Get Out of your Own Way
One of my colleagues in what will be my new office may prove to be a bit of a challenge, I fear.
She's a fresh air fiend, the type of person who in the hippie era would have been running round a commune in a pair of Birkenstock sandals and not much else, as I characterize her. She is very strongly unionized, and runs off to talk to her rep over the smallest thing. She's also almost at retirement age and doesn't deal well with change. Her health isn't that good, and she has a hypochondriac tendency at times.
We had a conversation yesterday when she returned to the office after finishing in the role she's currently covering. I told her I liked it in the office because it was warm and there was daylight. She reckoned that the warmth triggered her asthma, so she opens the windows all the time, I hear. We have aircon downstairs and that's too cold, even for me, as I'm not moving around much, so I mentioned that. She told me she found the air in the closed office too dry for her, which was what caused her to cough and splutter so much. This was the problem in one of my previous roles too, where the aircon sucked all the moisture from the air, evaporated tea and coffee almost as you looked at it and left rubber bands too brittle to use if stored on a desk rather than in a drawer. She's something of a collector of 'useful junk', so I wondered whether she might like to consider buying a desktop humidifer for her own use, as we had one in my previous role which helped put enough moisture back into the air to make it pleasant.
Her reply: 'I can't see them buying one for me at the moment, not with the current situation financially.'
That floored me, as although she might reckon she needed it for her comfort, I've worked in companies where I have bought my own adaptations because the company didn't want to. I have several footstools that dad made me for various desks, a wrist rest and a whole slew of PPE which the male-centric company that required me to have it weren't prepared to order in my size.
She simply couldn't see the logic behind buying something for her own use then just taking it with her when she left. As far as she was concerned, if she needed it for her job, it was the organisation's responsibility to buy it for her.
It's called Getting Out of your Own Way. Some people are better at it than others.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/boy-facepalm-child-youth-666803/ by mintchipdesigns
DWDavisRSL wrote on January 16, 2016, 11:45 AM
You colleague seems to be thoroughly indoctrinated into the union mindset that has caused this country to lose so many jobs to overseas markets.1
LeaPea2417 wrote on January 16, 2016, 12:04 PM
My husband tells me all the time about co workers at his retail job that are just like that.1
AliCanary wrote on January 16, 2016, 12:15 PM
Never heard of warmth triggering asthma--I was under the impression that asthmatics actually benefit from heat applied to the chest to open things up. I think she's just a drama queen who needs attention...1
WordChazer wrote on January 16, 2016, 12:58 PM
And this country too, DWDavisRSL ... We have no manufacturing to speak of in the UK any longer. But we're also crap at service jobs - most youngsters haven't the first CLUE how to give good customer service! At least in the US and Canada Mr C and I have consistently witnessed exemplary customer service ideals.
WordChazer wrote on January 16, 2016, 1:03 PM
I can understand that attitude in retail - you can't start changing your environment so much to suit you there. But in an office-based admin role, the world is your oyster as long as you can do the job. You have your own desk, and with agreement from colleagues, you can have a reasonable working environment too. Half her problem is that she doesn't ask other colleagues what they would prefer, she just does whatever she wants. If she starts doing that when I arrive in the office, I shall find ways of making her life rather unpleasant too. As in doing her job better than she does. That'll put her on the spot. She already has the lowest workload of anyone in the office and that has been noted by the Powers That Be.
WordChazer wrote on January 16, 2016, 1:09 PM
She does seem to have hypochondriac tendences, as I noted in the post. She had a problem a couple of years ago with her wrist - I think she broke it. She had the organization shell out for one of those special trackball mice for her. Everyone else in the office is of the opinion that it's a bit of attention-seeking. My hands are so small, I can't even use it, so when I was covering for her before Christmas, the senior PA sourced a regular mouse for me. No moaning, no drama. She just looked at it and said: 'you won't be able to use THAT. Here, have a normal mouse.' Nuff said. Whenever I show up now, the regular mouse is laid out on her desk for me.
wolfgirl569 wrote on January 16, 2016, 2:46 PM
If you can find a cheap enough one maybe you could buy it.1
WordChazer wrote on January 16, 2016, 3:13 PM
She is likely to drive me that nuts within a short time, I am tempted to. Plus drafts and my joints aren't going to get along, so if she insists on opening the window when it's minus whatever bananas outside, we will come to blows or have to come to an agreement!
crowntower wrote on January 17, 2016, 11:22 PM
I guess you are having a hard time adjusting with her. There are times that there are people who never gets old in realizing to care for others and start working on their feet to ease discomfort in the office and be a helped to others too.
WordChazer wrote on January 22, 2016, 2:49 PM
We're actually getting on very well so far. I can see myself being played as the foil between her requirements and everyone else's preferences if I'm not careful. She can be very egocentric, only thinking of her own preferences rather than the wider harmony in the office. I have worked with similar before, and fortunately my new line manager has given me permission to use my favorite distraction tactic: noise cancelling headphones. Therefore I will be able to concentrate on my job without worrying about what else is going on until someone needs me.