Office Lunches: My Desk

Some of you know me … and can read me like a book already. For one, I like doing a series on things related to food. So, starting today I am going to start on a new series of “Office Lunches”. It’ll be all about the lunches (if you could call them lunches at all!!) that I had over three weeks. I really hope you all will find it interesting.

I’ll start off the series the next couple of days introducing to you the place where I had my lunches. Oh yeah, I had most of my lunches at my desk and it’s because I had so much to do in the office, I often only have time to grab a quick 5 minute bite.


I have a two desk cubicle all by myself. I love the location of my cubicle because it is secluded and have quite a lot of privacy. I wish I have an office but am just a small fry. Anyway, I am only about 50% at my desk most of the time because I will either be in the meeting rooms or going about tracking folks down.


The company uses HP machines exclusively. I like my notebook which I hack at it almost everyday in the year. The one you see there is a loaner (almost similar model) because mine is under repair because the monitor hinge came off from the casing(!). They decided to repair it instead of issuing me a new one because it not yet past it’s due date.

While at my desk, I connect it to an old-fashioned monitor and make it my extended desktop. I actually work faster with dual monitors. I also have a wireless mouse which I carry it all over the office with the notebook — I hate the touch pad. For some reason, I cannot get used to it.


I have a Cisco IP phone. This is the best phones I had ever used. I mean, it does everything except make the coffee. Most importantly the voice quality is miles better than any previous phones I had ever used. I spend a lot of time on the phone … long distance to our offices in other cities. IP phones saves the company lots of money especially when we have offices all over the world.

My favourite is the headphone. It is super sensitive and clear. When I take calls from my desk, I can be 100% sure the other side can hear me loud and clear. He he he … even when I am in a conference call, I don’t even have to speak real loud and my voice from the headset can overpower the others that makes people stop on their track.

Oh, I think I have a cool ringtone too … it’s exactly the same ringtone from the series “24”. You know, the CTU? Jack Bauer? The CTU uses the same type of phone.


I have my own easel (sp?) with flip charts. It really helps in clarifying discussions. I think most people can relate to ideas, concepts, etc visually. So, I make it a point to write or draw on the flip chart that we can always go back to in case we need to. Unlike whiteboards, once erased, they’re gone.


I like my calendar. It is neat and best of all, it does what I term as a “rolling” calendar. First, it is erasable and comes with magnetized erasable markers. The weekly calendar strips are also magnetized which I can roll off each week once it’s over. Four weeks ahead is good enough for me to see at high-level what is going on. You can’t put a lot of info here but it does the job.


On the desk is two little toys that I don’t pay much attention to anymore. The rubber stress ball is a souvenir from my ex-company. That is pretty much all I got from being outsourced to Accenture!! I leave it on my desk and many people who come by just could not help but pick it up and squeeze it while talking to me.

Then there is this little 3-minute hour glass. I get interrupted quite often at work. It could get very disruptive. I used to go hide in the meeting rooms or somewhere else each time I wanted peace to get my stuff done. That did not work anymore because everyone had figured out where to track me down. So, I resorted at some time to the hours glass … people would come by asking if they could have a minute with me and I told them, I’ll give them 3 minutes … and flip over the hour glass in front of them. It was funny but it did not work at all. If you want I can sell that to you for $1.


Most people knows that only Ben uses the small yellow writing pad. I go all around the office with this, jotting down every important note because I have such lousy memory. Also, most people knows that I am the only one who uses the 4-color BIC pens. It’s really useful in writing notes and being able to differentiate what is what when the whole page gets busy.


The company issues us coffee mugs but they are so puny. I got this larger one from our supplier which is much bigger. I used to drink lots of coffee at work but for a long time now it is only water I take.

I also have a one of a kind pewter pen holder. I used to work in a manufacturing company called Royal Selangor who makes these sort of stuff. This pen holder has a motif of dragons and is a prototype which never saw production. I rescued that from the melting pot.


