This post needs to be done purely because coming to the end of any working year is a big deal. I can’t say I have a very stressful job – not at all. But I can say that the work place is often a
cesspool melting pot of many different, diverse and crazy people, so just navigating your way around people who you are forced to spend a good eight hours a day with, can be stressful. I mean in any other environment, we choose who we want to allow into our personal space. If we don’t like the people sitting next to us at a restaurant, we ask to be moved. If we don’t like the person sitting next to us on the Gautrain, we get up and find another seat. If we don’t like the way a person speaks to us on the telephone, we hang up. But the work place is different hey. Sitting in an open plan office among a lot people who are just different to you can be difficult. Now if you think I was going to go on about all the strange people I have had to put up with this year, you are wrong. This post is a shout out to all the people who had to put up with MY strangeness in the office this year. You did good.
Everyone knows I am loud. Or maybe I should say LOUD. I sit in the open plan immediately outside my boss’s corner office. When he first moved to South Africa, he would politely call me on the phone and make his request. When I need something from him, I usually yell it back to him from my desk to his office. Come on, I’m not going to waste a call when the man can hear me just fine if I yell. I’m proud to say that after a few months he got over his initial shock and now we yell across at each other when we need to make small talk. Mission accomplished.
I yell at everyone.. not angry yell, I mean I shout across the office if I need someone’s attention. I think it irritates a few people who go red, blow steam and hysterically reach for their ear phones. Usually I throw something at these people. I like to whistle. I find whistling very therapeutic. Yeh, not such a good idea in the office space. Usually I get the same red faced people phoning (even though we sit like 5 metres apart from each other) to ask me to tone it down. Usually I put the phone down and shout back at them to relax man.
I like to chinwag. I mean if I’m going to be stuck with you for a minimum of eight hours a day, I need to know you – where you live, how many kids you have, what’s your favourite colour and what you have in your lunch box today? So if I’m not at my desk, you’ll find me sitting on someone else’s desk assailing them for the contents of their lunch boxes, or asking for freebies. I work with a lot of young, carreer minded people who are so busy climbing the corporate ladder that they really don’t have time to chinwag… this annoys me no end. You mean you can’t stop what you are doing for ten minutes to listen to me whine about how much trouble the kids gave me last night? Who wouldn’t want to hear all about my fantabulous children?
We have this silly no-eating-at-your-desk policy. This is THE most ridiculous rule I have ever come across. I eat a lot, and I eat constantly. If I had to leave my desk every time I needed to eat, then I’d be fired for never being at my work station. They’d have to put my desk in the canteen. Ok, the rule states that you can’t eat any cooked food which releases an odour which some
uptight people might find offensive. Well what does this mean? That you can only eat dry crackers and water at your desk? What is this, Pollsmoor? Well I don’t think my lamb curry or egg salad has an offensive odour at all, so I chow at my desk. I usually have people coming up to me to ask for a taste – probably the poor folk who are still hungry from the dry crackers they had to consume. But of course I know the blanket emails which come from the top floor once again reminding staff that they are not allowed to eat at their desks are aimed at me. So sorry!
One last thing, I don’t want to give away all my trade secrets after all… I may have upset many people with my personal phone calls this year. Or I may have entertained them depending on who was listening. My dad and I have this horrible thing of speaking really loudly on the phone. Almost as if we don’t trust this amazing device which Alexander Graham Bell developed all those years ago. I don’t know why we feel like the person on the other end can’t hear us. So I do talk loudly, even when I’m phoning Standard Bank to ask for an increase in my credit limit and I try to whisper because I don’t want my colleagues to know that I’m on end of the month Salty Cracks on the 5th of the month… they still come to me after what I thought was a private call and offer sympathy with a pat on the back. So I think it’s safe to say that the whole of the 2nd floor knows my business. Sorry about that!
Yes, it’s been a hard 100 and something working days at the office this year! Fortunately for some, they have been promoted or found new jobs so they won’t have to put up with me next year. For those who chose to work through the holidays because they knew I wouldn’t be at the office, good on yer mates! For those of you who are stuck with me next year… can’t wait!! Let’s make it epic: work on your outside voices, come with some good recipes for us to try at our desks and let’s get it started in here. 2013 on the 2nd floor is going to be OFF THE HOOK!
Happy holidays to my work mates! xxx