Thursday, July 10, 2014

Library or Kindergarten?

So my job is dull, made worse by the fact that I sit in a cubicle farm where people don't talk to each other but sit at their computers wearing headphones.

The other week, my boss IM'd me. "Can I see you in my office?"


I walked down the hall to her office and went in.

"Can you shut the door?"

Oh for crying out loud. What now? My mind was racing. We've all been through these lead-ups, and they are never good, especially when you have no idea what the issue is. And I had not a clue.

I sat, and my boss began. "Someone in your area has told me that you are having a lot of personal conversations, and it looks bad."

I froze. What? What?!?! I'd had a couple of calls with a fencing contractor that the board is working with for something to do with the association, but really? It's not as though I sat on the phone constantly, chewing the fat. It's not as if I wasn't working.

"It's not like I don't make up the time if I'm on a longer call," I said, biting back other comments.

"I know, and the person in your area who told me didn't want to get you in trouble, they just were concerned that you have personal conversations, and it looks bad."

Someone In My Area. I had no doubt it was my co-worker, who shares a cubicle wall with me. Only he possesses the kind of neurotic need for control coupled with the arrogance that would have him actually make this an issue. This, the same person who was on the phone nonstop for two weeks when he posted an apartment for rent online.

Un-frikkin-believable. I'd disliked my job before, and I'd not respected my boss's lack of leadership, but this was it. That she'd actually countenance such a kindergarten tattle-tale move without giving me any benefit of the doubt, validating the allegations, or without just telling Someone In My Area to grow up and mind his own business, was just one more piece of evidence that my job and I had a huge personality difference, and that I'd walked into a clique.

"Ok, I imagine this was a difficult conversation for you to have, and I'm sorry you had to have it, but it won't happen again."

Translation: "I have nothing polite to say about this ridiculous exchange, or about Someone In My Area, so here's what I need to say to get you off my case."

My colleague was much more pleasant to me after that, presumably since he no longer had to fume in silence at my occasional outrageous use of the telephone. For my part, I now come in, say Good Morning, am pleasant when spoken to and when I ask questions, but I no longer try to engage him in conversation. You don't like personal communication? Fine. You got it.

A secretary with whom I get along with very well (we have similar personalities) wasn't surprised. "They did the same thing to me: I was too loud. I talked too much. Blah blah. I said 'Fine.' So I came in and said nothing to nobody. Now, I say 'screw you, I don't care what you think.'"  She also said, "I couldn't believe they hired you, when I met you, You are way too friendly and outgoing for this place. They can't handle it."

So I bide my time and do my job, and this week Someone In My Area is on vacation, so I don't have to have his controlling anxiety permeating my work area.

And I make phone calls.  Just because.

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