Question of the Day

What, per the post below, is your least favorite bit of work-related small talk?

I hate any kind of banter that’s meant to imply the person at whom it’s directed isn’t working hard, when s/he’s in the middle of busting her/his ass. Like, if you’ve stayed every night for two weeks until 8:00pm, and then you leave at 5:00 one night, and some wiseacre says, “Half day today?”

Ha ha ha!

Go fuck yourself.



Filed under 01_shakespeares_sister

55 responses to “Question of the Day

  1. SAP

    That’s easy: the group of chattering peahens three cubes over who provide everyone in earshot with a blow-by-blow of last night’s reality show stupidity.

    Those three have no idea how close they have come to having a 25-inch monitor land on them.

  2. Thank God I remembered to change my monicker back from “Ashley St. Ives” which, thanks to comment moderation, was outdated by the time it was released.

    Since I like to get to work by 7:00 I’ve been rather disappointed that lately I’ve been getting there between 7:30 and 8:00. Last week I had to take my car in for service and was really feeling guilty that I was getting to the office around 9:15 — the funny thing was I still beat a lot of people to work.

    I’m not really bothered by small talk at work. People at my agency are extremely friendly and easy to talk to, although plenty of conversations initially start out about the weather, which is something I’m obsessed with anyway!

    I guess one that grates on my nerves would be the “glad you decided to join us” when you’re 5 minutes late for a meeting (that probably isn’t necessary to begin with) because you were actually WORKING.

  3. SAP just nailed it. Just pick a crappy monitor. They aren’t worth 25-inches.

  4. It depends on the job, and I guess on one’s definition of “small talk.” I’m always surprised at the number of people who consider their most recent sexual escapades, their conversations with their therapist and detailed discussions of their medical histories to be “small talk.”

    Once I worked at a church – youth pastor, which is hilarious – and one of the secretaries was the type of person who always had a “prayer request” or ten that she just needed to share all the time. “Oh, remember to pray for my dad’s neighbor’s grandson’s college roommate’s cousin’s girlfriend’s sister who has a hangnail” or some such bullshit. And I’m like, “Not even God knows who the FUCK you’re talking about, psycho!” But you can’t say that when you’re a youth pastor.

    Which is partly why I’m not a youth pastor, I guess.

  5. Exactly. God is concerned about hangnails or some old crone who is about to kick the bucket anyway, but Darfur is up for grabs.

  6. I work in an office where I am the only male, so I get a lot of requests for help with computer problems,as if having a penis automatically makes me a computer genius. I also get that when the copier jams or runs out of toner and the rest of the staff automatically assumes that I will be the one who will clear the jam or change out the cartridge. My response is “Call IT. They get paid to do it.” And since our office is spread out between two different buildings, when someone needs to have a file picked up at the other building, guess who they ask to go get it. (And it’s always someone who could really use the exercise who does the asking.)

    Working in Miami also means that most, if not all of the people in the office speak Spanish, and it’s not unusual to hear business conducted in Spanish or Spanglish. Since I am an Anglo, however, they assume that I don’t speak the language, and one person thought they could say something snide about someone else when I was in their presence and I wouldn’t get it. They found out really quickly that I may have only taken two years of Spanish in high school, living in New Mexico for seven years and Miami for six years taught me a lot.

  7. Hey MB, where in New Mexico did you live?

  8. Grandjester

    Working hard or hardly working?

    Yeah, how about I see how far I can “work” this Bic into your brain thru your effing eyeball?!?!”

  9. God dam Merican Idle talk.

  10. Hateful Conversation 1:
    For the past two years I’ve worked for the marketing department, though until November I sat upstairs from the rest of marketing with the inside sales group. That group was expanding, had a lot of turnover, so they had a designated recruiter from human resources.

    Recruiter Girl didn’t have enough work to keep her busy, I guess, and I sat close by her office, and she’d come out sit on the edge of my desk and chat with me. Rather, she’d chatter away about the fitness competition she had coming up (it’s like bodybuilding, but without all the icky muscles, I think?). For a while, I’d actually engage in conversation but we had about nothing in common, and I got to resenting that because she was bored she figured she could come and bother me. So I’d just keep working, mumble, and practice putting out telempathic ‘go away’ vibrations. Nothing helped much.

