Being a cartoonist enables me to see the irony in every situation. Cartoonists are observers, after all. We simply look around and view life from a slightly different perspective. And of course, we see the humor clearly evident in the situation. I’m often asked, where do you get the funny ideas for your gags, or what makes you funny? Actually, I’m not funny at all. Life is what’s funny. Let me give you an example.
Many years ago, when I was a young animation apprentice I had the privilege of working at the finest cartoon studio in the world. Better yet, I had my own private space. Before you ask, what’s the big deal about that, let me remind you that I was a nobody. I was an apprentice. Yet, I had an office with a window, a desk, a drawing board and a lounge chair. And yes, that even included a door I could close should I desire a bit of privacy. I was certainly not a top executive or a high level manager. I was an animation artist, yet that was enough for this green, know nothing kid to be worthy of a private office.
My, how times have changed. Today, workers are crammed together in a large workspace where essentially every person shares a desk with everybody else. Gone are the days of the private office or even the private cubicle. It would appear we’re all one big happy family in this new working environment. I’m told this new idea comes to us from the high technology companies of Silicon Valley where scores of attractive, highly motivated millennials sprawl over any available space needed to accomplish their task. In this new paradigm the old ways of working are quickly abandoned to meet the needs of new business models where things change at a moments notice. Forget about planning for ten years down the road. Today’s changes happen every two weeks. Perhaps I’m being a bit too cynical. Office space is hardly needed these days because workers find themselves in perpetual meetings day after day. It’s hardly unusual for a worker to find him or herself in several meetings each day. Back when we worked for Walt Disney we could usually count on one meeting a month. And, that’s if we were lucky enough to get the Old Maestro to attend the meeting.
Should you find yourself sharing an office desk with 25 of your fellow employees I’d advise you to get used to it because I doubt it will change anytime soon. This is simply the way corporate America does business these days. The toxic work environment we have today is, in my opinion, a reflection our current corporate and American values. Employees were once a valued part of the organizations they worked for. Now, they are simply disposable parts. And, I regret to say, that’s not very funny at all.