Today my co-workers and I danced around the empty desk where my troublesome co-worker once sat, singing “Shes gone…shes gone” all the while awkwardly dancing other-worldly jigs to the tune of the Wizard of Oz soundtrack. It was still a bit of a crazy day today, though this day marked the first in which her absence was relished. You see, she didn’t just leave quietly. No no, she had to go and do something stupid. And stupid it was on many levels.
This morning I go to work expecting her not to be there, but dreading that stomach dropping feeling of seeing that weird backside of her head, that so invoked a sort of comical pavlovian effect, which made me almost want to shout “Everyone I’m not glaring at her…can I have your attention please…I would like you all to know that I am not looking into her eyes with embittered sentiments….thank you….and carry on!” Instead she is gone, and I curiously have an extra skip in my step, and a calm in my chest. After about an hour of being at my desk, I hear my co-worker get a call from someone, and it went something like this:
“Hey good morning…yeah…so I heard…WHAT!?!….no…I never did….no that was Luke…no way…” and so it went, you get the jist. When he was done, he looked over his cubicle and began telling me of the allegations that our terse lil co-worker is throwing around. Apparently him and I walked by her cubicle once one day, and in a spout of hatred towards her, he slapped his hands on her desk, and I slapped her across the face. HA! Before I could develop my “guy only” theory about her actions, I then learned that her immediate supervisor would repeatedly stand behind her desk, stomping her feet, and has been known to occassionally flick off our poor co-worker…allegedly. If I spent the rest of my day with my jaw open, it would not bring justice to the awe I felt at that moment.
One thing that this experience has given me, is a social profile for a truly crazy person, into which I’m sure more people down the road of life I’ll live will bring others into. When I was going through this, I found myself at a lack for words to describe her, her actions, and my feelings towards her in this scenario. None of us at the SunTimes have ever heard of anything like this, and boy was it a quick school program for learning how to deal with conflict.
I’m sure the ENTIRE company knows of this…people everywhere are talking to me about it, giving me joking stares and then chuckling. The best one was by this one guy who came up to me during lunch and was like “stop staring at me….noooooo” and pretended to be melting. Everyone seems to be getting a kick out of it.
But let me draw your attention to a detail of this matter that I want everyone to think through. First thing is, we are a society of people…a collective people, a family (as dysfuntional as it may be). Second thing, put yourself in her shoes. I’m going to guess that mentally she may not be the sharpest tool in the shed (and really which one of us is truly sharp all the time….with or without our coffee), and has had situations in other jobs. There is a proverb that says “out of the mouth the heart speaks”, and the things that she just went through here were not environment dependent, but something shes going through at home, with her family, or with a loved one…really who knows. But one thing is for sure, as a society we may be all too quick to poke, prod, and criticize at others expenses. This scenario is a bit different in that, what she did was just plain uncalled for, and outrageous. But I want to remind everyone of whos reading this, of the healing power of friendship. Don’t forget to reach out and do the uncomfortable thing to people, because who knows, this co-worker may not have had many friends, I could see how such a person who keeps everyone at arm lengths away won’t let friends into her life. To some degree this is true of all of us. I guess my challenge is simply this: get to know those around you. Take a break from work and just say hi. God made us to be social. I wonder how much of this could have been prevented if we were just more friendly. We spend most of the total day hours of our lives at work.
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