Tag Archives: workplace

The Shit People Say at Work (or, Flashbacks at my Desk)

Content warning for discussion of flashbacks, child abuse, domestic abuse, and trauma.


Workplace cubicles don’t allow for privacy.

On the small floor where I work, a small second floor perched like a hat on a larger building, the windowed offices ring a large area which has been packed with cubicles. At one end of this rectangle is the access stairwell. At the very far end from that stairwell is my workspace. The cubicles end, and my desk and filing cabinets are in the stub of space just past the fire exit stairwell.

It’s an old building. The heating and cooling are iffy, approximate, and likely controlled by someone in a different time zone. As a result, people tend keep their office doors open to improve air circulation.

This means everyone hears everything. We all know about each other’s kidney stones,  grandchildren, car troubles, and how well we all slept last night.


(Content warning for below the cut)








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Weekly Pet Peeve: Workplace Phone Manners

The Peeved Pet.

How I look when people don’t know how to talk on the phone at work.

I was so focused on writing about Poe today that I nearly forgot the Weekly Pet Peeve. My heart’s not in it 100% today, so I’ve hauled this one out of my drafts and tweaked it a bit:

You know what I hate? When people are making a work-related phone call and don’t bother to introduce themselves properly. If you are calling in an official capacity, you should at the very least state your first and last names, and preferably also what your organisation is.

I’ve had people call and not say their names at all, or just say “This is *Sarah” and then demand client information. And then I have to go through the whole interrogation to find out the relevant identification of Sarah, during which time Sarah is getting more and more irritated. Would this not be easier if she started out with”Hi, this is **Sarah Palin, I’m a social worker at XYZ Child and Family Services and I’m looking for information on Jane Doe who is a permanent ward of my agency”? Yes, it would indeed be easier. So, Sarah, when I point that out to you in the course of our phone conversation, there’s no need to get all hissy. Because the minute you raise your voice to me, I’m hanging up. Continue reading

Pet Peeve: “You look tired!”

Aaaaaand what? You thought pointing that out would be useful or helpful in some way? You thought it would be a good conversation starter? Why not just tell me I look like shit and be done with it?

There’s one person in particular at my workplace who often starts conversations this way. She’s really quite lovely, but I find it frustrating. Today, on her way back to her office from the bathroom, she stopped at my desk to ask concernedly “Do you have a headache today?” My tongue is bleeding a bit from the effort it took not to say “I do now!”

Actually, I don’t have a headache today. But I do have a classic BRF and I’m still trying to keep my head down as the holiday spirit continues. Sure, the trees are coming down and the wrapping paper is all in the recycling bin and the New Year’s hangovers have diminished. But it’s the first day back at work for office drones, and they’re all buzzing around the hive asking each other “Did you have a good holiday?” And when I reply “I survived it,” they laugh merrily and say “Oh, I know what you mean!” and then go on to relate long tales of family dinners, gifts given and received, Polaroid-worthy moments with kids, cute quotes by grandkids, long walks in the snow with bounding Golden Retrievers and so forth. (Although maybe some of these were ads?)

My point is: maybe I am a bit tired. It’s good of you to remark upon it. I’m so glad to know it shows so clearly. And I’m so grateful to have it pointed out.