Catholic in the Cubicle, Part 4: Setting up Your Work Space

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The following post is part of a series on living the Catholic faith in the workplace.

The layout of a space matters. Just look at the time companies spend designing their headquarters. From cube farms to wide open areas, offices are designed to create a particular culture at a company. You too can create a specific culture focused on Christ within your work space. Since a typical office worker spends more time in the cube than in the pew, it is important to structure this area to bring us closer to God. While our cube may not look like a cathedral, we can set it up as a place to encounter God. Here are a few suggestions of making your cube more Catholic.

A Daily Prayer to a Saint on Your Work Desk

Right next to my computer I have a plaque to St. Joseph the Worker which contains a prayer to begin the work day. I start every work day by praying that prayer to St. Joseph, asking him to help me to work well for the Lord that day. This helps me stay grounded and mindful that my work should be an offering to God. When I get into a tough problem, the plaque reminds me to ask St. Joseph to help me through the situation. I have experienced great power through his intercession and highly recommend praying to him in time of distress.

Turn Your Desktop Background into an Encounter with Christ

Instead of using the generic background on your desktop, add in a picture of Jesus, Mary, a Saint, or your favorite story from the Bible. If you want to be creative, you could change the background each liturgical season to remind you of what feast the Church is currently celebrating. That way, every time you close your program and return to the desktop, you are instantly drawn closer to Christ, instead of yellow tulips, goldfish or whatever picture currently graces your desktop.

Sticky Notes on the Laptop

Placing a quote from a saint or a Bible verse on a laptop is another great reminder. It just takes one glance down from the computer screen to that note to allow God to speak to you. While you may not have five minutes at work to read a meditation, you can take five seconds to read a quote that draws you back to Christ.

HR Policy and Religious Items

One company I used to work for had a policy of no religious items on the desk or on the cube wall, though I could have them in my desk drawer. I was rather frustrated when I was told to take my crucifix down in the name of inclusion and diversity. However, I became creative in the ways that I displayed my faith in the cube. I placed a couple of push pins on the wall in the outline of a cross. I kept my desk drawer open a crack so that I could see the crucifix inside it. If HR restricts your expression of the faith, find some creative alternatives. The early Christians used symbols like the fish to show their faith, why can’t we?

The possibilities of customizing your work space to focus on God are endless. In this season of Easter joy, find one thing that will remind you of that joy to place in your work space.

Bob Waruszewski is a cradle Catholic from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from St. Vincent College with a bachelor’s degree in both mathematics and economics. Currently he works in the regulatory department for a natural gas distribution company in the Steel City and is enjoying life as a married man. In his free time, which will be cut dramatically when his wife gives birth in May, he enjoys playing sports, hiking and reading a good book. His favorite saint is St. Joseph.

7 Responses to “Catholic in the Cubicle, Part 4: Setting up Your Work Space”

  1. Tyran Reply

    I had a business card holder engraved for my wife with the initials AMDG. Anyone who went to a Jesuit school would know the significance – anyone else would wonder what it meant.

    • Tyran,the deacon at my parish has the same initials on his business card. It has helped him spark conversations about the faith at his workplace too.

  2. Patrick Trela Reply

    This is some great advice for the Office worker. I am very happy that someone is putting this information out there and is trying to help the office workers now. Thank you. Do you have any advice for how to keep your mind on God while working among people who are notably more vulgar than others? I work as an engineering intern in a manufacturing plant in Detroit, and the atmosphere is good, with a good splattering of profanity and dirty jokes.

    • Hi Patrick, glad you are enjoying the articles. As for your work situation, I would begin by praying by name for each of your co-workers daily.. It can be hard to be positive if the underlying culture is negative. When one of them uses profanity, offer a prayer of reparation under your breath such as “My Jesus Mercy”,”Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Have Mercy on Us, “St. Joseph, pray for us” or “Admirable is the Name of the Lord”.

      Also, considering memorizing a couple of joyful Bible verses to say in your head when the negativity train starts rolling at work such as Philippians 4:8 or Romans 12:12. Finally, if you ever have the chance, steer the conversation to more positive topics or at the very least show by your example that you will not stoop to their level of humor.

      May God bless you at work.

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