Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Death, Taxes, and Jackie

They say there are a few things you can't escape, like death and taxes. And if you work, there will always be at least one co-worker who annoys the shit out of you. The most annoying co-worker I've ever had the displeasure of working with was Jackie. I encountered her on the job up in New England, years ago, in my previous career as a product development engineer. While not as entertaining as the legendary Joe, Jackie was just as annoying. If she had possessed some redeeming quality such as actually being a decent engineer, or having the ability to tell a good joke, we might have been more willing to put up with her. But she didn’t have any of those qualities. She finally found another job after we insisted she show up on time (every day!), put in 40-hour work weeks and do some actual work. Apparently, she considered this completely unreasonable.

One of the funniest things Jackie did involved some sample tubing we were evaluating. She needed to find a particular sample and the only thing she could remember about it was that the sample was 30" long. She went off looking through our prototype materials and walked back into the lab carrying a sample. She was holding the tubing over her head so that it wouldn't drag on the floor, and asked us in all seriousness, "Does this look like thirty inches to you?" We were stunned speechless. And of course ended up laughing our asses off later. But seriously... how did this woman get a masters degree in mechanical engineering? Was there not a lab class in there somewhere?

And then there were all the phone calls. Jackie doesn't have an "inside voice". Her speech is loud and grating. We all worked in cubicles. No doors, no privacy. She made a lot of personal calls, and we could hear every detail. We knew a lot more about Jackie and her family than any of us ever wanted to. Imagine our horror as we were all subjected to hearing her call and schedule an appointment for laser hair removal. For her back!!!

My current work situation is pretty good most of the time. The worst I have to deal with on a daily basis is the “flirt fest” that goes on in the hallway and some people that don’t quite pull their weight. None of this gets under my skin the way Jackie did. I believe this is because the people involved have some of those “redeeming qualities” that Jackie was totally devoid of. Give me a reason to like you, and I’ll put up with more of your crap. If your co-workers hate you, they are going to push you out, get you fired, or make you so miserable you’ll quit. That’s the take home message.

6 comments:

trinamick said...

I have the utmost sympathy for you after the creature in our office. I agree wholeheartedly that some people have absolutely no redeeming value.

NYPinTA said...

Except their zapablity with a tazer.

fermicat said...

Hmm, a tazer would be a fun addition to the "flirt fest".

LL said...

What's wrong with the flirt fest? Sheesh... :ewink:

MW said...

I used to be a computer tech person (i.e. network administrator) at a school. The teachers that successfully drove me insane were those who asked me the same questions to about once a week for five years. They did this (almost literally) in the tradition of "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray. I even said that to one teacher who asked me the same question for the 20th time, and his high-school age daughter, who was also in the room, started laughing knowingly, along with her dad. It was nearly impossible to hide my frustration from some of those teachers, but I did it (with only one or two minor slip ups).

One teacher was just so clueless in every aspect of life that everyone, even the janitors (or so I like to think) were tempted to run in the other direction when she approached (no, I don't know how she got her teaching degree. When I helped her, she always took notes. I'm sure she would have taken notes if I had told her how to boil water; and if I sneezed while giving the instructions, she would have written that in her notes, too. Such excessive behavior might have been tolerable the first time, but she took the same notes at least once a month, for five years, as if she had never heard of the procedure before and had never asked the question before. Worst of all, it was as plain as day that she had no idea on earth what she was writing as she wrote it. She was just putting on a good show.

shellig said...

What about Jackie not getting that slicing a cylinder at an angle gave you an oval shape, not a circle... Ah the good old days...