Monday, July 11, 2011

Cubicle Condundrums: An Etiquette Guide

I didn't post on Friday, though if I am being honest, you may not have noticed. And that's okay.

Honestly, after a week of barely escaping a major downsizing with my job, getting a new boss, being cordially invited to the office where all my new co-workers go and barely escaping with my telecommuting status intact...I just didn't have it in me. To be 100% honest, the posts I put up last week happened to be ones I already had in draft.

My energy was sapped.

I am grateful for my job, grateful for some new opportunities, but still in a bit of mourning for the co-workers who didn't get so lucky. Good people in bad circumstances.

I was able to get a little tension out by having some fun on Twitter. Because, really, if you can't have fun there, you can't have fun anywhere.

It took very little time for me to remember why I hated having to work in an office. As I began to complain about overhearing very personal things about someone's pregnancy and weekend plans, I must have hit a nerve because Twitter blew up with people sharing their cubicle nightmares.

I submit a few to you:

E.T. No Phone Home

Courtesy of The Random Blogette, who experienced a co-worker who only used speaker phone for all their calls, I submit to you rule #1: thou shalt not use the phone above a reasonable volume. Also? Don't use said phone for personal things.

We almost all have cell phones now, take a five-minute walk to a private area, outside, or in your car to do your personal business.

When I was in the office, there was a chick we referred to as "Rectal Chick" because we heard such horrific details about various medical procedures she was undergoing. When she got pregnant, all bets were off. I think I may have known before her husband did. She proceeded to do nurseline calls discussing very unpleasant symptoms, interviewed daycares (when she was approximately 10 weeks pregnant) and tell every client how tired she was all the time.

While I worked at the office I planned a wedding and bought a house, and I can count on one hand the number of times I EVER spoke about those things on the phone in the office. Much less something as personal as my lady business.

No Hour is Happy Outside of a Bathroom

Courtesy of Terri at Creative Pathways, rule #2: thou shalt not hold cocktail hour in your cube.

When I was in the office, I had the grave misfortune of having a cubicle right by the bathroom hallway. Not wanting to be so tacky as to hold a conversation in the bathroom itself (vulgar, that), ladies would convene and lean AGAINST my cubicle walls and continue to host "personal" conversations. That word is in quotes for a reason.

What makes otherwise rational adults think 4-foot-carpeted grey walls insulate people from your very private thoughts? I do not wish to know your son has problems with coke and is marrying a common street whore, I actually have work to do!

I went so far as to put up a sign saying "Working Area: Quiet Please" and someone had the unmitigated gall to lean AGAINST the sign so long it fell off, while regaling coworkers with tales of her messy divorce.

Groom in the Proper Room

Also courtesy of the Random Blogette, who desperately needs a telecommuting situation, rule #3: bathroom behaviors are for that room and that room only. I've experienced the gamut of this behavior, including putting on perfume, deodorant, letting one loose, loudly blowing noses...but the worst ever was at one of my first jobs when someone would constantly cut their nails. I pray to everything holy it was their fingernails, but the CLIP sound haunts me to this day. Honestly? I'm a bathroom habit prude. I do not put makeup on in public, I do not allow Scott to cut his toenails in front of me, and I close the bathroom door whenever humanly possible (I do have a toddler now, so those boundaries get pushed). Although you are there for half your day and it may feel like it, your cubicle is not your house. And it certainly is not your bathroom.

I'm sure there are a million more, so while I try to get adjusted to a new life and count my blessings, please share with me what your office no-nos are.


The Woven Moments said...

Amen to the personal conversations in the workplace!

I have a serial speaker-phone-user in my project room. There will be 6 people in the room and she'll make a direct call AND USE THE SPEAKER.

Kills me.

I've also worked with oversharers. I'm all for a personal anecdote or a funny story about your weekend...but know when to read a room. Can I get an amen?

Kristy said...

I refuse to think of going back to work. I will have to do this in a few weeks. Until then, I will pretend that my life is my own, and I will flit around blogosphere without a care in the world.

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

There is a lady in my office and she's literally 20 feet away from me...I can hear her talking to me from my desk in a normal tone...yet she calls me when she has a question. Take 2 seconds to walk your lazy ass over here, bitch!!

The Random Blogette said...

Yes, I do desperately need a telecommuting situation stat! I am one of the lucky few that actually had an office with a door, so I can close it but the walls are still so thin. Also my supervisor wanted my office next to his so he could just yell things at me instead of getting up. I don't like to yell through the office so I am constantly getting up and walking into his office. He wants to install one of those teller windows between our offices so he can just open it whenever he needs something. No joke. He actually said that to me. I told him I would quit if he ever did it. He thought I was joking.

Kat said...

The Oversharer is the one who kills me and I work in an office full of them! The things people will stop by my desk to share are extremely bizarre on a good day. Someday (when I have a new job), there will be a blog series dedicated to the most bizarre tales I've managed to gather over the past two years...

Make sure to take some time for yourself this week to relax, lady! After something so horrifyingly stressful as escaping the axe but losing co-workers, you really, REALLY deserve it. Will be sending good vibes your way.,

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

Hate cube farms. Just hate them. I feel like they are degrading to adults.

We had a guy who was caught changing his clothes in the his cube. His open cube. My co-worker who walked in on him was horrified.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Oh, how these cracked me up!

Believe it or not, I've never worked in an office so I can't feel your pain personally. But I did once see a man cutting his toenails on a NYC subway so I did shudder when reading the word "CLIP." Ugh. :)

Mimi said...

So while I can't take the personal conversations at an insane level I thinks some level of white noise is necessary for sanity. My last job, the office was so out of touch with one another that no one one. All you could hear day in and day out were the patter of keyboard strokes and the occasional client call. I died a slow death in there. I quit I couldn't take it anymore.

Missy said...

Those are some good rules! It's been a long time since I've been in an office. Since my "office" is at home, maybe I would say "don't hold meetings in the bathroom" since all of my children think my trips to the bathroom means it's their time to talk to me about something very important!

Mama Spaghetti said...

Sorry things have been so rough. My husband is facing a similar situation, and all the waiting and not knowing what's going to happen is killing me!

And GROSS to the nail clipping. Seriously, who does that?