Office cubicles mark their 40th anniversary

The cubicle celebrates its 40th birthday this month. A party is unlikely.

What's to celebrate? The cubicle office system is one of the most derided realities of modern work life.

Somehow, the spaces that white-collar worker bees unlovingly refer to as "cubes" have become an icon for all that is confining, uninspiring, soulless and humdrum in our workaday lives.

Warrens. Honeycombs. Cube farms. Even "veal-fattening pens."

The sarcasm — cynicism — wrapped around those fabric-covered panels is remarkable for a system marketed back in 1968 as the Action Office.

Bad rap?

"This was a wonderful concept," Joe Schwartz said. He was the marketing director at Herman Miller in Michigan when the furniture company shopped a new office system concept around the country.

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