i started my research project this past monday, and i am stationed in a cubicle in an office building affiliated with children's hospital. the doctor with whom i work has her office there, so it makes good sense.
prior to working there, i understood 'in theory' the annoyance of a cubicle: no door, everyone can hear each others' phone conversations, less privacy, the wafting of smells... but i assumed these annoyances were minimal because everyone would be WORKING. little did i know that people don't work. ever. ok, that's unfair. they maybe work 10 minutes each hour. but that means that the other 50 minutes my ears are filled with stories of their children, somebody's new outfit, techniques for getting gum out of carpet, discussion of where to go for lunch, trading of beauty secrets, and bitching about the doctors they report to (oh, oops! the gal -me!- in the next cube is a med student. oh well, she can't hear us, right?).
although i know it's not their intention (they do seem like nice enough people) to completely discourage me about the 'American work ethic' (of which i hear so much on the news), they have done so with such fervor that it's hard to ignore. thank you, office employees, for confirming that the characters on the television program 'the office' do more work than office employees in the real world. cheers!