The office wallflower or the talking rock

Posted by Benji On 12:16 PM
Working in an office has always been likened to a microcosm of a society. Each member is a "sample" of a personality type we encounter. You also have different social groups and hierarchies.

I consider myself either a wallflower or the talking rock. I don't really go to work for the exclusive activity of being able to share something. Neither do I go there just to make a day's wage.

A friend of mine once asked me how I would deal with situations where friction occurs between colleagues and how it can affect one's personal performance. My stance in this has been to always stay away from topics or subjects that may turn a professional relationship into something else. NO, I am not talking about having an affair. With my personality, I have better luck seducing a computer monitor rather than going out with an office mate.

What I'm referring to is when conflict arises when you start to know too much about someone. I sometimes see people carrying a chip on their shoulder because they heard from someone who learned from someone else about something that in turn affects the first person I started off with this sentence. Hey, if you're having trouble understanding this, imagine how hard it was for me to follow this since the names of the "guilty" were withheld to protect their identities.

It makes me wonder in turn, how awful and in some cases downright violent we humans are. We like to smite but try our damnedest to get the sympathy of others. We say we want attention but hide in the shadows when we screw something up. We want to have our cake and eat it too. We say there are lot of immature people out there who are so shallow because they spent a ton of money on buying an iPhone 4 and learn the antennae sucks. Yet we also turn kindergarten when it comes to our own wants and desires.

Now that I have regained my sense of direction after writing those confusing paragraphs, I answered my friend I often don't encounter conflict. Why, I tend not to deal with anyone on a personal level. Sure, it sounds very "Vulcan", "Data", or just plain anti-social but at least I don't have to worry about something I know I won't be able to deal with in the first place. So yes, I too have some inadequacies. In fact, I would say that I may need a lesson in the so-called social graces.

Speaking of dealing with people everyday, I also question this long tradition of needing to be involved in everything about a person. I mean, in a professional environment, we are taught that we should respect others and we must not interfere with anything outside what we were hired to do. Yet we still like talking about stuff that is outside our "capabilities" because it's so much juicer to learn who slept with who and how they did it (now that we have Youtube, we can also watch it).

I don't see this as me looking down the mountain wondering what the hell happened to society and should I send another flood to cleanse the earth. Rather, I feel like a spectator confused at why someone in the stands decided to throw his plastic cup at someone else for no apparent reason.

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