I decided to break up the last post into child sized bites.
Continuing with my reflections of what it was like to be children.
What if playground rules applied to work situations:
1. Listen to and obey the supervisors.
That is a classic playground rule. Unfortunately, in the real world sometimes our supervisors are more like playground bullies or socially inept smart kid. Our bosses are not the kind playground lady or our protective parents. It is hard to take someone seriously that leaves work for two hours to reapply a broken “Lee Press On” nail. Or report to someone who never seems to get things done but is a really great guy.
2. Use the playground equipment safely, following all rules.
I wish that I could affix a sign that read this…. "Don't walk away from a paper jam" on the office copier. It is completely frustrating to go to the copier in a good mood only to realize that some butthole has left the copier with a jam or an error message and has not bothered to notify the program head or contact the service department.
It is like some stupid childhood game where you put the broken toy back in the bin, fart just before you leaving a room or scatter when something gets broken.
3. No chasing, kicking, fighting, play fighting, pushing, shoving, wrestling, spitting
Ahhh. We can’t do any of these things so we do other stuff like.. 1. linking people’s paperclips together, 2. leaving food to rot in the refrigerator, taking office supplies, 3.damaging the copier, 4. putting colored paper in the printer, 5. withholding mail or faxes, 6. unplugging coffee makers, printers, and fax machines, 7.hoarding napkins, 8.yelling “Hello or Good Morning” halfway down the hall to people you don’t like or don’t like you just to unnerve them and 9. publicly or loudly harassing people for going out to lunch and not inviting you.
4. No profanity, name-calling, or teasing
I find this to be difficult from time to time. I can say “Oh Pooh Bear, ”"Dagnabit" or “Mother of God” so many times before I just want to play some gangster rap on the Internet radio station.
Doesn’t everyone in an office have a nickname? “Queen of the Damned” was really funny for awhile. “The Minions”, “The Yes Mayamer”, “The Figurehead” “The Secretary who doesn’t want to be called a secretary”, simply “Unhappy”, “The Counselor.” "The King of Cover up"." The “On her/his Way Out” guy/gal is the person that we avoid.
5. No throwing ice, ice balls, snow, snowballs, rocks, stones, or anything that could hurt someone.
Just thinking about this one is making me have giggling fits. Papercuts hurt. So does leaning over, stooping down or lifting the copier or printer to find the dawgone paper jam. Hell, black ink all over my clothes because no one bothered to mention that the printer was out of ink, that really SUCKS.
Keep in mind: Throwing reports at people the day before you need them even though you knew about your meeting with the division head two months ago is like throwing an ice ball at someone's head.
The playground I understood, office spaces - I endure.
6. No visiting or talking to people in cars, on the sidewalks, or any strangers.
This is probably a good rule to remember from the playground. Once I told a friend that she could visit me at work. I guess that I had forgotten to tell her that I was part-time because the day she came to visit me she shouted, “you are never here!” in front of the secretary and my supervisor. I can’t imagine why anyone would think that is an appropriate comment to say aloud with witnesses.
I think this rule should be amended for office environment. It should read, “No visiting or talking to people in cars, on sidewalks, in cubicles on the other side of the suite, hollering down the hallway or to any strangers.”
But then I would have to follow that rule. Cubicles make me too lazy to walk over to someone and have normal conversation. It is so much easier to push myself away from my desk and call out to someone in the break room which I can see from my door. Heck, we have an intranet instant messenger but we still shout over our cubicle walls.
Cubicle visiting is fun. But sometimes it can hurt you when you are noticed too long at a cubicle of the “On the way out guy” when he is on his way out. Come on, we all treat those people as if they have some form of cooties when it is obvious that they are being pushed out of their jobs. They become the creepy guy in the white van watching the kids play.
7. TREAT ALL CHILDREN AND ADULTS KINDLY AND RESPECTFULLY.There are some easily identified forms of harassment that takes place in the office. There is, of course, sexual harassment, age harassment and then there is hostile environment harassment. I am sure that you can think of examples of each. I have an example of hostile environment harassment that no one ever considers. I call it “Greeting” bullying.It is like telling someone that they have a bad case of the Mondays because they did not greet you with the same level of Prozac induced enthusiasm. You remember bullying from the playground.
Once I was labeled the “One who does not speak to her co-workers” girl because my allergies clogged my ears and my throat. The episode reminded me of the whispers I heard about the girl who showed the boys her panties during recess. (I know what you are thinking but it wasn't me.)
Working life differs from children's games in that when you play on the dodge ball team no one can just take a time out because the cute boy walked onto the playground. In the office environment, it is difficult to maintain confidence and respect for someone who on the day before a major report is due leaves the conference room to take chicken soup to her sick (rich) boyfriend and doesn’t return.