I'm Allergic to by Heidi Siefkas

One of the most common questions I get at the doctor’s office or local pharmacy is, “Are you allergic to anything?” My typical answer in these two situations is, “No, I’m not allergic to anything.” Having I spent most of 2009 and 2010 in and out of ICU, hospitals, and doctor offices because of an accident and a lengthy recovery, I had to answer the question a lot. However, I was only partially truthful in my answers then and have continued to tell my little white lie.

That is until today. I have a confession to make. I do have one allergy. I’m allergic to cubicles. Yes, those dreaded mass-assembled, seemingly generic desks for worker bees are my allergens. For short periods of time, I did work in a cubicle, always wanting to see the outside and have a bit of privacy. And, I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but also for a time, I managed a team that was housed in cubicles. Not unlike many allergies, my allergy to cubicles didn’t come until later in life.

As an artistic type with a need for freedom, for me, a cubicle is torture. I get sweaty, itchy, and irritable. So far I haven’t found an over the counter cure. There is no little blue or pink, sit and endure the cubicle pill. However, I have found that removing cubicles from my life entirely nips the allergy in the bud.

Although it took many years of fighting my allergy with brief revisits to cubicle-land, I have finally kicked my habit of cubicles. For the last year, I have been allergic reaction free. I haven’t stepped foot in a cubicle by changing my profession from office based to a hybrid of writing and traveling, which has many offices, none of which with cubicles. You can read about my synergistic career of writing an inspirational memoir (to be released this fall), travel blogging, and leading tours to Cuba, Peru, New Zealand, and Australia in an article in BootsNAll, Desk Job to Dream Job.

Are you allergic to cubicles? I think it is more common than you think. Perhaps just knowing that someone else out there is allergic will inspire you to think about how you too can explore life beyond cubicles.