A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to a new co-worker. We would not be working in the same department, but we would be passing each other in the hall every now and again. We briefly exchanged pleasantries and off they went.
Never to be seen again.
At first, I thought that maybe they were completing some training off site, but after a week, I realized that something was off. It did not occupy my thoughts, though. It had no influence on me. I knew that person for less than a minute.
And then I overheard a conversation. (It just hit me that I wrote yesterday about overhearing stuff that was not meant for my ears, too. I would like to assure you that I am not a creep. People just do not seem to care where they speak, or how loudly they do it.)
A few people were talking about that now-ex co-worker. It peaked my interest. I am not used to witnessing people actually getting hired, and then getting fired the same day. It was interesting for me to find out what terrible thing they did that warranted such a swift firing.
Turns out that they were not fired. They actually left after their first day, and ran, knowing they would not want to return there ever again. That made me uneasy. Sure, that was a different department, but could it mean that I should be on the lookout for some shady stuff coming out?
My fear was soon neutralized.
That person left after just one day because of her OCD. Now I was even more intrigued.
It turns out that the department that person was to work with is rather messy. And they were told that they could NOT touch (i.e. organize) certain things.
I was stunned. I have never witness such a thing happen (people quitting due to their OCD). There have been plenty of times throughout the years when I would enter a department, and see STACKS (or boxes) of papers and files no one seemed to care about. No one knew what they were. No one used them. In the end, they would bother me, too, and I would do away with them as soon as I could. Usually, people were very pleased with that, and tried to direct me towards more… organizing (i.e. cleaning). In this instance, however, they were told to stay away. That was flabbergasting to me. (However, I do think it was said innocently and in hopes to not get the new person overwhelmed, because they actually started cleaning things out once that conversation was finished.)
This whole thing was bizarre.
I could not believe someone quit after 1 day because of the mess in the office.
I could not believe someone told them NOT to organize things.
But what was the worst of all,
was their reaction to it all.
At first, it was two people talking. Then, every time someone walked by, they would get stopped with: “Hey, did you hear…”
Are you mortified yet?
Well, I have to add that not only were they talking about that person, they were also LAUGHING at them. For being so silly. For complaining about such an idiotic thing.
The ex-co-worker was treated like a circus freak.
That whole thing stunned me. It mortified me. I was shocked that people can be so ignorant and calloused. So what did I do? Nothing. My day went on as if nothing happened. But that hallway conversation gnawed at me for a while. It really was not right. And I pride myself on standing up for what is right. This time I did nothing, though.
At first, I just did not think it was my place to insert myself into a conversation I was not a part of (rude). After a while, I realized that I acted selfishly by not acting. That person was gone, never to return again, but I was here. Here to stay. I did not want to become “the freak”. It worried me that that was a bit cowardly of me, but then I realized it was survival of the fittest. Nothing was going to change for the ex-co-worker. They would not be asked to come back. They would not want to come back. Yet I had to stay. I assuaged my guilt feelings by telling myself that me stepping up and putting my 2 cents in it would not make a difference.
Was I wrong?
What would you do?
Have you witnessed any similarly inappropriate conversations at work?
Is there any “condition” (for a lack of a better word) that you struggle with at work? Are others aware of it? If so, then, how do they react? If not, then why not?
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