EDITED TO ADD: To everyone who posted pictures of their work spaces? You guys rock, especially the Megacube. Thanks for being a nice safe spot for me in the Internet realm!
I'm a lady, and I'm constantly worried about not being taken seriously in the workplace, especially a male-dominated workplace. That's part of the reason why I have never displayed any personal items in my office area. Ever.
I've seen too many ladies who have work areas that look like their family rooms. I've seen: cube walls covered top to bottom in pastel tissue paper; cube walls covered in personal photos, candles (never lit though), one or two stuffed animals, kitschy crap on shelves, homemade paper hearts (why??!?!), several framed photos, etc.
The worst cubes I ever saw were ladies who either just got married or had babies. I'm talking the place was COVERED in photos of the respective milestone.
To be fair, I've seen dudes have a smattering of personal items, but it's never overkill. (I did count up my current boss's framed photos and he had about six. That seemed like a lot.)
My desk has nothing but papers on it. My walls have relevant work stuff on them. I brought in my own soft light lamp because the overhead fluorescent is gross. That's it. My personal preference is to keep work at work. Any framed photos are on my mantel at home.
But I've been told by a couple of well-meaning friends to "soften" and "humanize" the place up a bit. Y'all think I'm doing myself a disservice?