    Hateful Conversation 2:
    The Director of Information Services likes me. He thinks I’m cute, and clever, but so far not clever enough to give me a goddamn job in his department. I’m an experienced network tech, though without spiffy qualifications. Anyway, he liked talking with me when we’d meet in the break room as I was getting one of the several thousand cups of tea I’ve consumed over the course of my five years with this company.

    He hates my boss. Oh, he’s not alone in that. My boss is almost as tall as me (I’m six foot in bare feet, and heels make me a giant), attractive, and is all kinds of assertive. She takes shit from no one she doesn’t have to, has a loud voice, demands that she get the things that she should be getting. She’s a good manager (and not just because she is my rod and my shield, standing in between me and the rest of the company who would take up my time with their work). Naturally, because she dares to be all of this and a woman, she is widely reviled. I like her a lot.

    So what does the DIS like to talk to me about? How stupid the people in marketing are, especially my boss. There were times I had to put much effort into not dumping my scalding hot tea over his head. >.

  11. Excitement at our house and finally they left. Now we can smoke.

  12. Gossip. I can’t abide the stuff.

    I get the bonding over TV shows and sports and politics, but gossip will make me walk out of the room, ga-vomiting (that’s gagging and vomiting, simultaneously)

  13. Hey MB, where in New Mexico did you live?

    1977-1978: Santa Fe.

    1995-2001: Albuquerque.

    I’m pining for some good New Mexican food, and I’d walk a mile for a plate of huevos rancheros.

  14. Ah, I grew up in Alamogordo and don’t know as much about the northern part of the state.

    Yeah, I really miss green chiles, though I can get real Hatch chiles here in KC in the fall if I keep my eyes open.

    Now, see, small talk at work that centers around good food, I can handle that. But hardly anyone talks about that.

  15. I’m feeling Cherful tonight.

    Or Shareful.

  16. At the place I am gainfully employed, a Hispanic woman comes in every morning with breakfast tacos which she made herself, including the tortillas. Try that you paleface motherfuckers.

    And she also offers two salsas and a pico that will make you hallucinate.

    I like to liberally douse my taco with the darkest salsa and heaps of pico.

  17. What gets me is the whole range of “this place sucks” noise. Not real complaints about real problems or issues, but just bitching. Because it always sounds to me like they have never had an actually bad job, and they have no ability to distinguish between the ordinary tedium of life and actual suckitude.

    Jesus Fucking Christ on a Pogo Stick! Tedium and annoyance and a sense of occasional ennui is NOT THE SAME AS A BAD JOB. No, it’s not always fun. But you GET PAID. You HAVE GOOD BENEFITS. You have JOB SECURITY. You are CHALLENGED and NEEDED.

    Get over your princess self and accept the fact that life consists of more than rolling in Happy Sauce.

    Well, you asked.

  18. Deborah, I think it takes a 47-year-old to understand your point.

    I love my job. I LOVE it in fact. And you know why? Because:

    a) I get paid.
    b) I don’t have benefits (but I’m temp and paid WELL)
    c) I think I have job security if I can whip these folks into shape
    d) I am constantly challenged. I say 3 times a week.
    (I am hardly ever challenged, maybe 3 times a week. — Alvy Singer)
    c) I do feel needed.

    But do I feel respected?

  19. life consists of more than rolling in Happy Sauce. πŸ˜€

    As I’m semi-self employed and usually am working only with power tools that neither make small talk nor bitch and gripe, I really have nothing to say. But, by QCoFM, I’m gonna not say it in as many words as possible!

    Well, my orbital sander and table saw do sometimes get into arguments about Survivor, but that’s a different story altogether….

  20. I just heard the jazz fire up in the kitchen.

    Gotta go.. Check out all you fine peeps in the AM.

    Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.

  21. Hippodameia

    “How are you do-ooing today?” It’s ALWAYS followed by a request for a favor. Get to the damn point. I’m an accountant. Tell me the problem and GO AWAY. Do not interrupt me, give me extra work, and then add aggravation to irritation by expecting me to engage in meaningless small talk.

