Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Few Office Nuisances that Cause Me to Cringe

I found out long ago that when working a job, often though you might absolutely despise the job you are doing, the people working with you and around you often make that job bearable, sometimes enjoyable even.

For instance, I worked as a telephone operator and customer service agent while going to college. Now, the job itself left much to be desired. First of all, it was monotonous. Sitting there hour after hour taking inbound calls and then simply pushing a couple of buttons to connect them is boring, mindless work. Then you got those customer service calls from irate customers with problems usually of their own doing who seemed to want only to berate and insult you.

But the people working with me made the job enjoyable. Between calls we talked and laughed and acted a general fool which usually kept us entertained through the night. I don’t know what I would have done had that cast of characters not been assembled in that place.

However, after all those years in college and grad school, I have finally landed my dream job. But now those people who work with me sometimes make me absolutely cringe. In fact, a colleague commented the other day that I seem to be more comfortable and at ease around the students as opposed to my faculty colleagues.

It took everything in me to tell him that despite all their degrees, despite all their collective knowledge and experience, my colleagues seemed so absolutely pompous, dysfunctional, and out of touch with reality at times that spending so much time with students is the only thing that keeps me from breaking with my usual aplomb and cussing someone slap out.

But anyway, these are the office types that get on my last nerve and make my job more trying than it should be:

The Office Know-it-all

Never mind that this person is the least educated person with the least experience on the staff. Never mind that this person does not even serve in a professional capacity; she is a paraprofessional hired by the state to gather statistics and enter them into a database. However, this person seems to be an expert on any and every subject you can think of.

They are an expert gardener, dog trainer, home builder, medical practitioner, cook, painter, herbalist, nutritionist, professional trainer, and the list goes on and on. But I found out a way to shut this person up last week. In the middle of a longwinded exposition on some subject, I interrupted to ask, “What did you say your degree was in again?”. Evidently, this is a subject she was not a well-versed in because she ran off like a roach when you turn the lights on.

The Office Butt-in-ski

In my case, the office know-it-all and the office butt-in-ski are often the same person. But we have more than one of these on staff. You know the type. They happen up on a conversation and just insert themselves into the mix. Usually they don’t even have a good grasp as to what the conversation is about. They just seem to hear one or two trigger words that set them off and BAM!, they have hi-jacked the conversation with their own extraneous, patented form of BS.

The Office Stand-up Comedian

Perhaps you have crossed path with this office nuisance. This person is under the delusion that they are indeed funny. And the simplest, most mundane question becomes their excuse to launch into their stand-up act. But the thing is, they are not in the least bit funny. In fact, they are usually corny at best and obnoxious at worst.

Usually, I try to be patient and respond with a polite chuckle in those places in which I think a polite chuckle belongs, where I sense a punch line belongs. But as of late, office stand-up comedian, these monologues have become absolutely unbearable. Not only that, you have begun to recycle the same old unfunny stuff. Who writes your material?

The Office Hypochondriac

Usually each time I see someone for the first time in the day, I greet them with a “Hello. How are you today?”. However, I learned long ago not to extend this greeting to the office hypochondriac. Why? Because they will invariably tell you in vivid and graphic details to include frequency and consistency of stools.

It seems they have an encyclopedic knowledge of all possible ailments that might afflict humans, and at any given time, find themselves victim of one or several of these many ailments.

By the way, office hypochondriac person, your vivid description of the bright red scaly rash underneath your breasts last week really grossed me out. This is not something you share with people with whom you only have a casual relationship. But when you pulled down your shirt just enough for me to see evidence of that rash in the valley between your breast, I was completely undone.

That was enough to turn a professed breast man such as myself virulently anti-titty. Thank you.

The Office Dirty Old Lady

Okay. I will admit that I encouraged this behavior at first. The whole thing started really benignly. There is an older white lady on staff who has a wonderful sense of humor and is really a pleasure to be around. So, she started out with some stock English department sexual innuendo, something about dangling participles. Get it?

And I thought her jokes were a little ribald but nonetheless clever, so I joined in and added one or two cleverly nasty bits of my own. My open participation only seemed to encourage her until this thing has crescendoed to the point at which her funny, clever sexual innuendo has become openly outright filthy and suggestive.

Recently, after one such exchange, I felt so absolutely dirty that no shower could wash the shame away. And then one night after spending the evening trying to contemplate what I might do to nip this in the bud, I had this crazy dream in which she clad in a Wonder Woman costume used her golden lasso to subdue me. I will spare you the dirty details.

Did I leave any “office nuisances” out? What types do you find around your office?


Devona said...

LOL! I have experience all of these and then some. But you left out the office tattle-tell, snitch, spy (whatever you want to call this person). For anyone who has ever worked in an office or plans to work in an office environment, I suggest you find out who this person is and avoid them like the plague (unless you are the culprit)!

SjP said... your office down the hall from mine?

md20737 said...

I once had a know it all in my job. She "used" to work in a doctors office, be a former pharmacy tech, worked reading xrays, worked on a movie set, worked in a vet, worked at the mall, etc the list went on and on. But yet we were customer service agents. She had a story to related to everything ever mentioned at work. All we could do is laugh at her.

You forget the coworker that you accidentally gave your email address to you that forwards you any and everything that comes to their inbox. And the coworker that forces you to listen to their stories about their children no matter what you are talking about. Their kids relate to everything and can do everything better than your kid. I think I might hate that coworker more than the rest lol GREAT POST!!

macon d said...

This was a great post, with some great advice too, especially:

In the middle of a longwinded exposition on some subject, I interrupted to ask, “What did you say your degree was in again?”

One that I would've added is the Office Wind Machine -- the person who makes every conversation way, way too long with some diatribe or other (not necessarily know-it-all stuff), always forcing me to cut her off before she's finished. Assuming she would ever finish.

Nice choices for the images too!

Max Reddick said...

@ Devona

Yeah, I did forget the office snitch. However, the Office know-it-all, office buttinski, and office snitch are one in the same. It seems that she does whatever she can to curry favor, but it always seems to backfire.

@ SjP

Offices are that similar, huh?


Yeah, I forgot that one two. My inbox is filled with those forwards. My wife usually forwards them back with a note to stop forwarding her foolishness. And I also forgot about those people whose kids are always selling something. I got enough useless stuff now.

@macon d

Yeah, we have one of those too, a person who just will not shut up.

Denisha said...

lol love it! I have the I-love-to-hear-myself-talk. They always have to raise their hand when asked, "any questions or comments?" Never fails, whatever they have to say relates only a tad bit to the topic. Or, the person who is doing a documentary on your life that you weren't made aware of. They are cleverly nosey without being too obvious. "So how old were you when you had your 1st child?"

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