Watering Plants in an Office --- Image by © Ed Snowshoe/Corbis

Watering Plants in an Office — Image by © Ed Snowshoe/Corbis

Are we experiencing a cultural revolution or a cultural decadence in our society today? It seems like all the things that we used to consider as pillars of our society are no longer fulfilling this role as new structures and rules are emerging changing how we live our day-to-day lives. From education to retirement all the rules are being rewritten. We are witnessing real classrooms being replaced by virtual ones. We are watching high speed and efficiency decimate the structure of chain of command and seniority in the workplace. What is more surprising and scary is to see how things like social security and pension are slowly and progressively becoming obsolete. Our cultural treasures are becoming endangered species and the most endangered is the cubicle, which is at the brink of extinction.

For many years the cubicle held a very important place in our society. It was a place where great ideas were birthed; knots were tied in the cubicle; children were born and raised in the cubicle; they attended and graduated college in the cubicle. Retirement also came from there. In short the cubicle was a place of safety; it was a place where people made a living. However, that safety is fleeting like vapor, leaving behind a bleak future for those who depended on it.

Should this be a reason to worry or an opportunity for us to work creatively as we seek to position ourselves ahead of the future trends that are still unclear as to what their final shape will look like? It is quite frightening when we read reports telling us that “…two of New Jersey’s largest public employee pensions will run out of money and exhaust their underlying assets within ten years.” – Adam Shapiro, Fox Business, December 2014. It is even worse when we learn that “Social Security’s funds which have been built up over the past 30 years with surplus payroll taxes, will run dry in 2033 unless Congress acts.” –Stephen Ohlemacher, Huffpost, 2012. All these issues are a direct attack to the cubicle. How will the cubicle survive when its pillars are collapsing? And what will its alternative be?

Whether we like it or not, the cubicle is going to disappear. However that process is not going to complete its course overnight. The cubicle will still be here for at least another 10 to 15 years. One question remains and it is, how are we going to fulfill the promises of the cubicle to those who occupied it for many years? Every report we look at points us to Chicago, Charleston, Omaha, Portland, Little Rock, Wilmington, Boston, Atlanta, Manchester, New Orleans… these are the top 10 cities with the lowest percentage of funding for pension liabilities in the country. –Coming Pension Meltdown: The 10 Most Troubled City Systems, by Jennifer Hickey of Newsmax, November, 2013.
The picture does not look good. We need not to slumber. The time has come for this generation to sit down and engage in serious discussions as to what the successor of the cubicle will be and to explain what its pillars are going to be. It is one thing to have information, yet another to analyze that information, combine it with current realities to help position oneself ahead of the market trends. That is exactly what we need to do as a society.

Many changes are going to take place in our society in the near future, including the extinction of the cubicle. Old social and economic structures will have to be dismantled, some old rules will have to be rewritten and the process has begun. The question is, are you preparing yourself to be a player in that new environment? Or are you sitting idly thinking that the current situation is only temporary and that things will normalize.

Written By Mucyo Balinda

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