5 Depressing “Cube Life” Problems (And How to Overcome Them)

No matter how much you love your job, you’ve likely suffered from cube life fatigue at some point or another. The truth is, spending extended periods of time in an artificially-lit, stale office can really take a toll on your spirit – and this is especially true for young professionals who are still making the adjustment from the freedom of college to 9-5 life.

If you’re having a hard time adjusting, you’re not alone. Here are five common cube life problems and tips on how to overcome them.

1. The terrible fluorescent bulbs and lack of natural sunlight is making you feel like a zombie
Hello, this is the accounting department, not Night of the Living Dead! An office that lacks of natural sunlight can really take a toll on its inhabitants.

The cure? If possible, go for a walk during your lunch break, or simply eat lunch outside. If it’s difficult for you to break away from your desk, consider investing in a light box for your desk.

2. You’re beginning to hate your desk in ways you never thought possible
…and you’re fairly convinced that it’s possessed by an evil force that’s sucking the life out of you. You fear that by the time you retire, you’ll be an empty shell of a person.

The cure? Try to make your desk as pleasant as possible. Invest in a few plants, add a few things that make you happy – heck, even invest in some fun office supplies. You spend half of your waking life at your desk – you should really make yourself at home.



3. Your office smells disgusting
There’s nothing worse than an office that smells like a mixture of burnt popcorn, frostbitten Lean Cuisines and men’s cologne, which is just barely masking men’s BO.

The cure? Drop that can of air freshener – unless you want to add “headache” to your list of ailments. Since you probably can’t light a candle at your desk consider buying an electric candle. They smell just as nice as the real thing… but won’t cause your office to burn down.

4. Your desk mate is the worst
Having bad co-workers sucks, period – and it’s even worse if you have to share a workspace with one.

The cure? The quick and easy fix to avoid a bad coworker? Try simply saying, “Sorry, I’m really busy today and can’t chat” and throw on some headphones. If your problem is a little more complex, check out our tips for dealing with the most common types of annoying coworkers.


5. You’re suddenly developing knots in muscles you didn’t even know existed
Once, a coworker squeezed my shoulder, then exclaimed, “Wow, you’re either really built… or really tense!” Of course, it was the latter.

The cure? Good, old-fashioned stretching. There are a few simple stretches you can do at work (without looking like a total weirdo). When you return home at the end of the day, hit the floor and spend at least ten minutes stretching, or consider taking up Hatha or Restorative yoga, which are great for loosening up.


Remember: it’s completely normal to go through a period of adjustment, both when you enter a new situation and when your “honeymoon phase” has ended. However, if your “cube life fatigue” is more of a long-term problem, it may be time to re-evaluate what sort of work environment is best for you. After all, you’re going to spend about 90,000 hours of your life at work – you deserve to be happy.

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