Public Service Announcement #33: Do Not Ignore Headphones in the Workplace

Or: Cubicles are Wildly Undervalued and I Am Jealous of Everyone Who Has One

I work in an office that has run out of space. The Company is growing, which is fantabulous*, but it also means that cubicles have become a high-value commodity and offices are non-existent. Because of this, Marketing has migrated into a “collaborative workspace.”
*Totally a word. And The Company pays me for wordsmithing, so it’s pretty silly that you’d question me about words.

What this means is, we are no longer entitled to the luxury of walls. My office space looks like this:

Do not question my professional pigtails

Note that those are not cube-boxes. Those are deskspace mini-cubes. The few “walls” don’t even come out past the desk chairs.
But we do have desk chairs. So basically, we’re pretty spoiled.

This has led me to become a believer in giant headphones. I support them for a variety of reasons:

  1. They make it legitimately impossible for me to hear my coworkers when I’m working.
  2. They clearly signify to my coworkers that I cannot hear them.
  3. They have a microphone on them, so I can use them in place of my telephone headset for conference calls.
  4. See reason 2. This is important enough to repeat.
It's very productive

These headphones are clearly not small.
Also, this is my zen and productive work pose.

However, no matter how giant my headphones are, I have found that my coworkers still firmly believe that I am listening to all the conversation going on around me. Now, it’s true – the conversation is much more interesting than work. But as someone who is held responsible for creative** writing, as well as practical business*** writing on a regular basis, I need a bubble of clear headspace to accomplish my mission.
**Manipulative
***Also manipulative

Seriously

This is an accurate representation of this situation happening.

When I become aware of people looking at me expectantly, I’m forced to do the polite thing and pull my headphones off to find out what was said. I mean, maybe my valuable advice**** is needed. Or maybe a new assignment has come down the pipeline. Maybe, as productive and essential marketers, everyone decided to get started on a new campaign idea.
****Valuable advice available here, here and here.

Every. Single. Time.

IT WAS A TRICK.

Nope.

This is never the case. And so I return to the delightful land of my cone of silence*****.
*****Or music. Cone of music. Same thing. 

Whereupon the cycle promptly starts again.

Seriously

So value your cube space, my friends. Value it…and send me some walls.