Hey, all; Happy and Healthy Friday –
Our offices have thin walls. I’ve known about this for as long as we’ve been in our building, but it’s not something I ever gave much thought to. Due to a weird combination of seniority, ease of access, and just plain dumb luck, my office is situated in a corner that doesn’t see much use. On one side of me, there’s our Admin. supervisor, who has never been too loud, and on the other there’s an empty office that usually only sees use in rare cases; such as training new employees, or temps. On the whole, it’s been a much quieter, more personal workspace for me in the six years we’ve been at our current spot than one’s I’ve been at in years previous, and that’s why I never really gave it much thought.
Until two weeks ago, that is.
Two weeks ago, we got a new hire as part of the Admin. team. His job is to answer phones, transfer clients to myself or others, and to take messages. One of the things not entailed in his job description is that he sing, and do so loudly and high-pitched, but he does it anyway. He also makes personal calls when he’s supposed to be on phones, and again, he does so in what many would not consider to be an “inside voice.”
Now, I want to make something perfectly clear. Despite everything, I like this guy. He’s nice, jovial, and always apologizes whenever he has to send yet another call to me when he knows I’m swamped. Also, I refuse to be that employee; you know the one: the complainer, the one who, out of everyone else in the workspace, seems to feel that the area exists for them and them alone to work, and everyone else is just there to ruin their productivity. I’ve had to work with that employee; hell, I even had to discipline them for being that employee. So, I know what I would sound like if I started in on him. Not to mention, as part of the Admin. team, he’s not even under my purview and, again, overstepping one’s supervisory boundaries is the very essence of being that employee.
And so, I continue to listen. Listen through my thin walls to the singing, the loud talking, and the even more singing. I listen and I continue to think about how, in the grand scheme of things that we deal with on a daily basis, that this is all so minor. And that, beyond even just having my own office, I was spoiled for so many years basically having my own section of our suite; and that, really I just need to check my privilege, turn up my headset and shut up.
And then the singing starts again, and I think that, when the “workplace incident” finally occurs, I hope to be able to limit the damage.
As ever, have a safe and productive rest of the day, safe trip home, if out, and a great weekend. And remember, good walls make for good neighbors.