The office I work in is designed in what is called a “cubicle farm”. Five foot tall portable walls surround everyone’s desks to give you the illusion of privacy. In fact the walls do virtually nothing to block sound and you end up being able to hear almost every word everyone else says within about a 30 yard radius. All this means it is hard to concentrate on your work and that you hear a lot of personal information you didn’t want to. The other day it meant getting to hear a manager have a melt down over the phone. To say she got a “little” loud is like saying yogurt is a “little” disgusting. This isn’t an exact transcript but you get the idea. The names have been changed to protect the innocent:
Martha: No Linda . . . Linda, no . . . no, no, no . . . I’m telling you Linda . . . no, you set it up correctly. SHE did it wrong. SHERRY did it wrong! You did it correctly. Don’t . . . DON’T follow what SHERRY did! DON’T. SHE SET IT UP WRONG! I don’t know . . . I’ve told her over and over . . . NO! You did it right. YOU DID IT RIGHT! YOU DID IT RIGHT! SHE was wrong. I’ve told her . . . yes, you are set up correctly. Don’t let anyone . . . ANYONE . . . set it up like SHERRY. SHE DID IT WRONG! Linda, I’m telling you, you did it right, SHERRY did it wrong. Listen to me . . . LISTEN TO ME . . . you have it right, don’t follow SHERRY. SHE DID IT WRONG!
This went on for an uncomfortably long time. Of course the rest of the afternoon my co-workers and I talked like this to each other and decided wouldn’t it be nice to turn off the “business politeness” filter every now and then:
Me: You did what? That is NOT what I told you to do in my email. I told you to log off first. A monkey could follow that instruction. Should we replace you with a monkey? I AM SICK of you people not being able to read a SIMPLE instruction! I swear I am going to come to your office and find you so I can PLUCK out your EYEBALLS one at a time. Maybe when you read my instructions in BRAILLE you’ll FOLLOW THEM!
Welcome to the new “business casual speak”. Do it right or suffer the consequences.