to it effectively. Anger is not a bad feeling. It is necessary for effective functioning and so, it is necessary for mental well-being. Often enough people react abusively to anger, that is wrong, but the anger itself is not wrong.

    The key is to react to anger assertively, not aggressively, in most instances anyway. Reacting assertively means to be just and fair, it is taking care of yourself while not mistreating another. Sometimes it is okay to inconvenience another person if it means doing what you need to do for your well-being.

    I hope you post again with your progress!



    Offices are strange things.  People attach “status” to office size, location, etc.  I have had the largest office in the “office” and the smallest office in the “office,” with the order going inverse to seniority.

    Ultimately, the question is, how do you envision an office helping you do what you do?

    Why the fear of getting more respect?

    One of the great things about an office is the door 🙂  Though, sometimes a door isn’t enough.  12″ thick reinforced concrete floors/ceilings, and ceramic and plaster/asbestos firebrick interior walls sometimes isn’t enough either 😛  Of course, you probably don’t have a co-worker with a love of organ music and a Klipsch 200W subwoofer either 🙂




    I guess what I really was struggling was:

    1.  I had to request it:  I guess offices are seen as a synonym of status. I was afraid that my manager hadn’t  approached me offering one because I am not good enough.  Part of me still thinks that I was/am under valued. It would have been easier if my manager came to me acknowledging my experience and my contribution than me having to remind him and myself.
    2. Accepting that at work appearances matter:  I’ve been reaching the conclusion that it looks like there are unspoken agreements in the work place: the office gives you a status. If two people are comparatively good in what they do, the one with the office may tend to get a bit more trust
    3. Feelin responsible for my “undervaliousness”.  I felt that if my peers didn’t see me as experienced and competitive or as a go to person. it was because of my own attitude and lack of confidence. I always thought that if I did my job well, and showed commitment, people would notice me and value my experience and offer me opportunities.  Unfortunately, it seems that for people to notice you, you have to do a bit of self-publicity, and I really didn’t want to do that.
    4. Feeling that wanting the office for status and sending the message of I am moving up,  contradicted the approach that is based on letting go, or accepting that you can’t control what others think, and acknowledging that people in general hide behind armours to hide the vulnerability.  I am afraid that the office would become an armour.  A part of the costume of the professional version of myself
    5. Anyway, I guess I am going through a period of finding myself, my voice, trying to learn to remain open to people with kindness while being able to handle criticism, snarky comments or the lack of connection with my colleagues.
    6. I guess that’s the other part of the story. I am looking for a connection with my colleagues which I think I am not getting. I was ashamed of me potentially seeing the office as a scape to that, or as I way of saying: hey look! I am as good as you are!. Can we be friends now? now do you respect me?


    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Padawan.

    Dear Padawan:

    You wrote: “I always thought that if I did my job well, and showed commitment, people would notice me and value my experience and offer me opportunities”- sometimes it happens, at other times it does not. We have to promote ourselves if we want to be promoted. It is almost never a good policy to depend on others for our well-being, to wait for others to make our lives better, not professionally and not personally.

    And so, I agree with your conclusion that “it seems that for people to notice you, you have to do a bit of self-publicity.”

    As long as the self publicity is honest, why not?


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