Thursday, April 17, 2008

Office Space

I have a small office that I use when I come to Philly to work.

The majority of the time, I can sit and do my thing with very little interruptions. The Sales Admin team sits in the cubicles across from me and occasionally they will come in and ask questions or chit chat. We have an unspoken politeness with each other...they will "knock" on my door before they come in and I in turn will "knock" on the side of the cubicle before talking to them. If for some reason they have a question and they see I am on the phone, they will turn around and wait to hear if I am off the phone to come back.

They respect my space...I respect theirs. We didn't have to tell each other the unspoken rules of the office...it's just a matter of being courteous.

Not everyone plays by the same rules though.

There is always that one person within every office that lurks, or lingers or interrupts at the most inopportune times. That guy/gal who does not understand boundaries or office etiquette.

"Dick" is our office etiquette idiot.

Ordinarily I like "Dick". He's an OK guy. Friendly and personable...his customers LOVE him as do his co-workers. He's funny and a charmer, but he has no concept of office boundaries.

He is in a different department, but since our two departments are extremely customer oriented our worlds often collide.

"Dick" sits on the cubicles that are on the opposite side of the sales admin team. He actually sits right outside of my boss' office and when he has a question...it's normally more convenient for him to go over and ask her!

My boss is out of the office for the next few days and when she is gone, I'm kind of the next in line.

Since I was out of the office on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I had a lot to catch up on.

I was reading an e-mail from a client...trying to understand their dilemma...eyes focused on my computer screen when all of a sudden...I feel a presence.

Like someone is watching me.

I look up from my screen and there is "Dick" standing in my doorway.

I have NO idea how long he was standing there...I was a bit too wrapped up in what I was doing.

Smiling at him I say: "Hi Dick...can I help you with something?"

"Uh...yeah...Hi...sorry to bother you, but XYZ customer is on the phone and they are having problems with blah, blah, blah..."

Sometimes "Dick" talks so fast you don't always understand him and he kind of mumbles his words a bit...so I had to ask him to repeat himself.

He does and then adds: "Do you know XYZ customer?"

"Yes...I know them very well - but I am not familiar with that particular issue. I can look into it for you and get back to you in a bit. I am just a bit busy playing catch up since I was out of the office a few days."

"Uh...well...I have them on the phone."

"Oooookaaaaay...can you please take their number and see if you can call them back later?"

"Oh! Oh yeah...good idea...I'll do that!"

Mentally rolling my eyes I looked at him and said: "I promise I will definitely check it out soon though."

He said OK and then...just stood there.

In my doorway.

Staring at me.

While the customer is on the phone...waiting.

"Dick? - is there something else you need help with?"

"Uh...no...that's good...I'll tell the customer that I spoke to you and we'll call them back later."

"Excellent!" I exclaim! I wanted to throw him a cookie and pat his head and say "Good boy!" too, but I didn't think that was appropriate.

Later...at lunch time....I had my laptop pushed off to the side and a big salad in front of me and I'm busy munchin' away...reading over some notes when Dick comes running into my office.

" 'scuse me Shazza? I have this customer on the phone who needs blah, blah, blah.....oh....are you at lunch?"

Hmmmmmmmmmm....gosh...I wonder whatever gave him that idea? Could it have been the big plate of food sitting in front of me that gave that away?

Unfortunately, I don't always hide my expressions well and he must have caught the "You are interrupting my feeding time" look in my eyes and he became very apologetic.

"I'm so sorry...it's not really important...I can catch you later after you are done with your salad...sorry...but this customer just wanted..."

He saw the look again.

"Oh...OK...I'll get the information down and send it to you in an e-mail!"

"That sounds like a great idea "Dick"!", I reply with a mouthful of salad. "Thank you!"

:::sigh:::

Either I scare the hell out of him or he just doesn't get it - I'm not sure.

There was one incident I had with him were we nearly ran into each other going down the hallway and we started to do that little dance of "wait...I'll move over here...no...ok...you're there...so I'll move back on this side...wait...stop...just stand still...ok...go to the left...I'll go to the right...no...you're other left!" I finally grasped him by the shoulders and "moved" him to the opposite side of me. We laughed at the awkwardness of it all and moved along.

Poor guy - I am not sure if he has the same problem with other people in the office, but he and I seemed to be doomed to continue this odd and strange relationship.

2 comments:

Presbyfruit said...

Dick sounds kinda like a dickhead.

dive said...

How lucky you are, Shazza.
ALL of my staff harrass me constantly, even after I stuck a photo of a big red light on the wall with a notice saying "When the light is on, please fuck off!"
At least it actually makes me look forward to the three and a half hour ordeal of the train ride home.
Sigh …