Did you ever have a teacher in grammar school remind you to use your “inside voice”? No, this was not some new age concept about dealing with your inner self but merely a reminder that if you are inside there is no reason to shout at volume 11 to the person sitting next to you. One of my teachers even went as far as to label it the “12 inch voice” or the volume you would use to speak to someone who is just 12 inches away from you.
I’m guess that there are a lot of people who work in my office who are not familiar with this concept. Perhaps because they simply forgot everything that happened to them in grammar school because they graduated the same year as Lincoln or maybe they repressed those memories because something horrible happened to them one day on the jungle gym. Whatever the reason may be these co-workers of mine need to be reminded that if you are in your cubicle, talking to another person in the same cubicle, that there is no reason that I should be able to hear every word you are saying when I sit 3 cubicles over.
And while listening into other peoples conversations is generally a guilty pleasure of mine, it does not mean that I find the following topics interesting enough that I want to pause what I am working on and takes notes:
- Your children and how horrible/adorable/smart/backstabbing they are
- Any medical issues you are having (the more detailed the conversation the worse it generally is)
- Spouse problems that have the dramatic power of a Charmin commercial
- A 15 minute conversation about what you brought for lunch and how long is will take to heat up
- A recap of what happened on “Dancing with the Stars”
If you want to share with the world you feeling about another co-worker or how you think the Fun Committee (which I am a proud member of) could be doing better, by all means, shout it from on high* and let me hate you just a bit more.
Otherwise please use your inside voices because what you have to say is only interesting to you.
~The Office Scribe
* It would be much appreciated if you could duplicate that scene from Dead Poet's Society and stand on your desk and shout (Walt Whitman quote is optional)
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