Does it improve upon the silence?

Can I rant a little about work? This will likely end up to be mean-spirited, so be warned.

I’m generally a well-behaved person; not prone to complaining too much, but this has been bottled up most of the week and Deb, my best friend at work, is on vacation. I’ve been stewing without her ear to bend. I’ll use you guys as my sounding-board instead.

By the way, do you know Happy Bunny? I have a little collection spread around my cubicle at work. Deb thinks this is subversive on my part, but at least in my passive-aggressive way I’m letting my feelings be known to many of the people I work with. Most of them drive me nuts.

95% of the people I work with are women; that’s the first problem. Second of all, the vast majority of them seem to forever be going through menopause so my workplace is awash in unhappy hormones. Third of all, and worst; they all talk too damn much!

Another great quote I’ve recently added to my collection is this:

“Before you speak, ask yourself: is it kind, is it true, is it necessary, does it improve upon the silence?” – Shirdi Sai Baba

I’m going against that mantra now, but I’m fed up. I need quiet to work, to be productive. I come to work to work, not to socialize or as a replacement for a therapy session. Why is it any different for the people I work with? Deb and I go out to lunch or into her office with the door closed when we need to talk about personal things. Never mind that I don’t want the whole office to hear my personal business, but I respect them enough not to subject them to it! Why can’t others be as courteous?

Do I need to hear every detail of your most recent phone coversation with your out-of-state daughter, repeated ad infinitum for every one of your twelve friends who stop by your cubicle throughout the day? Can’t you at least change the story a little bit, for my benefit; your captive audience in the adjoining cubicle? Must I overhear every demeaning conversation you have with your husband? Do I need to know exactly and every single thing you plan to do this weekend? Do I need to listen to you alternate between cursing and crying every single day? Isn’t there some medicine you could take for that?

Some day, if I prove myself incompetent enough (I work for the government, after all) I might get promoted and have an office of my own, instead of a cubicle amidst this sea of moody women. Then I’ll be able to close the door on it all. Instead I’m forced to listen to this drather, day in and day out.

End of rant. Pretty pics and gentle-mannered nature observations to resume tomorrow. 😉

16 thoughts on “Does it improve upon the silence?”

  1. First of all, I agree that unfortunately, when you gather a lot of women together it can be ugly. Why are we like that as a group????
    Second, I LOVE Happy Bunny. That bunny says many of the things I would like to say.

  2. Oh, I can so relate! I have my own office, which I’m very grateful for, but I’m astounded at the level of chit-chat that goes on in the cube farm across the hall. Not to mention what happens IN the hall. Sometimes right outside my door! OMG! I so don’t need to hear it.


    They’re sanity-savers.

  3. I guess they have never made aquaintence with axiom,’Not every thought has to be exppressed’.
    Used to work with a lot of women too. We are fine in ones or twos. But, a group. Toxic.

  4. Great rant! When I retired from my job at a big California university, my supervisor asked if I would like a Farewell Party. I said, “Do you know me? I don’t want to spend any more time with these people than I absolutely have to. I have nothing to say to them… never did… never will.” It’s a shame we spend almost all of our awake time with people we never chose. I agree with bunnygirl– earplugs.

  5. As a guy and member of the private sector, clearly, I am unqualified to say anything about your situation. I offer this, from a university situation, but maybe it applies to your workplace as well: “They fight so hard because the stakes are so low.”

  6. I had to laugh out loud at your comment that the 95% female population in your office was the first problem! Women are catty and I have never really had many women friends 🙂

    Oh how I love not having to go to the office everyday, I had forgotten how spoiled I am……

  7. Susan: Got me why we’re that way. Happy Bunny is very mean sometimes, but aren’t we all? 😉

    Bunnygirl: The chit-chat in the cube farm is very loud! I sit right outside the never-closed-door of someone with an office. I Overhear waaay to many of her phone conversations. It’s really very irritating. Instead of ear plugs I use my iPod, but still have to answer the phone so I can’t turn it up loud enough to drown them all out.

    Silverlight: You’re so right! Fine in ones and twos, but toxic in a group. My husband tries to tell me that the guys at his job are just as bad as we women, but I don’t believe it.

    Robin Andrea: So nice of you to stop by during your hiatus from blogging! Sorry it had to be on a day that I was ranting.

    I was going to make a comparison between my day job and teaching part-time at the college as an adjunct. I love that because I’m only there at night and never see anyone but my students! No politics! No back-stabbing! I’m out of the loop! (I’ll also never get a tenure-track position, but…)

    You would think that people that work together should share similar opinions or life experiences by nature of having the same job, but that isn’t the case for me.

    Mojoman: I feel so badly for the few men that work with us! A man on the outside might think it a great job to be surrounded by so many women, but I’m certain they know otherwise.

    Michelle: I always had more male friends than female friends, but blamed it on being something of a tomboy and having grown up in a household of all men. I have trouble with the *make nice* behaviors that women seem to expect of one another. I have a few very close girl friends and feel lucky to have found some sort of kinship with them. I still don’t *make nice* – just ask Linda.

  8. Believe your husband. I’ve spent much of the past thirty years working at jobs where I was the only woman – usually surrounded by a gang of young guys who were ten or twenty years younger than me. The talk isn’t the same as the catty-chatty women, but it can be equally inane and annoying. Luckily, I’m very good at tuning people right out (probably helps that my hearing isn’t that great), but earplugs or your iPod seem like good strategies. I’m just very glad I don’t have to contend with that kind of situation these days. With age, I’ve become a lot crustier and less tolerant than I used to be and doubt that I could refrain from telling people to take their irritating conversations elsewhere. I’m sure I’d soon be known as the “old curmudgeon” around the office. (-:

  9. I had a friend at work that would wear earplugs and he couldn’t hear a thing – when I wanted him I would have to tap him on the shoulder. I can relate – I love peace and quiet at work. I don’t know why people can’t just shut the heck up once in a while. Can you imagine the noise level in their homes? Yackity yackity yack.

  10. Bev: The stories my husband tells make the men at his job sound very immature, but not mean the way women can be. I find myself getting crankier as I get older too. Certain people still won’t leave me alone though, no matter how cranky I am!

    Naturewoman: Yackity yack is right! I think it would be a problem to have to tap your coworkers on the shoulder to talk to them, wouldn’t it? People shouldn’t have to resort to that type of thing, but I guess we have to find a way to deal with all the background noise.

  11. Happily for me, I work in an environment of mainly men — and enough women to enjoy one another’s company, but not get in each other’s face. I’ve always got along better with men than women; men are generally more black-and-white about things, and less “ulterior motive” (I think). I’ve worked in an all-female environment (in a bank). It was so catty and back-stabbing; I was miserable.

  12. Glad you’ve managed to find a *mix* that works for you!

    Individual personalities certainly play a part, but chances are with too many women together there are bound to be some problems, sooner or later I expect.

  13. you must work where i work. this story sounds strangley familiar. can’t wait to come back. ha ha.

  14. Wow, after what I experienced 1st hand today, i know i’m glad to be out of the office. i recognize anonymous also!

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