Another open letter, because: open-plan offices

I work in the advertising industry. This isn’t a brag, I promise. And I’m not positing perspective, I promise. I’m just trying to put you into mine, where you may – as I did – presume our space to be filled with an eclectic bunch of all-sorts, where ideas trump ideals and the magic trumps the moron.

It doesn’t.

I promise.

As usual… the difference between ‘presuming’ and ‘assuming’ is major.


As in any line of business, it takes all sorts to mine the marvelous from the mayhem, and any organisation’s care of the all sorts is what will have the all sorts caring for the organisation. Still, some of the collected, collective will be more ‘sort of’ than ‘all sorts’ nomsayin?

Sullen. Spiritless. Slugs.

I’m sure you’ve known a few?

I have.

My most recent slug – boundlessly basic – always struck me as a few chips short of a happy meal. For the purpose of this regale, I shall refer to her as ‘Bruce Jenner’.

As far as annoying goes, I wouldn’t say Bruce was on the same level as, say, a phantom pregnancy, someone who must perform that on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off, on-off light-switch ritual before leaving the room, or Amore Vittone. Still, the slug irked me she did.

Bruce was supposed to be … *cough*… part of the team. She sat silently however, day in and day out, doing whatever it is she did in her dimension for one. Now, this would be less perplexing were our Bruce:

a)     a cat
b)     deaf
c)     not working in an open-plan office with 70+ other people
d)     in charge

But Bruce was none of these. She was however the office Grinch – although not as tall. In fact, Bruce would get into Gold Reef City for free. This will however remain forever speculative because, sadly, our Bruce is distressed by delight in all its shapes and forms, to the point that she complained – very, very quietly but bravely by email – citing the cries of her people: office space volume.

Bruce feels it is disruptive.


Normally, such bland, banality wouldn’t bother me much, but when the cornfed comes up for air – and only to complain – I gets a tickling in my temperament. You see, I was born late at night – but not late last night. I know all about bullying – first-hand, and then some. A bully’s a bully’s a bully: You don’t have to be a complete cock, or big or brash or bolshie; you might just be an under-the-radar, dissent-driving belligerent little bitch named Bruce.

How elemental that ‘normal’ was all Bruce knew, there, before… and before she met someone like me. Tricky… because with every new person that comes – or goes – the distribution of differences will be diversified. Newsflash: this is the very bloodline of the business.


I’m not sure our Bruce is entirely and solely to blame for how bad her boring became. I’d like to think she got up everyday with the best intentions to go to creative capitol with big plans to beguile and bewitch with her talents. Thing is, she got a serious case of the Debbie Downers – and she got it baaaad… And now, according to WebMD, people are sick and tired of her.

High 5


So, Bruce:

They may not have laughed loudly or listened to music in Mooibank, Miederpark or Oudedorp, ever, but you’re not in that library or that dorm-room anymore. You don’t have to live like you’re sucking on a lemon, 24/7. And if anyone told you that you should, you don’t have to listen to them because they’re not your real mom.

But given your awkwarding – me and my larking took the liberty of comprising these possible career alternatives for you:

  • Night Janitor
  • Librarian
  • Graveyard Gardener
  • Truck Driver
  • Mortician
  • Cat

I threw in a couple of options that don’t require much experience – just in case keeping new ones out of your life was a conscious decision but, for what it’s worth, I hope that was just a phase.

FYI: Nothing can change that but you.


“Nobody has milked one performance better than me…
and I’m damned proud of it.” – Bruce Jenner

© Dylan Balkind

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