Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Wonder if This Happens to Other People?

I frequently dine at my desk during lunchtime … sometimes alone, sometimes w/The Boy. I have an office that only three people (besides me) can unlock. It doesn’t bother me that someone else has a key to my office—we keep departmental files in my big filing cabinet so I can usually deal with knowing that while I’m on vacay or home sick, others might wander in for something.

But when I’m at work, and trying to enjoy my lunch hour, it’s a different story. I understand that if you didn’t know I was in there, you might think you could pop in really quickly to drop something off for me. I have one of those little “Will Return” clock signs that I am quite vigilant about keeping accurate. So I don’t blame the person who outranks me who unlocks my door to drop off a signed scholarship form I left for him. If he came in after I’d already pretended to leave for lunch, how could he know I was in there? No harm, no foul.

But.

There’s another coworker, one with whom I work very closely and really really like. But.

This person knows when I close my door for lunch and whether or not I’m staying in or going out. And this person lets herself into my office anyway.

This kills me for many reasons.

1. I’m understanding if she is working on a deadline or something another department needs immediately. It happens to all of us. But I find it odd that she has to borrow the three-hole-punch at 12:14P every Tuesday.
2. I have a key to her office, and would never dream of opening it up when she had closed her door but was there. I’d knock. And then wait. Or figure out a way to, oh, I don’t know, deal until the lunch hour is over.
3. She doesn’t take lunch! But I do! I am as vigilant about working my 40-hour week as I am about my clock sign. I don’t believe in constantly working for free, out of the kindness of your heart. This isn’t corporate America, so you’re not impressing anybody here when you do that. So if I work through lunch or only take 30 minutes, I keep track and give that time back to myself later. Ain’t no such thing as overtime ‘round here, so you have to take care of yourself. And yes, we’re busy, and I’m all for pitching in and five or ten minutes here and there aren’t a big deal. But, dude! Doesn’t she ever get hungry? I feel like it’s some silent judgment when I close my door for an hour and she has to let herself in for some reason, working so hard while I sit around and eat and watch “Grey’s” online.
4. Sometimes, and this doesn’t happen very often but when it does, I often consider quitting, a student will knock on my door (b/c this is the digital age and a sign with a clock-with-hands on it baffles the children). When I don’t answer, this coworker will attempt to help the student. And once in a while, she can’t help, and instead of teaching the student how to tell time, she’ll unlock and open my door and bring the student into my office behind her to ask me whatever question simply cannot wait until 1P (sometimes 12:56P).

5. If she has to give something to me or file it in my office, my mailbox is just as close to her office as my office is. And it doesn’t require a key. And is fairly safe and confidential and protected and everything.

I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to bring myself to just be a grown-up and tell her this bothers me and ask her not to do it anymore unless there’s a true emergency. It’s been going on for practically three years now, so maybe I feel like it’s too late to bring it up.

If this is the thing that bothers me the most about a coworker, I have a pretty great life. I should just continue to growl on the inside and count my blessings, right?

Well, then there was the time I had the day off but came in for something and found that she had propped open my door for the day because it was more convenient for her.


That didn’t last, let me tell you. But I didn’t yell—I used “It would make me more comfortable if you … ” politespeak—so that’s something.

4 comments:

super jane said...

working in a university setting, i completely understand that value of a lunch hour where you don't have to help students. so when i read this:
instead of teaching the student how to tell time, she’ll unlock and open my door and bring the student into my office...

i had to pick my mouth up off the floor. oh my holy heck. i would seriously bite her head off. how have you contained your cool for so long.

glove said...

I know the answer to your problem. Just eat lunch naked. Then, next time she busts in on you, she'll be so damn embarrassed it will never happen again.

Yes. It happened to me. The boss. Fifty-something year old man. I was adjusting some maternity clothes that were not on properly. He opened our shared door.

At least now I don't have to worry about him busting in on me pumping.

Wicked M said...

That would make me crazy. Crazy.

I enjoy backhanded politeness sometimes. That might work. It is a slow burn type of solution.

Wicked M said...

That would make me crazy. Crazy.

I enjoy backhanded politeness sometimes. That might work. It is a slow burn type of solution.