If you work in an office, there is the likelihood that your work space is a cubicle. Cubicles tend to be small, lack privacy and lined up in a block or row. Every phone conversation is audible to those in your immediate vicinity. Privacy is non-existent. Your ears may become hypersensitive like chalk on a chalkboard to sounds from a co-worker who is heavy handed with typing on the keyboard, has a cough or open and closes file cabinets loudly, or uses a loud voice during phone calls. Many cubicle workers wear earphones and listen to music to drown out the mixture of distracting noises and sounds.
On a positive note, the closeness of cubicle workers may be an opportunity to bond as four of us did in a cubicle quad over a shared love of tea. What started out as solo preparation and drinking of tea in the afternoon evolved into a daily afternoon ritual in our quad cubicle. The four of us participated in an afternoon tea break utilizing an electric tea pot, filtered water and a variety of teas. Everyone contributed teas as each of us would explore tea specialty stores and bring in a variety of teas to try and taste. After a visit to a tea parlor, someone would bring in a special loose tea blend that they had tried. As the tea preparation and drinking together became a daily ritual, it was taken to the next level with the use of a blue and white patterned china tea pot, tea cups and serving tray. It was our special time of the day for 15 minutes away from the work and stressors of the day. Each one of us took turns preparing the afternoon tea and selecting the tea for the day.
One co-worker bought a plaque with the following quote that we all liked and hung it on the outside of one of the cubicles:
A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Our four year tea journey together encompassed white, green, herbals, rooibos, blacks and blended teas. I sampled teas that I had never tried before and widened my taste and knowledge of teas. Unfortunately, one co-worker moved on to another position and I moved to an office. However, I still cherish the afternoon tea experiences and camaraderie of those days. We all continue to remain friends and in touch with our shared love of teas.
If you work in a cubicle environment and enjoy tea, seek out fellow tea aficionados and create your own afternoon tea experience and rituals. You won’t be sorry….