It seems as if half of my day at work is consumed with avoiding people. I just want to be able to go from Point A to Point B and not have to stop for meaningless chit chat. We are all plagued with the empty “Hi! How are you?” when we pass someone we know at the office. The brief conversations are almost rhetorical. No one ever answers honestly and no one cares if you are in a bad mood or if something is wrong. All people want to see is a smile and hear that you are doing well. “Actually, bitch, I am glad you asked. You won’t believe what happened…so-and-so died… so-and-so dumped me… I’ve gained weight… I hate my job… ” And the list could go on and on, right? As you start to tell them the truth (whatever it may be in your situation) you can see the fear in their eyes and tell they are sorry they asked. I honestly don’t care enough to even ask these questions; I am either in your life and we communicate outside of work and I know or I follow you in some form of social media so I know. If you do not fall into one of those buckets, enough with the chit chat. It’s just wasted time, breath, and energy on hollow conversation. Who cares?
I help us ALL out by walking around with my earbuds.
But just because my earbuds are in that does not mean I am listening to anything. I could be faking it just to avoid having to talk to you (and that is the case a lot of the time). I have even been known to fake swipe my screen just so I can look down and not have to look at you. Eye contact is a death sentence when you are on the go. I may have met you once. Last year. And now you wanna stop in the food court and smile and hug and ask me how I am? For what? MOVE ALONG. BYE.
Furthermore, it chaps my ass when people stand up at their cubes and start calling my name out when they see I have earbuds in. Even if I hear them, I typically pretend I don’t. It’s rude. You see I am either on a call or listening to something while trying to do *my* job. Send me an email or an IM. Walk over to my desk. Do something OTHER than just stand, glare, sulk, and beg for my attention from yards away at another cubicle. I can’t count how many times I have casually removed my earbuds, looked around and said, “Is someone calling for me? … Oh! I am so sorry, I had my earbuds in, I thought you saw. I wasn’t simply ignoring you.” Keyword: simply. Because once I do know they are calling me, I am ignoring them because they are ignoring my desire for privacy.
And please do not try and have a conversation with me. If I have to remove my earbuds more than three times in a 5 minute window because you keep talking to me, then please find someone else to bore. I am working. I am in my own zone. I have things to do that do not include talking to you about your lunch, what you watched on TV last night, or how bad your commute was this morning. Leave me be. Each time I have to remove my earbuds to listen to you I know my facial expression and body language are telling you to back off or that I am totally not interested. My mission at work: get my shit done so I can feel accomplished when I go home. You talking to me incessantly impedes my ability to complete my job. TOODLES.
And it’s not like I always have earbuds on when I am at my desk working. Some tasks are better executed with less interruptions from the lemmings and so that is when I try to block out my surroundings. I almost *always* wear my earbuds when I am going: to the bathroom, the the food court, to get a coffee, for a brief walk for exercise, to another work location, etc. I am great at time management when it comes to work. I plan to leave my desk at a certain time and don’t factor in talking to random people. I don’t come to work for you. I come to work for me and that paycheck. TTFN. Buh-bye. See ya later.