One of the most common things to happen to the code-churners in software companies is the "squeeze". Don't let your dirty mind wander, Mr. Sander. I talk (write) about that seemingly unimportant but exceedingly irritating phenomenon called squeeze seats. In simple words, you are rendered homeless and are living off the street. That's an exaggeration, of course, but you get my point.

This phenomenon is brought out when the company is expanding (hmm, I wonder when that word will ever come back into vogue) and runs out of locations for its employees. There are more people than the number of "actual" seats on the floor. Someone in their infinite wisdom decided long ago that all cubicles should be sufficiently spaced. Why? Don't ask me. I can only come up with some very weird-but-makes-sense possibilities that I don't want to share.  Anyway, what this visionary achieved was that there was sufficient space in every 4-persion cubicle to squeeze in a fifth person. Sometimes even a sixth person.

So there is an eco system within the cubicle that established itself. All the occupants - four humans, sundry lucky bamboos, sometimes a fish or two, mugs, bottles (of water) - are in a state of equilibrium with each other. Routines get established around this ecosystem with the occasional visitor disturbing the peace by grabbing a chair. There are always chairs going missing, chairs getting switched, paper dump boundaries getting crossed, etc but the equilibrium remains. At least on the outside.

Into this eco-system, the admin team introduces a poor dunce who is usually new to the team, project or even the company. To accomodate this new addition, the current masters of the eco-system have to move around their little strewn personalizations. Then comes the power sharing agreements - which electrical socket to plug into and which network port is free. The poor addition begins to settle into his/her seat trying to not let focus wander onto the neighbours' computer screens. 

Remember how when you walk down a dark street on a dark night, you get the vague feeling of being watched and of a presence? That's what a squeeze-seat feller goes through. There's always the irksome itch that makes you believe that someone is staring into your screen, that someone is watching every line of code you type or every line of chat that you send. Cross talk between the cubicle pals goes around your shoulder. 

Got the idea? Ok! I was that unfortunate one for 3 months at my new workplace and fortunately for me I am out of there (I mean the squeeze seat). Got my own niche now. Ha!! My space, my stuff!

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