Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cubicle Etiquette

Like many people, I work in an office. Also, like many people, sometimes I feel like I'm in a Dilbert comic strip, or in the movie "office space". There's always that one employee that is way too enthusiastic in meetings. Or someone who dresses a little strange. I work with a woman who (no kidding) wears Mary Janes and white socks... every day. This might be a cute look, but the woman's old enough to have gray hair.... Mmmmmm not so cute at that age.

Something funny about the new job is that my boss and I are not located at the same site. She’s 30 miles away. And while that may seem like a slacker’s dream, it also makes communication a pain. That being said, the new boss really hasn’t been able to fill me on the work environment of the new gig because she works in a completely different area.

I’ll admit to you that I take personal calls at work. Are they all day every day? No. Maybe 5-10 mins every week or so are spent talking with colleuges. And sometimes I do make personal calls regarding things like Dr’s apts and such.

I hadn’t really thought much about it until I received an email from one of the leads in the area (keep in mind that  I don’t work for this person). I was one of 10 on the distribution list who received an email entitled: Cubicle Etiquette.

Keeping in mind that people in general are weird, I try to take things that happen at work with a grain of salt. I received an email last week that cracked me up and bothered me at the same time.

This email went on to explain that we work in a “close” environment (whatever that means) and that it’s come to his attention that excessive conversations have been occurring. If someone has a lengthy conversation they should schedule a conference room and use it rather than their desk phone.

I read it and immediately took it personally. Call it one of my neuroses, but I’m the new kid on the block, and here I am calling my insurance company in the middle of the day to ask if they’ve paid my son’s ENT because they sent me, yet another, bill. And apparently, I’m bothering people?

Here’s something I’ve never understood about things like this? The doctor’s office (for example) is open only from 9-5, right? And when am I at work? 9-5. So when am I supposed to make these calls? Should I sneak out to my car and use my cell? What about a conversation about my son’s ENT bill is so offensive that someone HAD TO complain that I’m bothering people.

Of course I realize that this email may not be directed specifically towards me, however as the new kid in town, I take offense. 

Just as I was reading that note, I remembered seeing something on someone’s desk the other. It was one of the desk phone blinking things. It lights up if you’re on the phone. I guess people are supposed to look at the status of the light before speaking with you to make sure that you’re not on the phone (really, people? You can’t just say “I’m on the phone”? or come to the conclusion the phone/headset up to their ear means… oh, I don’t know… they’re on the phone?).  Below the light there was a note that went something like this:

“When the light is on that means I’m on the phone. Please take your conversation elsewhere.”

At the time I thought that the office loon just lived there and thought nothing of it. Why am I getting the feeling that they’re ALL the office loons? Could I be living in the land of no personal calls? I’ve been to this place before and I don't like it one bit. 

But... my child is only 21 months and I still have a while to save for his college education… that and I like eating.  So, I guess I’ll be standing outside with the smokers the next time I need to make a personal call. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone!

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