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Monday, August 30, 2004

Who invented the cubicle?

Yes, Bob Propst knows who Dilbert is. How could he not? As the man credited with inventing office cubicles, he's been asked often enough. Ah, Dilbert, the comic strip based on the miserable, pathetic minion with slim chances of promotion, suffering in his tiny cubicle amid a sea of tiny cubicles. Millions of office workers tape the strip to the walls of their own tiny cubicles (six by eight feet, if they're lucky), provided their companies allow such testaments to individuality.

Propst has created a monster. The modern American office he envisioned as a place where productivity, if not happiness, would thrive has become exactly the kind of environment loathed by those who wear suits and collect regular paychecks. But Propst wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He does not accept the blame for the nightmare that his grand idea has evolved into.

"I don't even feel faintly guilty about Dilbert," Propst says from his suburban home near Redmond, Washington. "The things expressed in that comic are the very things we were trying to relieve and move beyond. It was a Dilbert world even back then. Everything we worked toward tries to express something more interesting."

READ: The Man Behind the Cubicle

Comments: Post a Comment

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