I’ve complained about this before but it’s reached a fever pitch lately. I work in a small office with only two offices for the two execs and an open area with cubicles with walls only about 4 feet high. There are days when everyone is either on the phone or talking at once. This has been happening a lot lately and recent conversations have been bordering on arguments about how something actually works versus how it should work. Add on to that people constantly talking about personal stuff ad nauseum and I’m ready to tear my hair out.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been in a crappy mood lately or if it’s because I am growing more misanthropic as I get older or if I’m just getting irritated with the way the people around me communicate. You be the judge. Here’s a sample of the things I have to listen to:
- SOP for communication in our office is very MALE. They talk over one another and constantly interrupt one another. It’s very hard to get a word in edgewise without being impolite…which makes me pretty uncomfortable (believe it or not, in person, I’m quite shy). So in any conversation, there are at least two men talking over one another about a quarter of the time. Furthermore, when one does talk over the other, one of the speakers has the nasty habit of barreling on with what they want to say but at a much louder volume. So there are multiple people talking AND the volume gets louder and louder the more they go on because they are trying to talk over each other.
- Phone conversations with clients are done from our desks. I can not only hear what my neighbors are saying, but they often will put their calls on speaker phone so I can hear the client as well, whether I want to or not.
- The other three programmers have been arguing off and on for HOURS about how to send an email using our product (hint: 50% of the coding has already been done and the DB structure is 100% done). It’s a no brainer and even if there are complications, the boss wants it done the way he wants it done. Railing against what he wants and kvetching about how it should be ideally done is a waste of time.
- Once they finally realized that talking at one another wasn’t going to make progress they decided to go into the conference room without shutting the door and then proceeded to argue in there, except this time they could pound on the conference table and argue about how to use the laptop and large monitor to display what they started arguing about in the first place.
- Threaded throughout these exchanges are weird one-offs by one of the conservative guys bitching about something said on MSNBC or snipes about Obamacare, etc. Or he’s sniping at “the dieter” who I will describe next.
- Threaded through that are comments by our resident dieter. He started out at over 400 lbs and to his credit he has lost tons of weight very quickly. But he feels the need to regale us all with the intricacies of his Weight Watchers diet plan including the point values of the various foods he eats throughout the day–and he eats all day long. And he’s constantly going on about how one should eat to stay healthy. This is interspersed with him waxing poetic about food because he misses eating anything he wants–food he’s eaten at restaurants, what he’s making for dinner tonight, what he ate last night, what I’m heating up in the microwave now that smells so good, the food in the gift basket we received yesterday, etc. Oops, someone just asked him about what he is eating for breakfast. This will be a 30 minute exegesis on how good turkey sausage is for us. I know so much about him and his family’s eating habits I could be their dietitian. I support him in his dieting efforts but I’m sick to death of hearing about food. It literally makes me not want to eat or talk about food….I’m always afraid it will start him off and he won’t stop talking. Unfortunately, he went off the rails on his diet yesterday. It was a bag of cashews in the gift basket–it had 4 servings in it. He picked it up and asked us all, “If I open this I’m going to get my hands all over it. Does anybody care if I just take the whole thing?” Really….Really?!?! I couldn’t let it pass, I just couldn’t. I asked him if he knew how many servings were in it. He looked at the label and said “4”. I said, okay, well I would like some of the cashews because I love them and the basket is for everyone. He took some cashews, which was fine. Later that day, I poured some out on a plate and half the bag was still left. No sooner than I had finished the pittance of cashews I allowed myself, he made a snide comment to someone else that I’d eaten all the cashews. Okayyyyyyyy. The absurdity continues because apparently, after I and the other two programmer left last night, he asked an exec if he could take the entire package of smoked salmon (which we hadn’t even opened yet) home.
- Threaded through all of THAT bullshite…..the resident hippy makes sarcastic or funny remarks to the conservative guy or the dieter based on something weird they said earlier. Usually the conservative guy and the other dieter don’t necessarily understand what he’s saying and need an explanation–because their “it’s a joke meter” or “sarcasm meter” is often broken. This usually starts one of them off on a tangent about something obscure and completely unrelated to anything we are currently working on. The conservative guy and the dieter spent 30 minutes yesterday talking about the merits of famous piano composers (they both know their music very well and in annoying detail).
- And through all of that, the phone is ringing and I end up answering it more than anyone else because 1) I’m not talking like everyone else and 2) I have this built in reflex that you never let it go beyond three rings. Not that I can hear the person on the other end when I do answer it.
I have some nice noise cancelling headphones but there is no technology on the planet good enough to shut this all out. And I can’t play music loud enough to drown it out without making my eardrums bleed. I need a vacation–desperately–and barring that, a new job where I have an office with a frigging door.