Thursday, August 25, 2005

Office "Politics"

So I try not to blog about work, because of that whole you can be fired thing. But as I sit here today doing something that while in no way wrong, is still going to piss a LOT of people off, I can't help but ponder the office in general. Because I have been in several offices, and I have gone out for many, many after work drinks with people who told me about their offices, and I have come to the following conclusion:

Offices are where The Crazy meets The Drama and they hole up in a storage closet and have an overabundance of offspring. (The other place The Crazy and The Drama have met and taken up permanent residence is inside Tom Cruise's head. I'm just saying).

And you know exactly who the offspring of The Crazy and The Drama are. There's Inexcusably Paranoid ("They're out to get me"), there's Entirely Too Attached to Something That Was Created With Microsoft Applications ("That is MY spreadsheet"), there's Seriously Has Only the Vaguest Relationship With Reality ("Hi... Do you work here?"), and sometimes even the Actually Criminally Insane (of which my office, in the past, has had several, including Robbed A Bank On Her Lunch Hour and Stabbed Her Lover With A Letter Opener In The Elevator, and LORD people, I wish I was kidding).

Every office has their share of these people. The completely batty- Fill The Commissioners' Coffee Pot In the Toilet Woman, or Pees in His Bosses Plant Every Night After His Boss Goes Home Guy (and the punchline of that story? It was a hanging plant). There are those people who run around like they are hyped up on cocaine, speed, redbull, AND have a caffeine IV in them who act as though every decision carries the weight of life or death on it- "What do you MEAN you haven't read the e-mail yet? I SENT IT LIKE FOUR WHOLE MINUTES AGO AND IF YOU DON'T RESPOND HOW WILL WE KNOW IF YOU CAN MAKE IT TO HAVE CAKE ON TUESDAY?" Honey, listen- you don't need the cake. You need a valium.

And then there are the people that annoy you even though you don't know who they are. That person that NEVER, EVER flushes in the second stall? I mean, seriously people- there are three toilets that flush AUTOMATICALLY, if you can't muster the strength to push the button, for the LOVE of GOD use one of those! Those who wash their dishes in the sink and don't clean up after themselves? The person who nukes the fish in the microwave so the entire office reeks? Or worse- the person who nukes something that smells so amazing that you instantly crave it, and nothing you could possibly buy is good enough, and you start wondering how to cause enough commotion at the other end of the hall for him to get up and investigate so you can sneak into his office and eat his lunch? Or the worst- the one who comes out after one of the above and sprays an air freshener so revolting that it gives you a huge headache and makes you tear up every time you walk in the hall.

And this is the same no matter where you work. I mean, wouldn't you think that if you are what is known as a "Sandwich Artist", and this is your job, you would know the difference between roast beef and pastrami?? And, failing that, that you would at least be able to WRAP a WRAP the right way? Don't think that. Because it isn't true, and you (like me), will probably end up eating a pastrami wrap two seconds away from exploding all over you.

I once worked in an office where the receptionist answered every morning phone call in an overbright, sing songy, high pitched voice by saying "Top of the Mornin to ya!". Every. Goddamn. Phone call. And y'all, SHE WAS TOTALLY NOT IN ANY WAY IRISH. By about the tenth call it took all I had not to walk over to her desk and strangle her to death with the phone cord. At that same office a co-worker and I engaged in cubicle wars. This was accomplished by throwing various things over the cubicle wall and seeing how long it took for the other person to get fed up and retaliate. If it took too long, things escalated quickly. We never took into account the fact that the bosses office was right across the room and he had glass walls. I can only imagine his general confusion and then amusement as things began flying between the cubes- paperclip, paperclip, penny, tape dispenser, staple remover, stapler, Wait, is that a... paperweight? Did you just throw a PAPERWEIGHT into another cube without in ANY WAY looking where you were throwing it?

"Don't worry, boss. I was just returning it. It cracked my skull open last week."

But you get the picture. We spend more of our awake time in the office than pretty much anywhere else. Yet the office is generally not a real fun place to be all the time, and it weighs on people. And all the latent Crazy mixes with all the latent Drama and seriously? Shit just happens. I suppose it kind of gives us something to laugh about.

But Tom Cruise? He has NO excuse.