Added: Wed. Feb 23, 2011 8:11pm
Posted in: Writing
Some people say that office culture is important, and I tend to agree. I didn’t have a pleasant one in my last job (notice I say “last” job – I got the hell out of there). I was a temporary hire who was there to do a specific job so I didn’t have the usual nice, spacious office that I am accustomed to; I was relegated to a cubicle. Call me a snob if you want to, but facts are facts. Once you’ve gone spacious, you never want to go back to cubicle-dwelling.
That job was one big stress monkey. When a call came in on my office phone (excuse me, my cubicle phone), the first thing the person on the other end would say when I answered was, “I can’t hear you.” The reason for that was because I had my head in my desk drawer or I had crawled under my desk. I had to do this because if I spoke loudly enough to be heard, I was “bothering” my coworkers and they let me know that by giving out deep sighs that came across as, “I AM IRRITATED.” I got the message. My other alternative, when my cell phone rang, (and I always had it on vibrate), was to grab it and run about 40 feet to an outside hall. This always resulted in the person on the other end asking, “Why are you panting – are you out of breath?” And, this one – “why did it take you so long to answer?”
Another crappy thing about that job was that I was not allowed to wear perfume, or deodorant or soap with a scent, because one of my cubicle-mates had allergies. Being the hygienically-conscious person that I am, but also wanting to be somewhat considerate, I gave up perfume but used my favorite scented soap when I took my shower before coming to work, and I continued to wear scented deodorant. This resulted in the allergy-challenged person sniffing around and asking, “What is that scent? Are you wearing perfume?” I was sorely tempted to lay off the soap and deodorant for about a week (during the hottest part of the summer) and see how Little Missy With Allergies liked that.
Another problem I had was that everybody but me was weird. I am always Miss Friendly at work, but those people were so strange that I could not find anything in common with them so we could “connect.” Even staff meetings were weird – one of my cubicle-mates had several small, plastic cars that I soon learned we were supposed to “play” with during the meeting. I used that opportunity to release some of my pent-up aggression – I kept slamming my little car into everybody else’s, but I could never figure out if participating (even in a violent manner) made me a team player, or not.
I lasted 7 months before I jumped ship. I swam to shore, kissed the ground, and never looked back. Some jobs are like that.
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