People learn every day, whether they know it or not. You learn while in school, from your parents, your friends, siblings, reading, TV and many other influencers over your life. Yet as I got older, I realized just how much my Mom has taught me. She taught me many things from how to cook, to having compassion, and how to do laundry. Maybe most important she also taught me about respect and manners.
It doesn’t matter what aspect of life we’re talking about, things like respect and manners are important and should be universal, plain old fashioned common sense.
In cube land there are a lot of examples of what should be considered proper manners and showing respect for your coworkers. Unfortunately, there are also countless examples of people doing the exact opposite. Beyond that which I’ve already discussed, one thing that continues to push me to the cubicle equivalent of going postal is interruptions.
Interrupting people is just plain rude. What makes people think the thing they have to say is more important that what I’m currently doing? What makes people walk up to me while I’m clearly on the phone, barge in and start talking to me? I mean seriously, I’m on the phone, I’m talking, I’m at my desk focused on my conversation and the details of which that are plastered on my two computer screens. You walk up tap me on the shoulder and start talking. Really?
If I had a door you would walk up, see the door closed and walk away. You’d likely send me an email telling me you need to talk with me. And, even though I wouldn’t see until I was done with my conversation, the world wouldn’t end. Perhaps it’s the door. Perhaps it’s the title that comes with it. Doesn’t matter really.
Unfortunately, I’m just a cube dweller. I have no fancy title. I have no door. Hell, I don’t even have four walls or a roof. I don’t have the luxury of putting up that hinged do not disturb sign known as a door. So, this leads to a uniquely cubicle behavior. You see, often when I’m on the phone someone will come up to the cube opening and stand there. I’ll fake like I don’t know they are there and continue my conversation. Yet, they won’t go away. They’ll clear their throat. They’ll eventually lightly tap the polyester and fiberboard wall, hoping that I’ll recognize that I should drop the world and focus on them.
But, I won’t. I had a Mom who taught me early on not to interrupt. When I was young and Mom was on the phone I inevitably would run up in my torn jeans and worn out shoes screaming, “Mom, Mom”. I’d pull on her dress, shirt, apron, whatever I could get my hands on. “Mom, MOOOM!” And, that is when it would come:
Right up side the head. And, she yell, “CV! Don’t you see I’m the phone?”
CV (muted) – “yes…”
Mom (not muted) – “Than why on god’s green earth are you interrupting me?”
And, off I’d go. Sulking back to the TV to continue watching Tom and Jerry. Likely forgetting whatever was so urgent.
Yet you, fellow cube dweller, sit there. Ignoring the fact that I’m clearly busy. Or, is it that you think I actually sit in my cube with my cool, look I’m mobile, Bluetooth headset talking to myself? No, you stand there for what feels like 5+ minutes waiting.
Well guess what, I won’t tell the person I’m talking with, “I’m sorry, you aren’t as important as the jackass standing in front of me begging to talk with me; can you hang on a sec?” No, what I’ll do is turn around in mid-conversation, give you a dirty look and a wave of my hand shushing you back to your little polyester cell. And, guess what – Odds are I’m not going to call you when I’m done. You know why? Because you pissed me off and like Mom knew, whatever it was that you felt was so important, likely wasn’t and will go away.
I only have one question for you rude people, what was it like not having a Mom?
For my fellow cube dwellers with manners – How do you handle interruptions?