There are other books on the table. These two had been there for ages. I read perhaps two chapters. I am like that. I get lots of books and only about 20% of them gets read from cover to cover. 🙂


Then there is the Bible of the Project Management profession. It’s called the PMBOK (pronounced as pim-bok) which is the definitive guide to project management. If you aspire to be a PM and if there is one book you want to read, it’s this.


I had all kinds of notes that pin up on the walls of the cubicle. This one is a simple self made time conversion which I used to convert time zones. For the life of me, I could never do time zone conversion mentally and always had to rely on this handy list. I used to have to deal with BOTH London and Singapore at the same time and it’s a nightmare, I tell you. London is 8 hours ahead of Vancouver and Singapore is 8 hours the other side. So, I used to have to get on calls at 11PM at night and then go work normal office hours. These days, it’s more saner because it is just Atlanta and London I had to deal with.


I also had some little reminders that I make up over the years. They are as useful today as it was the first time I come across them. Click on the picture if you want to have a clearer read of it.


The plant was handpicked and nurtured by Suanne. I am pretty proud of this because it is so packed with leaves. Not only that …


… it is so long that I extended it to the other side of my cubicle which currently is empty.

Tomorrow, I will share with you some other things about my office before I launch on my “office lunches” series proper.

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  1. Jessica

    OMG! We have the same cube walls and phone! Love the magnetic pens! You are so lucky you can have a plant. At my work they consider them “water hazards” around the computers.

  2. C

    I can’t wait to see what you eat for lunch! Great idea!

  3. iluvTWfood

    i love reading your blogs, it’s fun. do you work for SITA? if you do, i can’t believe it, then i used to work next door when you guys were based at BCIT before you moved out last year.

    keep up the good blogs.

  4. Emily

    What an excellent office and where, oh where, did you get those magnetic pens? I have magnetized walls in my new office and I want some too! V V fabulous and I can’t wait for the lunches.


    ps. I also noticed that you have 178 countries in you Neoworx flag thing…and I’m totally impressed (cuz I only have 163)

  5. Jennifer

    Nice cubicle! That is awesome. I just got my cubicle on Friday and I was so stoked. It’s so much bigger than at my previous job and I have so much room (not as big as yours but it’s HUGE for me!). We use Siemens phones at work and they work okay but we have some issues with the Xfer/Conf button and it drives me wonky! I used an Avaya IP phone (Cisco’s competitor, apparently! I have a friend who used to work for Cisco and she told me Avaya was a huge competitor!) at my previous job and it was okay but my main gripe was you could never get it loud enough. Your phone looks SO nice though…very modern and looks glitch-free!

    Those magnetic pens are quite popular in my workplace too…I need to get some for my whiteboard! 🙂

    Those books you showed on there look really interesting- what was your major in college? I am a Business major and it looks familiar to books I have read and seen while in college. We’ll have to definitely talk one of these days (more like meet up again, I know! So busy lately!) about business!

    Thank you for sharing with us- I love seeing other people’s workspaces. I think I might copy your idea if they will allow me to!

  6. Chai Leng Goh

    Hi Ben,

    Have been reading your post for more than a year now and enjoying myself very much.
    Just wanted to let you know and to say that the CISCO IP Phone (I have exactly the same as you have) is a wonderful tool, also with headphones.

    Best regards,
    Chai Leng
    Malaysian in The Netherlands

  7. Jono Cono

    Ummm, did I just see a CRT monitor in one of those photos??? I’m not blaming you, I know it’s not your fault. 😉

  8. Jaime

    really like ur calendar. is it found in Singapore?

    1. Ben

      Hi Jaime: You know, I could not find the calendar anywhere anymore … not in Canada, not even in the US. Strange. Some of my office mates asked for that too. The brand is Boone, if that helps. Perhaps you could get in touch with them and ask how to get it?

  9. Jaime

    awww i see. thanks and happy new year!

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