I’ve just about hit the two year anniversary of being a full time employee, fresh out of college, and I’ve observed many things about office protocol during these past couple years.
Let me start off by saying that sitting at the receptionist desk (even when you’re not the receptionist), is a GREAT way to be initiated into a new office culture. From there, you can observe body language, ‘overhear’ conversations (hey, if they didn’t want me to hear, wouldn’t they close their door?!?), and just gain a basic understanding of the normal goings on in the building. This is very important and crucial for launching a successful career.
However, my presence there also put many people in awkward situations. People in the offices close to my desk HAD to pass by to get to the restroom. But should they say hi every time they pass by? Should they ignore me? Should they tap my desk in acknowledgement of my presence? And what happens if they have to use the restroom twice in one hour? How embarrassing!! Should they make up an excuse for why they’re walking by again? People should not have to suffer in silence, pondering these questions in their offices. They should be able to walk freely about without someone observing there every move.
For this reason, I was upgraded to a cubicle about six months ago. But suddenly the tables have turned. Let me explain…
Now my cubicle is right across the hall from the main kitchen on our floor. The kitchen also serves as the copy/printer/fax room, so it sees a lot of traffic on any given day. I’ve realized there is an assumption among employees that if you sit near this room, you must be the keeper of all things contained in the room.
No, sir, I do not know if there are any more forks, or if they are being ordered soon. No, ma’am, I do not know if we have any more printer paper. I do not know how to make double sided copies, or send a fax. I do not know if we have more Coke, or who left smelly food in the fridge. And I also don’t know why the toaster oven was removed, or who nearly burned down the kitchen using it.
And just in case you were about to ask, I don’t know anything about the CD cabinets behind the kitchen. I knew you were about to ask.
Actually…the truth is…I DO know all the answers to those questions. And since I’m a sucker, I will answer all of them, and assist you in any way I can. With a smile on my face.
I’m getting a curtain to put on my cubicle door.