If you’ve ever worked in an office environment or currently work in one now, by now you’ve probably realized that your coworkers can say and do some pretty annoying things. For example, there’s the guy that will walk aaaaaallll the way down the hall to your desk, passed the mailbox/mail room, just to ask you to put something in the mail for him. There’s also the director/supervisor that will send you a 2 paged email that pretty much asks you to email the exact same information to someone else. These random acts of stupidity may not make sense to a normal person outside of the realm of 9-5, but in an office, this is ordinary behavior. There are some office workers that find offense to these acts, particularly workers that consider themselves to be low on the totem pole – aka office secretaries, interns, and/or general service officers.
Popular to contrary belief though, these behaviors aren’t what drive coworkers batty. What will drive you to curse, drink, quit or get fired because of instinctual reactions are the common questions associates ask their colleagues on a daily basis. Let’s go over a few, shall we?
Before we begin, it should be pointed out that every one of these questions can be answered with a simple, “Do you care?” however we’ll try to scratch a little deeper than the surface.
Most weeks in the office begin with two questions that’ll make you want to drive a Number 2 pencil either in your own skull or the skull of the person that asks: “Am I disturbing you?” or “Are you busy?”
If it’s any time before 9am or after 2pm, then YES you are disturbing me. Most employees don’t care about life before 9am because they aren’t fully awake. It takes more concentration to motivate your body to operate on a corporate American schedule than one could possibly imagine. Don’t ask anyone if you are disturbing them before 9am. Instead, ask that question once they’ve finished their third cup of joe and have taken at least two a.m. dumps. By then the caffeine would have kicked in and their stomachs would have settled from all the shit bottled up inside them from the richness of the coffee’s creamer. Throw caution to asking anyone if you are disturbing them [any time] in the afternoon. Chances are they are full from lunch and the only thing they want to work on is concocting a way to catch some zzz’s on company time without you interrupting their train of mischievous thought. On that note, don’t even waste your time bothering to ask anyone at the office if they are busy. This, alone, is a dumb question. The conversation could go something like this:
THEM: “Are you busy?”
YOU: “Where am I? I’m at work. And what do I do at work? I work. So if I’m working, then I’m what? I’m busy. Also, if I’m busy then you are disturbing me.”
Another question that’s easy to make someone’s skin crawl is “Do you want to meet?”
Uh, no! Who in the hell actually wants to take time out of their busy schedule to meet about anything that doesn’t involve cake or wine? Most meetings begin with a bunch of random, boring, useless small talk. The small talk usually begins with an interrogation of the activities or events of your weekend. First and foremost, your colleagues couldn’t care less about what you’ve done over the weekend. If anyone asks you about your weekend in fact, they are probably fishing for information or confirmation that you are not as perfect as you paint yourself to be from 9-5. The best answer to the weekend question is “Nothing,” “No more or less than you,” or “Mind your fukkin’ business.” If you go with the latter, I promise you’ll never be faced with this question again.
The best answer to the question, “Do you want to meet?” is “No. Not really. Not now. Not ever.” However no one in the working world has the balls to say no. Honestly I believe saying “no” is quite equivalent to saying, “I quit” or “I want you to fire me for not being a team player.” Having said this, we as a working society almost always answer this question with a plastic “yes,” while thinking to ourselves, “of course I’d like to stop what I’m doing to talk to you about something I’m not interested in. Need you ask?”
Oh gosh, I wish I could spell the look on my face right now!
Other questions that will annoy the hell out of you:
Did you listen to WTLK, the all talk radio station, this morning? – Sure. Because the one thing I want to do is listen to more strangers talk to me about shit I don’t know about, care about or understand BEFORE I endure the same torture in our morning staff meeting.
What do you think? – The most appropriate answer I can come up with is “I think I don’t care?” Since that answer is just about guaranteed to reduce your popularity credit, you can never go wrong with answering: “C” (C was always the right multiple choice answer in grade school) or “I agree with what he/she [the last person who spoke] said.”
When referring to one’s lunch: Ooh, what’s that? – It’s mine. That’s what it is.
Can I ask you a question? – You just did.
Can you change the fax or copier toner? – I could in my previous life as a flunky.
Knowing that every office has a stupid question staple, it really serves no purpose to get angry. You can either answer all questions truthfully and run the risk of getting fired, give up the politically correct office answer(s) or answer all questions with your facial expressions (otherwise known as a NONversation, a conversation with no words). How you deal with the stupid/annoying questions issue is up to you. But choose wisely and always keep in mind that there is no escaping the annoyances of office inquiries. Does this make sense? Oh snap. That’s another office question!
And on that note, I’m out!
Quote of the Week: “There are no stupid questions. Only stupid people that ask stupid questions.”