  22. This shit will bust your nut and make a whole bunch of squirrels real happy.

  23. It’s like the kona ranch on a GOOD night!

  24. The really funny thing is I got Jimmy Smith coming in two different ears from two different directions playing two fucking different things.

  25. and you call THAT funny?

  26. Minstrel Boy, feel free to weigh in and save my life.

  27. Nik E Poo

    Get over your princess self and accept the fact that life consists of more than rolling in Happy Sauce.

    I’ve said this before … but I love me some work. I love everything about work … I even like people complaining about what they don’t like about work … its all happy sauce to me.

    That said … I do have a preference for efficient, productive and professional exchanges. Logic is nice too.

  28. HEY, you guys, it’s been another SWELL evening, and I love you ALL, but kona has a green pasture to lie down in.

  29. Nice timing Nik E Poo.

    You got here JUST in time for the residuals to show up.

  30. Bitty

    I’m a really lucky person in that my job never really gives us the opportunity for much small talk. When I do have the chance to talk to peers, we’re always glad to see one another and have conversations we love having.

    But in OTHER places I had too darn many conversations like Moira’s Hateful Conversation 1. Content was not the problem so much as the very fact that I had stuff to do, people. Leave me alone.

  31. beatgrl

    I’m not real big on talk about dogs.

  32. Where I work, there are generally only two conversations–the traffic (and since it’s south Florida, it’s always a topic) and whatever stupid crap your students tried to pull off on this time. But that’s not generally uninteresting–some of the plagiarism cases we get are quite fascinating. The traffic talk, though, I can do without. I stay off I-95 and the turnpike precisely because I hate traffic and I feel no need to talk about how shitty it is.

  33. Things have reached a subpare — no I mean a prepare — position.

  34. 25 years ago when I grabbed Bono’s sweaty arm in Kansas City, I wish I could have asked him what he thought about the idea that he’d be hanging out with bad presidents right now.

    How would he have responded?

  35. OK, I give away my secrets.

    Deep Purple


    Side 2. But only after you heard side 1.

  36. Is it Friday yet?

    Said on Monday morning, of course. I hate hate hate that kind of thing.

  37. I work with very serious people, they don’t have a lot of time for chit-chatting, because they are planning the future. Mind you, this is a quasi-government agency, so we run on bureaucratic time, so the future is a very, very, very long way away.

    But: whenever there is food left over from a meeting, the Executive Director will come stand by my desk and say something about “the vultures” who are eating the leftover food. And every day, if he sees me walking out, he says “making a break for it?” I have heard both of these things so many times now that I actually shudder every time he says them.

    There is also a woman in the office who is very loud, so it doesn’t matter what she’s saying, I always have the urge to shove a pillow over her face.

  38. – I don’t want to hear about who just died, or who’s just been diagnosed with what, unless I know them personally or really care about you.

  39. Here’s an actual conversation I overheard in the breakroom:

    COWORKER #1: Enters room and sighs loudly.

    COWORKER #2: What’s wrong?

    COWORKER #1: Ugh! I just got out of a meeting with Tracy Adams. Have you ever been in a meeting with her?

    COWORKER #2: Yeah, I have. What happened?

    COWORKER #1: She wouldn’t let me get a word in. Blah, blah, blah. I’m sorry if she’s a friend of your’s or anything.

    COWORKER #2: Well, actually, she’s my wife.

    Dead silence.

    At that point, I exited the breakroom as quickly as possible. It had to be the worst example of office small talk ever.

  40. Where’d the rest of it go? Poop.

  41. At the place I am gainfully employed, a Hispanic woman comes in every morning with breakfast tacos which she made herself, including the tortillas. Try that you paleface motherfuckers.

    Fuck you, asshole. πŸ˜‰

    Although, I have started making my own tortillas, and they’re getting to the point where they taste pretty good. And I roll them out, no $20 tortilla press for me.

  42. grape_crush

    Sports, especially golf.

    And if you don’t experience enough idiocy on a daily basis, there’s Overheard in the Office

  43. RayCeeYa

    OK, I got you all beat on this one.

    I was working at a PG&E power plant in 2000-2001. Not only did we have the California power crisis but we also had the Florida recounts.

