Friday, December 12, 2008

The Office

I find the office workplace oddly entertaining. Since I am a fan of people watching, I love observing office interactions. I don’t however love being a part of those interactions. I’m not one to fake an expressed interest in the Stitch & Bitch lunch club, put on a happy face when I’m in a horrible mood, or pretend to ignore what is blatantly obvious. Here are a few of those obvious things that make my office interactions highly amusing:

Exhibit A: The Long Hallway Stride
What are you supposed to do during this? It doesn’t get much more awkward then playing chicken with one of your office mates while walking towards each other down a long straight hallway. I feel like a gun slinger. You both acknowledge each other; you can clearly see each other. But what yardage is it not creepy to nod, wave, or say hello too prematurely? 50 yards, 10 yards.. 5 feet? It’s just weird and I hate it. Then there is the rude split second paths crossing conversation. The one that is like, “Hey, how are you” and before you can answer they’re already around the corner. Thanks for asking! I’ve taken habit to grabbing a print off before walking down any stretch of hallway so I can pretend that I’m looking over my report instead of having to make eye contact for that creepily weird 30 seconds until you’re within reach of each other.

Exhibit B: The Long Goodbye
This pleasurable encounter comes with every last day, which there have been numerous in the recent months. What I love the most is that you can hear your soon to be non co-worker going from cube to cube, row to row, saying their goodbyes. And it’s the same conversation over and over again. Keep in touch. We’ll miss you. Nice working with you. See you at next week’s happy hour. Or if you’re me and take no interest whatsoever in faking relationships it’s more along the lines of “Oh, you’re leaving?" It’s not the typical goodbye banter that gets to me. It’s the how can you tell when the goodbye is over? And how do you end it? There is that brief graceless moment where you don’t know if a hug is appropriate, followed by the straightforward handshake goodbye where you’re worried you might get shaking baby syndrome because they just won’t stop shaking and let go of you. I wish there was a button on my keyboard that I could program to make my phone ring. The Esc button would work! Then before that moment comes, or in the case of today when that moment doesn’t come soon enough, your phone can ring and the encounter abruptly ends right there on the spot.

Exhibit C: The Holiday Potluck
One sentence warrants this explanation. “LAY OFF ME I’M STARVING!” (Great SNL skit with Chris Farley). No, I didn’t bring anything to make and yes, the rules clearly communicated that even though it’s a potluck bringing a dish to pass is not required to participate in the feast. And don’t give me that dirty look when I go back for seconds. I have a thyroid disease and metabolize food rather quickly.

Exhibit D: The Bathroom Exchange
Quite possibly my highest ranked office interaction grievance… Just because we walk in at the same time doesn’t mean you need to talk to me through the stall while I’m releasing the 10 gallons of coffee it took for me to make it through the morning. The same is applicable for while I’m washing my hands. It’s not a pow wow. Let me do my business and be on my way and if you still feel the urge, pop over to my cube to chat. There is a time and place people!

Exhibit E: The Reply All Addict
Your Mailbox Is Over It’s Size Limit! Or so it is now in the time it took for me to go to the bathroom and come back to my desk to find 75 new unopened emails all containing the same subject line. Now I have to admit, I am an abuser of the reply all function. When it is work related! Not so much when a Thank You goes out to all who participated in the holiday potluck and all 80 employees feel the need to chime in with a reply all of some witty remark that outdoes the prior. These crazed maniacs are already starting to plan the next event, via the storage space in my inbox. Join the employee committee if you feel like a taco bar would be the next great thing. But at least let me digest my multiple servings from the potluck before I go thinking about the next free food event I will inevitably raid.

To be quite honest, the list could go on. These are all just a few that I have already experienced today, in that order. Let me add that it’s only 1pm. I leave you with this. If I have to be in one more group picture for the company newsletter, I may throw up in my mouth. I tried really hard this time to play the role of Where’s Waldo, and to my surprise it was a success! I managed to be the only one who managed to stay hidden!!
Happy Friday!!

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