Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weirdness at work

It was a fairly strange week at work. The evacuation of the building has begun, the great migration to other locations  triggered by the Director's decision to not renew the lease on space in buildings in one particular office park. There had been some quiet shuffling as various work groups started packing up their files, emptying their cubicles, and vanishing, but it was subtle. One day there'd be someone in a cubicle; the next day he'd be gone. Those of us whose moves are scheduled for later in the fall did not, however, expect to witness the cubicles themselves being disassembled and hauled out the door. It was an odd feeling trying to work while in the not-too-distant background it sounded like the building was being demolished.

It was a bit intriguing to see just how much crap people had left behind in cubicles, the stuff they didn't feel like moving or actively throwing away: zillions of 3-ring binders, for example, and lots and lots of highlighters. There were several really large bins full of miscellaneous junk that's probably going to vanish into a government warehouse and grow dust for decades, although I suppose it could show up at a GSA surplus sale as "miscellaneous office supplies."

Then, as the week progressed, I got to witness as one of my colleagues, a person who always has had a TMI problem, not only shot herself in the foot, so to speak, but managed to throw our team lead under the bus in the process. It was bizarre. The team lead made it clear this was a favor, please don't mention it to anyone, and what does the co-worker do? Over-shares, as usual, and, even worse, over-shares with the one person who should have been kept in the dark. I found out about it only because my team lead came to me needing to talk to someone because she was so upset -- the tire tracks on her back were still smoking.

I've never understood the compulsion some people have to over-share, to indulge in confessions long before the figurative cattle prod  or bamboo splinters are in the room, but this colleague does it all the time: babbles on and on until a confession has been made to violating some agency convention or OPM rule. Once the transgression is out in the open, of course, what's a manager supposed to do? If it's strictly verbal, you can kind of cringe and pretend you didn't hear it, especially if it's something relatively minor (e.g., taking a longer lunch break than the officially allotted time) and doesn't impact work overall. But when the person is dumb enough to put it into an e-mail? And then copy people higher up the food chain than just our immediate supervisors? Why not just start wearing a tee-shirt with PLEASE FIRE ME printed on it in giant letters?

As for my team lead, my advice to her was to tell the people higher up the food chain that we think a medication our co-worker is currently taking is causing a few odd cognitive side effects. It is a medication that does have confusion and memory loss as documented problems, so maybe they'll buy the notion that the woman was temporarily confused . . . if only because by pretending that's true, they can avoid having to do anything about the team lead bending the rules a tad when she probably shouldn't have.

Oh well. . . fairly soon nothing that happens in the office will be much of an issue for me. I'll have to go back to watching Jerry Springer for entertainment. I've completed most of the paperwork requesting a telework arrangement, have started packing up the apartment, and should be back in Michigan by Halloween. I know there are things I'm going to miss about Atlanta (the ready availability of Mexican Coke, the DeKalb County library system), but being in an actual office at LNA isn't one of them.


  1. So now you are NOT staying another year? Your S.O. should be glad of that. Halloween. Not far away.

    So what retirement activities have you lined up already? You know, when it comes to editing, why you even need to be in an office is beyond me. Have you ever thought of freelancing on Elance?

  2. Good words,
    Been statio KI Sawyer and Dobbins in Atlanta.
    We had an absolute asshole of a control tower chief retire at Dobbins and the next week he was a Cobb County Deputy Sheriff!

    Way down south in the land of cotten, where....


  3. I've never missed a damn thing about Atlanta, but a few of the highlighers would be welcome.

  4. Our last big office move must have generated at least 60 excess binders. I hope someone was able to use them after they were excessed.

    Congrats on getting to go home earlier than planned!

  5. Coworkers with over-sharing problems -- ugh. I just don't get it. They should teach kids in high school about appropriate work behavior, including keeping one's mouth shut at appropriate times.

    Atlanta -- so much good and so much... not so good.

    I miss my grandparents, who lived there.

    I loved the beautiful green trees and the quaint southern houses and beautiful southern mansions.

    Loved the art museums and the music in the park.

    Will never miss the traffic and the racial tension.

    I hope you enjoy your move back to Michigan. :)


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