You may or may not have noticed, but I don’t often mention work around these parts. Honestly, it’s one the Ten Commandments of Puddintopia. Specifically, it’s #7, Thou shalt have no workplace bloggery. It’s on the prohibited list for several reasons, including:
- I just don’t think it’s appropriate,
- I’m certain my employer agrees, and
- In most of the cases I’ve heard of where someone has gone online to talk out of school about work matters, well, they didn’t have to worry about their jobs much after that.
I like my job; I need my job. Hence the rule.
Now, that said, not talking about work doesn’t mean I can’t make a vague reference here and there. Which is exactly what I’m going to do. Right now.
I realized this afternoon that there’s a Medusa in the office.
Obviously, I’m not talking about the Gorgon of Greek mythology that could literally turn one to stone simply by looking her in eyes. But if you’ve ever innocently offered a polite greeting to someone in passing and subsequently been trapped into fifteen minute monologue of the minutia of that person’s life, you know exactly what I mean. Some people lack a basic content filter that allows them to determine whether or not you have either the time or energy to concern yourself with the ins-and-outs of their day. Some people, I can only assume, must think themselves more important or more interesting than you, and thus figure you’re clearly hanging on their every word.
Some people are clearly oblivious.
It happens easily enough. You’re walking down the hallway, en route to answer Nature’s call or perhaps fetch that eighth cup of coffee. The Medusa is walking the opposite way, and since you’re not a completely jerkface, you offer him or her The Upward Head Nod and a curt but pleasant, “How’s it going?”
This is a greeting, not a question. The Medusa is unaware of that fact.
Instantly, the person will completely stop, turn toward you, and begin to describe, in detail, the most thrilling and compelling moments in their recent past. And when I say thrilling and compelling, I mean it in the same way you might use it to describe your retired neighbors’ slideshow chronicling their last antiquing trip through Arkansas.
So, there you are, trapped in the hallway, guilty of nothing more than offering the wrong person a little human decency. Just like that, you’ll be spending the next twenty minutes nodding along, like a bobble head on a taxi’s dashboard, praying for any opportunity to escape hearing about The Medusa’s recent success using the new coversheet on that TPS report. Your only hope is that you have a friend in the building that might notice your plight and make the Fabricated
Crossing The Medusa’s path is highly dangerous, but catastrophe can be avoided. Once this person is identified, maneuvers such as the Fake Text Exchange, Faux Phone Call from Mom, or Sudden Turnabout to Retrieve a Forgotten Item Left Back in Your Office can prevent being drawn into the monologue.
Every work place has The Medusa. Just remember, whatever you do, if you don’t look them in the eye, they can’t turn you to stone.