What is the Matter with People in the Office–Vol. 1, Issue 1

I cannot imagine that my office is very unlike most other offices out there.  We have cubicles (to which we tongue-in-cheek refer as “career stations” after some senior leader around here coined that term; to this day, personally, I’m unsure if she was being ironic or not), we have that weird gray/brown industrial carpet into which coffee stains and the odd going-away cake crumbles blend so perfectly.  We have terrible free coffee, available in caf and decaf. We have cliche inspirational quotes on the walls (also discernibly ironic for those embittered souls around here–of which there are plenty) and several general-use refrigerators which are patrolled with military precision and very often type-written notes about things like “rotting” and “smelling.” In this way and in all ways “corporate office” we’re very normal.

And then we have LEs…which makes us very, very unique.  And everyone should thank their lucky stars for this uniqueness that we and we alone possess. While we do often speak in acronyms (normal), LE stands for “loaned executive” (abnormal).  By that descriptor, you’d think these would be upstanding, well, executives…rolling up their well-seasoned oxford sleeves and digging in to help out at our poor, little enormous, corporate not-for-profit company.  This name is a misnomer in that this usual rag-tag bunch of…well, (I can’t say anything nice so I shouldn’t say anything at all) people are, well, certainly not executives. Sadly but truly, I say “executive” and, if you’re like me, you might think business person, suits, quickly clacking heels on a tile floor, “synergy,” decision-making, sharp hair cut, middle aged just to name a few.  Literally none of these descriptors apply and thus I challenge their acronymed title.  They should just be called “loaned”; it’s much more accurate from my basic observation of their function here.  They take up space. They eat up our scarce office supplies like nobody’s business. They’re present until about 4pm everyday.  They shuffle around and make “small talk” about nothing…usually in the bathroom which I hate.  They drink the terrible free coffee.  In this way, they are just loaned to us for some purpose of which I know nothing…and they’re just here roughly four months at a time.

There is no love lost for this group.  But the lack of office etiquette they so egregiously perform makes me just as mad as I am on the train when someone is singing loudly or conducting their own private poetry slam for all of us lucky onlookers or doing something equally socially bizarre.  “Like what?” I hear you ask.  Well, I’m glad you went there.  Begin list of horrendous, soul-wrenching breaches of office etiquette that I’ve seen just today:

  • The LE across from my cubicle has a cell phone set to ring at roughly the decibel of the sirens on a city of Chicago ambulance.  It has rung 3 times today…and the day is young.
  • A pack of LEs across from me in the northwest direction are talking over their half-cubicle wall so loud that our entire floor can hear every sad detail of their LE training this morning.
  • One LE internet shops all. day. long. And then prints the receipts on our one, limping, coveted color printer.
  • The same LE with the loud cell phone SINGS. OUT LOUD. WHILE HER HEADPHONES ARE ON. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Now, you may be asking, “Why don’t you just ask her to stop?” We tried. 
    • She yelled at us to “mind our own business.”
    • I’d be happy to but your concert performance over here makes it impossible to hear my own business let alone mind it.
  • Generally all LEs descend like vultures on any sort of left-over snacks from meetings or, say, banana bread brought in by co-workers. Literally crumbs left…after 5 minutes of it sitting there.
  • I just heard an LE “shush” a conference call my co-worker is holding…with an official at CPS (Chicago Public Schools…do you know how impossible it is to get those people on the phone? It’s a near miracle they’ve upgraded to “phone” technology over there…so to shush a conference call…not. cool. lady.)

This is a truncated list of the grossness of LEs but remember…this all happened today. Every new day brings new awful office behavior.  “And all of this presence they have in the office is for what?” you may wonder.

The fuck if anybody around here knows.

I just bought a bow and arrow on EBay…I’m considering it a new category of “office supply.”

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