Thursday, October 11, 2007

...Wait, What?

The things you hear at work. My!

"My software skills just aren't up-to-date," sighed a coworker who had, inexplicably, stopped into Robbie's cube to chat with the two of us today. We'd never really spoken to him before. He works in the IT branch of our section. "I had to learn Access, SQL, all kinds of things. If I hadn't, they might have let me go.

"That's what happened to Tuck," he went on. "He didn't have very good skills, so they found some silly pretext to fire him on. It was really sad. Tuck was the last person who worked here I felt really close to."

Here Robbie and I had to refrain from looking at each other, because Tuck is the guy who became obsessed with our former cube neighbor Audrey, sent her an agonized four-page work email about how she was the first woman he'd ever cared for since his high school girlfriend had cravenly dumped him 30 years before, and made remarks indicating he might be a danger to himself and to others; and in the course of the ensuing formal investigation, went transportational and made death threats against the division head, which led to the long string of bored security guards we had cooling their heels near our work area for several months. This was a pretext?

Our coworker went on at some length. I hate to discourage friendliness, but my mumbled hints at really needing to get back to my desk to check on a project were going unnoticed, and for reasons I won't get into, the only way out of Robbie's cube was over the wall. We murmured politely and looked at the floor and smiled. Awkward!

He told us about where he went to school, his childhood, and where he was born. "I was the result of a broken condom!" he informed us cheerfully.

Robbie and I once again did not look at each other.

Eventually we did escape - or were released, I should say; we didn't go over the wall. I wonder what Robbie will do in a week and a half, when he finds himself suddenly working among lots of normal people. Will he be able to adapt? What if there isn't anyone ridiculous there? He'll be off balance.

What if they have a sensible business strategy there? How will he cope? As I was getting ready to leave, I heard someone in my neighbor's cubicle expressing frustration over a project we've been working on. Management wants immediate action, but have little idea exactly what that action should be. (Of course I'm aware that mindset is not at all unique to my agency, because if it were, there'd be no such thing as Dilbert.)

"Which direction we're going in is going to determine a lot of which direction we go," remarked the woman in my neighbor's cube. I wrote it down right away. You never know when the agency might decide to hold a competition to come up with a new motto.

I'd split the prize money with Robbie.

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At October 11, 2007 11:18 PM, Anonymous b.r. said...



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