Friday, August 14, 2009

Behind the cubicle

I've been on vacation for a few days now, and I have to admit I've been thinking about work...a little. Every so often, I reflect upon some of the odd customs and behaviors in my workplace, which I'm sure doesn't deviate too far from just about every other office environment in America. 
I've narrowed down the main areas of human interaction to: the elevator, the hallway and the meeting room.
The elevator presents quite a set of challenges. Etiquette dictates that you don't want to line up in front of someone who's already waiting, so what ensues is a single file line all the way back to the lobby. Once inside the elevator, it's more about what you shouldn't do than what you should. Do not face another person, face the door. Do not breathe through you mouth, breathe through your nose. Do not cough unless there's someone in there who you don't mind exposing to your bacteria-laden particulates. And by all means, do not take the elevator up or down one floor. It makes you appear rude and out of shape.
Then there's the hallway. The only real comment I've got about this is that when you spot someone walking toward you from the opposite end, you both go to extremes to avoid eye contact until you approach each other. Do not make the mistake of greeting someone too early, because then you have to follow it up with, "How's it going?" or just a prolonged, forced closed-mouth smile. Also, I'm fairly convinced that on one occasion, a guy fell in right behind me as we were both heading to the restroom, but took a detour route to avoid the dreaded "two guys at the urinal silent time."
The mother of all work interaction takes place in the meeting room, which is ground zero for overly polite behavior and workspeak. "Let's take that conversion offline," or "We had some great learnings and takeaways from that campaign," or "What you said really spoke to me." Yes, I have heard that one. Once the meeting is finally over, it's never, "Talk to you later," or "See ya," or "Bye!" Nope, everyone simultaneously says, "Thanks!" I'm not sure who's being thanked or why, but that's how it always goes. One of these times, I'm going to say a loud "You're welcome," just to give the whole thing some closure. 
Just to set the record straight, I do love my workplace. Thanks.

1 comment :

  1. Same rules apply in my work space except for the elevator. We only have two floors, so if you are riding it you had better be pushing a cart or have your leg in a cast.