It’s your first day on the job. You’ve adjusted your chair three times, changed the computer monitor’s brightness, and are starting to feel mighty uncomfortable, because this office is a maze and the bathroom is apparently hidden in another realm. But you’re settling in, slowly but surely. After a few days pass by (and thank the office gods, you’ve finally discovered where they keep the coffee maker), it’s time to make your cubicle space your own. After all, if you’re going to spend eight hours a day in a tiny, beige space, you might as well beautify it, right?
Well, yes and no. Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, and when it comes to your office space, it’s important to remember that while showing a bit of personality is fun, there are perhaps certain things you don’t want your co-workers to start whispering about you behind your back.
Pet lovers unite…and calm down.
For instance, you don’t want to be known as the crazy cat lady two weeks into your new job. We all love our pets, and cat owners everywhere can thank Taylor Swift for making it cool to post copious amounts of cat pictures to Instagram. But you have to draw the line somewhere. Using your cat’s picture as your computer screen wallpaper? Cute. Pinning pictures of your cat’s fuzzy face to your cubicle’s three walls, next to your desk that proudly displays framed photographs of the furball, cat figurines and an “I Heart Cats” mug? That’s pushing it, folks. I’m looking at you too, dog people.
Tone down the fangirling.
What’s worse than coming off as a crazy cat lady is coming off as a celebrity stalker. As much as you love Benedict Cumberbatch, you probably don’t need to put your love for him on full display. Showcasing pictures from his latest photo shoot or using your Benedict Cumberbatch 12-month calendar as your work calendar has the potential to come off as a little creepy when you’re trying to get to know your co-workers, you know? Don’t ever lose your fangirling heart, but try to keep in mind that you’re in a professional setting, not Tumblr. Remember, we’re all pretending to be adults here. But if it turns out your colleagues are cool, maybe a little Smaug can work his way onto your desk at some point. A little dragon. Play it by ear, friends.
Leave the collectables home.
We all have that one quirky interest, whether it’s collecting bottle caps, keys, comic books or buttons. That’s cool to display at home, but cluttering up your workspace with rare beer bottles or that ridiculously large sticker collection you’ve been working on since you were little isn’t a particularly good idea. It’s bad for purposes of maintaining professionalism, and also because committing your 20-year-old stickers to one cubicle, only to be told a month later that your boss would prefer you move to a different area, would be rather devastating.
Keep the glitter as far away from your office as possible.
When Elle Woods got a new workspace in Legally Blonde 2, she prettied it up with lots of pink (naturally) and sparkly things. And by all means, make your office as girly as your heart desires. But absolutely, positively, without question, keep the glitter in your arts and crafts box. Do not at any point decorate your cubicle with any ornaments, signs, or garland with glitter on them. It gets everywhere and will never go away. You’ll wind up with glitter on your face while you’re presenting that super-important PowerPoint you worked on for weeks. It’s actually now a thing to send glitter to your enemies, just to give you some perspective on how evil that stuff is. Just say no.
When you’re in a new work environment, there’s always a fine line between sharing aspects of your life and letting your freak flag fly just a little too high. Always be yourself, but remember that there’s a time and place for everything.