I work full-time like most college graduating older millennials in the workforce. I sit in a cubicle in an office building at the top floor, in a major city with a stellar view of other, taller, more glamorous office buildings next to a sea of coworkers. While it’s great to take a fabulous vacation to get away once in a while the truth is I have bills *cough* student loans *cough* to pay. Just like everyone else, I put on my big girl panties and hustle to work each weekday. I sit next to the same person for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, over 50 weeks a year and that’s how it’s going to be until one of us dies, quits, or is fired. I (we) spend a lot of our waking hours on the job so we might as well make our time there as fun as possible, right? Since socializing with your coworkers is a healthy practice, enter the office shenanigans!
Over the years I’ve been blessed to work with amazing cubemates who not only handle their business on the job, but also help make the day go by faster by indulging me when I initiate random games and shenanigans. Not like board games, but the ones that force your gut to erupt into laughter that breaks through the starched silence of padded cubicles. To which games and shenanigans, pray tell, am I referring to? Why the ones listed below, of course! I’ve done, or currently do, these at work and I encourage you to follow my lead or create your own games to spice up your cubicle life, and that of your officemate(s).
Just like the crazy nun in Cersei’s naked walk of shame in Game of Thrones, you, too, can ring shame upon the others in your office. It’s simple- whenever something shameful or funny happens, ring the bell of shame. My cubemate and I use the shame bell as an inside joke that nobody in the office knows about. On occasion, if someone stops by my cubemate’s desk asking for information that is publicly available or something they should darn well already know, I’ll lightly ring the bell of shame from my cube then listen to the cracks in my ccoworker’s voice as they try to hold their laughter in during their business-related discussion. Shame on me!
Liven the mood and throw something over the cube. Just chuck it over and listen to see where it lands. I use old ketchup packets, a mini butter container, large rubber band, or crumpled piece of paper- whatever is light weight but heavy enough to get across the cube, not sharp, and not likely to cause any sort of harm. Go ahead, try it and listen as you hear the projectile thud on the other side of the cube and the subsequent yelp of your cubemate. I dare you. They weren’t expecting it and it showed, so laugh at them. I guarantee they will throw it back to you and you’ll probably throw it right back. Be careful, as this has the ripe potential to evolve into an all out, crumbled scrap paper, 1:1 volleyball match, but only if you’re down.
Is there a lot of foolishness in your office? Perhaps an insufferable boss or crazy coworker plucking your nerves? Is there a lack of order or common sense? Instead of harboring a grudge all day long, vent you your frustration by rating it on a meter, the foolishness meter, to be exact. To create your own meter, google “meter”, click on the images tab, print out a chart that suits you, cut it out with a separate cutout for the swinging arm, attach a tac, then post it on your wall. The way it works is to first announce that you have something to rate, get your trusted cubemate’s attention, rate the level of foolishness, then quickly explain your rating and be done with it. The best part is that it is only between you and your coworker, so nobody else will know what the meter is for and why it’s on different levels everyday. Keep it that way!
Crossword Puzzle Competition
This one is self-explanatory. Find a local newspaper or online site, obtain two copies of the puzzle, and compare how many answers you get right or wrong the next day. The added bonus? According to scientists, crossword puzzles improve brain function, stimulate creativity, trigger bonding, increase vocabulary, and help you to re-focus your mind on a difficult task. Winning all around!
“Is that really an 8.5×14 legal sized print out of Prince on your wall?” Yes, yes it is, and it is HILARIOUS! Whenever I have a hard time deciding how I feel about a particularly challenging conversation with a difficult coworker, I bust out the Prince Face. If something doesn’t make logical sense, someone in the office is trying to “play stupid”, or something so incomprehensible happens that words can not describe it as you attempt to explain the situation to your cubemate, just point to Prince, or the present printed face of another celebrity with a classic expression. I guarantee it will make you laugh and break the tension!
Arts n’ Crafts
This one is for the crafty among us. Surprise yourself to see what you can create with limited office supplies. I’ve created a rubber band ball from scratch, origami notes, makeshift wall calendar holder using clasps and push pins, and even designed a prototype of a fan-shaped program for my cubemate’s summer wedding using a ruler and scratch paper. Have fun in your free time to expand your office-supply horizons.
Friday Afternoon Dance Party
This is my all time favorite! Whether you’re allowed cell phones in the office or not, there’s no excuse not to celebrate the end of the week and the start of the weekend. This works best if there’s hardly anyone in the office (ie- no boss at work). After lunch que up your favorite party songs, walk to your cubemates desk, throw your arms in the air, yell “IT’S OUR FFRIIIDDAAAYY!!” then play your song as loud as you feel comfortable then start dancing! Like legit dancing as if you were at a college house party. Be a fair DJ and let your coworker play their favorite songs, too. The best is when you both fall into a groove or theme, like “Madonna” or “90s R&B music” and try to out-song each other. May the best dancer/DJ win!
These are just a few things I do to spice up my cubicle life, but feel free to create more! As a disclaimer, these fun activities don’t take up much time, so I don’t want to hear the “I’m too busy, I don’t have time for all that” or “isn’t the purpose of Work to WORK?!” Or “you must have all the time in the world!” excuses. Also note that in the middle of cutting up we have a hidden agenda to push each other to be better organized, more efficient workers, and people of outstanding character so it’s not just a go to work to play games deal. By finding a healthy way to vent frustration we reduce toxicity in our environment. It also takes an insanely organized and well-managed individual to knock work out and make time for fun. Yes, it’s true, we actually get work done AND frolic in the process. Pranks are fun with the right people and remember to: Just. Have. Fun! Not too shabby for a workday, huh?