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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Extreme Densification

I'm tired. I've been densifying all day. Densifying? Is that a word? Well, maybe I coined the word. It is what happens when an office is being densified. I
looked up densification in and it said "An increase in the density of something." That was a big help.

Actually, the word can be applied to a number of different things, but in this case it means to put more people in a smaller amount of space in an office building. It seems that someone in higher management decided that cubicles with high walls are no longer the way to go. When you densify, you put people closer together with low walls in work groups or "pods."

You probably are not old enough to remember old-style offices where everyone was in the same room and desks were end to end. Your "office" was the top of your desk and the carpet where your chair sat. Phones rang, people chatted, typewriters clacked. I don't remember if it was efficient. I do remember having to see George pick his nose all day.

Workers, of course, prefer walls and a private space. They don't give a whit about whether being able to see each other improves communication or efficiency. Somehow, workers suspect that management is more interested in packing people in a small space to improve the bottom line rather than to improve efficiency.

Thing is, they were already remodeling the building floor by floor when they decided to do things a different way. Now the remodeled floors will have to be redone. Too bad they didn't think of it sooner. I guess they plan on saving enough money by packing us in like sardines to make up the difference. Perhaps they should call it sardinification instead of densification.

We will not have as much open space after we densify as we do now. We have to move while the space is being remodeled. We don't know where or when, other than soon. All the files have to be cleaned and all extra paper must go. Rumor has it that part of our floor will be leased to a finance company. That will be good
for confidentiality, won't it?

Of course, we really needed to clean out the files anyhow. We found paper that went back to the 80's. Apparently, we had a few hoarders in the past that left for greener pastures and didn't have an opportunity to clear their offices. New workers came and didn't know what to throw away and what to keep, so they took the low road and kept it all.

Now we have to do extreme densification.

We have cleaned, thrown out, shredded, recycled and densified until the trash bins regurgitated. I've hauled so many loads of unwanted office items to our supply unit that I've worn out the cart. I don't know what we did with our time when we only had to do our job. I've never been so dense in my life.

I remember when I transferred to my first tiny semi-private office cubicle with four walls (three and a half, actually) years ago. I was able to hang a few pictures and felt very important, like a real person. But, no one gets a walled office anymore except the big cheeses. Hopefully, they will at least not block the windows this time and we can actually get some natural light and ventilation.

As far as privacy, my calls are recorded and my email and Internet usage monitored. My documents are backed up on the mainframe computer. I am evaluated monthly to be sure I'm meeting my goals.

There is no such thing as privacy in our office, walls or no walls. Sometimes I wonder what they think we are doing, secretly cooking meth in our coffeepot?

Densify has become the new office buzz word. I can't help but wonder if they will actually complete this project or decide that something else is better and we are dense enough.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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