Jonny’ll fix it … or he’ll fix you is Sloucher’s own “Agony Aunt” section. These are true cases, but the identities of those involved were changed to protect them. Feel free to send your troubles our way.
This week, we keep talking about office problems, not exactly related to who will replace Michael…
Dear Jonny Sock,
I write you in despair, in the hope of getting some of your wisdom for something I REALLY can’t handle anymore, so what should I do?
You’re at the office, ready to work, feeling completely optimistic about the day or the week starting, but then evilness arrives as a black mist (the Witch-king of Angmar would be ashamed of his own evilness). There she comes, with her high heels and voice that could drill even on the hardest rock, with the “look-at-me-now” attitude, then the imminent “Oh, Hiiiiiiiiiii!”
She’s my office “neighbor”, and even when there’s a wall between us, I still can hear her useless comments about her love life and how she’s so lonely and unprotected without a “macho” next to her, about the latest soap opera and how everyone who didn’t dare to watch the Royal Wedding is retarded.
This situation becomes unbearable when it seems there’s a dispute over who is the “alpha female” of the office, and it seems she’s trying to keep me away from the action. The point is, I’m not interested, but she thinks I am!
I’ve tried over and over again to debunk every stupid theory she’s got of the world in general (where she’s always right, of course, and her mission is to enlighten our minds with the wisdom of a “Hello!” magazine), where I’ve been successful most of the times. I really can’t stand her theories and there’s always this “freedom of speech” thing, anyway (which she abuses, btw).
I definitely can’t ignore her: her voice is so sharp and loud that even Peeping Tom on a satellite would hear her. She attacks me when she’s got the chance (she thought I’d be offended for the fact that her favorite football team won a match against my favorite team), she gives me these dirty looks, and makes me feel uninvited to any place I go in the office and find her (even at the bathroom! Gosh!),
My dear Mr. Sock, what can I do to make her shut her big mouth? Or, what can I do to ignore her? I’ve tried from Buddhism to metal music, and still I’m really in despair.
My Dear Miss Whatafuzzamidoinhere,
I feel for you, the woman in question is obviously a moron, and I have worked in offices (I was a big player at Goldman Socks for a while) so I feel your pain. My office was littered with petty little Hitlers, people with no internal monologue, and people so dull that starting a conversation with them should be classed as a suicide attempt.
But, one day I figured out the secret to not bringing an automatic weapon into work….
TURN IT INTO A GAME!
There are numerous games you can play with these kind of people that not only pass the time of day, they will also make you relish their banal conversation. Here are some examples:
Game 1: Roundabout arguments.
In this game you pick a topic at the start of the day at random. You draw a table with a column for you and a column for the person annoying you. Then each time that person talks to you during the day, you turn the conversation around back to the same topic by the zaniest way possible. Think of it as your own little version of “Confuse-a-cat”.
Let’s say your topic is “plate of shrimp”:
Them: Did you watch the Royal Wedding?
You: No, I was thinking about a plate of shrimp.
Them: Who do you think will win (enter awful reality TV competition here)?
You: Well, (enter name of vacuous contestant of said show here) is bound to win, although I heard they will need to balance plate of shrimps while drinking their juice in the hood.
Game 2: The Movie Mention.
Drop names of Films into conversation. See how many you can get in before the idiot realises what you are doing. For example:
Them: Good morning.
You: Good Morning Vietnam.
Them: How are you?
You: Top Gun.
Them: What did you do last night?
You: Big Nothing.
Them: Well I went on a date last night. Guess who with.
You: The Elephant Man?
You: The Man With Half a Face?
You: The Cable Guy?
You: The Lord of The Rings?
Them: No, it was Adrian from Accounts.
You: He’s just not that into you.
Them: He seemed into me.
You: Liar Liar.
Them: (Storms off in a huff).
9 films = 9 points! + 1 infuriation point and 5 points for a storm off.
Game 3:Sneaky Graffiti.
For this game, wait until the idiot has left there desk. Sneak over to it. Lift up an object from the desk. Write a little summary of the person under said object. Place object down over the graffiti. Get back to your desk before you are caught in the act.
My personal bests at this game were:
Twat. (In tippex under my boss’ mouse).
Dipshit. (Written in Biro underneath a colleagues drinks coaster).
Everyone knows I’m an idiot. (Written in a speech bubble on a colleague’s photo of him and his wife and hidden behind the photo frame).
10 points for every rude word placed without being caught.
-5 points if somebody finds the swear.
-50 if they trace it back to you (you may also be fired).
Game 4 : The Rumour Mill.
Get a friend in the office to start a glaringly fictitious rumour about yourself and see how long it takes for somebody to question you about this. The better the rumour, the quicker someone asks you if it’s true.
For example: when I was at my office a friend told somebody that I was in a young offenders prison as a child for a crime so heinous that my identity was changed and I had to move city. 30 minutes later 12 people had sidled over to my desk and turned the conversation to my childhood, where all I would reply was “You know just the usual stuff.”
The next day nobody wanted to discuss the latest soaps or pointless talent competitions with me. It was bliss.
(Note: be careful with your rumour, you can end up in the managers office, discussing your criminal record and your non-disclosure thereof.)
So in summation, these games may not be for you, but, the idea is solid and you may need to create your own game to make the long days bearable. Stupid people are ubiquitous, and you will always find yourself in their proximity at any workplace, but, the beauty of this is, they don’t realise when you jab them with a stick.
So Jab away my friend.
Disclaimer: Jonny takes no responsibility for dismissals made as a result of his advice.