Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Let's Talk... Stuff Work!

Have you ever wondered why some people have so much to say to one another? They are like magpies, forever yakking away from one conversation to another. And yes, women excel at this. As a fellow female, I always wondered if I was missing something in my DNA. Anyone looking at me, would not miss the fact that I am a woman! I have curves and long flowing hair and as some tell me, I have the looks. So how come I don't have the urge to natter away on anything and everything?

Don't think for a moment, that I don't talk. I do. You will find me in the thick of a good discussion — listening, challenging and putting in my two cents worth. However, this verbal dialogue, in my opinion, is vastly different to the mindless drivel that people around me are prone to engage in.

I mean, who cares that your poor neighbour had to get off his horse, so he could open the gate to lead the horse through, turn back, close the gate, get back on the horse before trotting off! The whole time, the narrator was sitting in her car, filming the whole encounter on her iPhone so she could talk about it. Why would you bother filming it? So she wouldn't forget about it? So she could use it as a visual when repeating the story a million times to others? 

See with things like that, I can't help but clam up. If I have nothing to say, then I say anything. While the group talk about horses, neighbours, family, shopping and everything and anything else that pops up in their heads, I sit there and think, "There must be something that happened yesterday that can be shared with the group!". Every time I go through this mental processes, I came up with a blank. I am not a boring person and I certainly don't live under a rock. So how come I have nothing to share? Surely, they won't find it interesting if I told them about how my neighbour swears till he is blue in the face and then the next minute he is laughing and cracking jokes? Oh! Wait! One of the girls just shared a 'my cousin doesn't  talk he just swears story'. Hm, guess they are interested in things like that.

At work, it is rife more so when the boss is away and I have come across numerous situations. But the one that stands out the most is when I walked into the kitchen one day, closely followed by a couple of my colleagues. From the snippets of conversation, I gathered that they were gossiping about someone. After I filled my glass with water, I left them there and headed back to my desk to tackle my to-do list. Twenty minutes later, my boss sent highly confidential papers to the wrong printer and sent me to retrieve them.

We identified that the printer was on the lower level and the fastest route to it was to cut through the kitchen. The two women were still there softly chatting away animatedly.

It took longer than normal to find  the documents, which just so happened where sent to the stand-alone printer in his office, but I found that out after I spoke to nearly everyone on the floor to see if they had accidentally picked up anything that wasn't theirs. To apologise, His version of apologising was to send me to get freshly brewed coffee from the cafe on the ground floor.

With all the running around I was doing, my feet had begun to hurt. Wearing new four-inch heels made my legs look like heaven, but, they were not ideal for when you are constantly on your feet as I had been for the last hour. Cutting through the kitchen again was the quickest option and my feet thanked me for doing so. Those two were still there — this time talking about the fitness regime some relative was undertaking to win money! Giving them a smile, I walked through towards the elevators, not even bothering to figure out whose relative it was.

Thirty minutes later, armed with two jumbo, brewed to perfection cups of coffee, I headed back to my desk, cutting through the kitchen again. I came to a stop, blurted out without thinking, "You two are still here!"

They just gave me a 'look' though one of them, I thought looked slightly guilty. Not guilty enough to scurry back to their cubicles, apparently, as they still stood in the same spot. I kept going. Irritated boss, precious java in my hands, aching feet and a workload the size of a mountain all beckoned.

After handing over one of the drinks, I finally sank down into my chair. My feet thanked me, the coffee hit all the right spots, however, my mind wasn't on the next task on my list.

I stared blankly at the monitor, my mind with those two in the kitchen. It wasn't fair that some people could get away with doing nothing at work when others worked hard and barely kept on top of things. I cleared the negative thoughts from my mind and got back to my work, though I kept one eye peeled to the cubicles I could see from my office — I wanted to know when those two got back to their work.

Approximately an hour later, they were back. However, did they stop talking? No, in between their work, one would come over and whisper in the other's ears and vice versa. When I noticed that they were no longer doing that, I realised that they were buzzing each other whenever they wanted to share more 'information'. If I had been ignorant of what they had been doing the whole day, I would not have thought much of it as they could have been on hold or troubleshooting client issues.

This chatter came to a stop once their section manager walked in late that afternoon. As he normally does, he asked for the status of the urgent tasks he had wanted to be completed. Their reply shouldn't have surprised me, but it did! The system was slow and locked up (it had but only for five minutes); the phone was ringing non-stop (um yes, that was between the two you); someone entered the data incorrectly, and figuring out what is going on, is taking forever. Upon hearing that, the manager, took one look at the 'problem' and explained the process and what the next steps should be.

Awed and amazed at their half truths, the easy way they 'justified' their lack of respect for their work, management and to be totally honest, to themselves I shook my head at their audacity and got back to what I was doing.

"The temp will be here tomorrow at 8:30 sharp. Can you show her the files and how the system works? I will be in at 10:30 and will take her through the more complex items."

When I heard that, my head shot up. The broad back of the section manager obscured my vision, but I had a good idea he was talking to the two women. I saw the other two women as they walked away with their manager catching only parts of their conversations as they moved out of my hearing range. Words such as 'thank you', 'that will help with the workload' and 'can I also get them to reconcile those three long overdue accounts' made their way to me.


Copyright Tia J. Lee 2015
All Rights Reserved.

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