Play It Where It Lies

Welcome to John’s workstation in San Antonio, Texas, USA!

Does this type of setup look recognizable or unusual, ordinary or unfamiliar? While everyone has a “workstation,” not everyone works in a cubicle. Take a look at John’s detailed responses to the three questions to find out a little bit more about him and what’s going on in his space.


What type of work do you do at your workstation?

“I conduct research at my desk about an array of subjects, however I have four main areas or markets that I keep a close look at which are:

US Electronic Warfare

US Homeland Security

US Geospatial Technologies and Services

Airports (Worldwide)”

What do you like the most and dislike the most about your workstation?

“This is a difficult question. I state this simply because while I have been accustomed to working in cubicle spaces throughout my working life, I dislike them immensely. That being said, I suppose the best thing I like about my Frost cubicle is that I can easily slip cables or wires through the seams of my walls and table space. Cables and wiring on my desk, make it difficult to spread out documents, and references I use for my work, and besides, I simply don’t like seeing them on my desk. As for what I dislike about my Frost cubicle, you name it, I hate it. It’s too small, no room for storing files, my chair is uncomfortable, I have to turn around any time I speak with one of my colleagues, my phone sucks…well, I think you get the picture. The bottom line is, I’m much more productive at my home office, than I am here. On the other hand, I truly enjoy the personal interaction with my team-mates and for that matter, other individuals at Frost (especially the editors:-)”

How does your workstation reflect who you are?

“I spent 22 years in the US Air Force. A career, I’m very proud of and which basically changed the course of my life. On the back wall of my cubicle I have several model aircraft displayed. All of which, are older aircraft but which also have one thing in common, which is…that in some form or manner during my career I supported or came in contact with each one of those platforms. On the wall behind me is a world map, where I sometimes gaze and reminisce about all the different places I’ve traveled to. On my desk, I have a small statue of a rock with a golf ball embedded into it. The rock has the words “Play It Where It Lies” etched on it, conveying one of the greatest aspects of the game of golf, and a constant reminder of why I love to play the game so much. Finally, but in no way least of all, on my wall to my left I have pinned up an unframed picture of my wife and I, my two sons, their wives, and my three grandchildren reminding me of the impact my life has had on this earth.”

What do I see when I look at this picture and read the responses?

I see someone who takes that golf phrase, “play it where it lies,” to heart and makes the best of the situation at hand, which is a cramped cubicle with limited space. Even though there isn’t much room or desk space, there are small touches of organization in this small area: the whiteboard with the neatly lined up notes and the wire rack of folders (could this be a result of a military background?). John has provided opportunities to escape to places he has been or wants to go. He has surrounded himself with reminders of his past (map and aircraft), reminders of his present (the work at hand, golf, and family), and reminders of the future (children/grandchildren and the direction of the current job).

What is positive about this space, in my opinion?

Its smallness can be a drawback, but it also allows everything that is important to John to be accessible and visible. With just a quick turn of the head or a swivel of that uncomfortable chair, he can gaze at his family, his collection of model aircraft, and his map whenever he needs a reminder of what makes him happy. You can see a small portion of the family photo to the left of John’s head. While John doesn’t have a lot of desk space to work with, he has made room for a little tank next to his rock with the golf ball. Never underestimate the power of the small details.

This is John’s space, and it says that he is organized, a little (or a lot) cramped, happy with where life has taken him, and ready and willing to answer that call to ‘play it where it lies.’

Are you interested in participating in this informal anthropological project? I hope you are!

Send me a picture of your workstation (preferably with you in it, but you don’t necessarily have to look into the camera), along with your answers to these questions:

  • What type of work do you do at your workstation?
  • What do you like the most and dislike the most about your workstation?
  • How does your workstation reflect who you are?

Is it okay to include your first name and your city, state, and country, or would you prefer to remain anonymous?

By choosing to share your workstation (your desk) with me, you agree to have your picture(s) and words publicized without expectation of any remuneration other than the sheer joy of sharing a snippet of your life with others. I will also provide a bit of observational commentary.

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