One day I had a meeting with the executive director of my group and as I looked around his office, I told him that I noticed that his office was very plain. I asked why he didn’t dress it up with pictures and the sort. In turn he said to me:
“It’s because if the company ever lets me go, I can just pack my bags and leave on the spot.” He explained to me that it makes it easier to sever ties with the company and that personalizing his workspace might form some sort of emotional bond with the company. In essence, he did not want to create a “home away from home.” He had been with the company for a while and he said that he was not immune from being let go. About a year and a half after I left the company, I had found out that he had been laid off.
In 2009 I was laid off from my job, and it hadn’t even been a year yet. The company I worked for was acquired about two months after I started and my department was eliminated after the acquisition was finalized. Within minutes of receiving the news, I returned to my plain and boring desk, picked up my man bag, and left. That day sucked. I think if I had personal effects on my desk, it would’ve been more emotional as I packed them into my bag or if I had to leave them behind for someone to pack. Sometimes it’s hard to walk by over-decorated cubicles of people who have been recently laid off. It’s as if the cubicle is telling the person’s life story.