How do you like to work?

I’m a solo flyer. I’d love my own office (hey, boss, you listening?) but instead have a large cube in a quad, which suits me. It’s more private than the newsrooms I used to work in during my journalist days (which looked like something out of All the President’s Men, only smaller and without Robert Redford), and there’s a nice background hum that reminds me time and again that being social is a good thing. And I do like hearing the occasional all-out belly laugh from down the hall (you know who you are, Alex). Very cheery.

My cube is a deep semi-circle desk with a storage tower, two overhead bins and a set of drawers. Push-pin boards for things I must not forget (a frequent mantra) and room for my post-it note collection. Space for hoarding paper, boxes and the occasional presentation board, with room left over for binders, files, scattered photos of the kids and two coffee cups. My workspace is not the leaning tower of Pisa but it’s not exactly Dwell magazine either, though I do see cubes that resemble both within a few steps of my desk.

At American Family, your cube or your office is pretty much your domain. Very little “regulation,” and some emphasis on individual personality. It’s not Zappos but you can create your own space and work the way that makes you comfortable. Most people like this.

Thinking about a company’s work environment when you’re job hunting and interviewing is often overlooked but it can have an impact on your happiness in the job, as well as your productivity. Think about it. Do you like to work alone, or surrounded by people? In a tidy space, or in a “messiness is the mark of genius” space? In a loud office or a quiet one?

Consider your working style and the office space of the company you’re interviewing with. Ask questions, just as you’d ask about job duties or sales projections. The office environment is part of the corporate culture. How you’d fit with the company’s culture is a HUGE part of how happy you’d be in your job. So ask. Or better yet, see if you can take a tour. It will help you determine if the workplace, as well as the work, is a good match for you.

**Sue is an HR service experience specialist who has a background in journalism, public relations and HR customer experience. Sue’s been with American Family for 12 years and spends her spare time chasing two children and keeping track of all the great movies she’s missed since she became a mom. In two years, you’re all invited to a very long film festival.

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