    The part that made it a living hell was the fact that half the crew were self avowed ditto-heads (or as I prefer to think of them, assholes).

    That winter and the following summer I tried very, very hard to be shall we say diplomatic, especially after one of these ditto-head assholes tried to run down our warehouseman in the parking lot. No, they didn’t fire him for that, he still works there even though I don’t.

    That winter when they were doing the recounts in Florida all I would say is that this is the worst thing to happen to our country in my lifetime. I was right.

    The following summer when Enron and other power producers were making piles of money that as it turns out didn’t really exist, all I would say is that those prices won’t stay there for ever.

    My last week there was the week of 9-11. I’m so glad I quit that week otherwise I might not be here to type this now.

  44. rxl

    1) Ex-football ex-wrestler manager who likes to pull me into his office for a “quick 2-minute” meeting, then proceeds to talk about the prank he and his teammates played on the opposition back in ’78.

    2) Silly biddy who’s worked in the same job at the same office for 30 years randomly says “are we having fun yet?” or tries to show me pictures of her granddaughter, then wants to explain how the guy who had my job in 1994 did things.

    3) Just about anyone else who tries to talk to me when I’m in the middle of something.

  45. How wonderful retirement is indeed. Don’t have to put up with this kind of BS. Although I only worked in an office a very short time about 50 years ago so can’t remember much about it but the boredom.

    But you don’t get a whole lot of small talk on a tug boat in the North Atlantic in a force 10 gale I can assure you. Although a certain amount of talk about the weather is normal. Like: “Is this going to get better or worse?” I was normally excluded from said conversations as I was known for attracting the worst weather on the planet no matter where we were. In fact, once I joined a new boat and the first man I met as I came on board said “Hello. You’re the guy who sinks a lot aren’t you. We’ve heard about you.” This was of course right after two consecutive shipwrecks so he did have a certain right I suppose. And sure enough, I wasn’t on board more than a couple of hours and the skipper ran the fucking thing aground! No one hurt and no serious damage, we were still in the river, but it did give me cause to think about taking up farming somewhere in Kansas.

  46. RW

    Oh Lord Almighty, do I have a high high horse to get on when this question is asked.

    All right fellow 9-5ers, I have a VERY IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.

    As everybody used to say circa 9-11, let me be clear:

    1. I like Fridays. I dislike Mondays. Everyone who works in an office environment probably feels the same way. It is perfectly acceptable to share a moment of solidarity about this. There is nothing wrong with commenting that it is Friday, or Monday, or that it is about to be Friday, or that it has only recently stopped being Monday, or that we are equidistantly placedd between Monday and Friday. Comments of these sort are perfectly acceptable.

    2. There are probably some pretty good jokes, the punchlines of which rely on the fact that Fridays are enjoyable and Mondays are a regrettable. But, and I just can’t stress this enough, people…



  47. I don’t care for gossip, but I really can’t abide malicious gossip (including creative interpretation, omission and outright lying), used as a weapon to set co-workers against one another, so that everyone distrusts everyone else — except for the Gossip Master, of course.

    I quit a job to get away from a really toxic gossip. I still check back at that place from time to time, and the boss always says “We’d like to have you back”, but the gossip is still there.

  48. hah! I lost all my hearing 2 years ago and THE BEST part is not having to listen to people expound on:
    1) their golf game
    2) whether or not they got lucky that weekend
    3) how drunk they got the previous night
    4) their children’s troubles
    5) their marital problems
    6) how management is out to get them
    7) fishing and anything to do with bait
    8) how overworked they are when they’re clearly not.
    9) and how they can totally understand how I must feel, having brain tumors, because they’ve had a headache for 3 days that just WON’T go away.
    Who knew there would be such an upside to going deaf?!

  49. Melissa McEwan

    Who knew there would be such an upside to going deaf?!

    LOL! Awesome. πŸ™‚

    I would say I can’t believe that people have related a headache to brain tumors, except when I had back surgery that required 5 days in the hospital and left me a scar looking like a jagged zipper up my back, my coworkers commisserated by telling me things like, “Ooh, I really strained my back when I was moving apartments last spring.” So, yeah. I can believe it.

  50. Doktor Wankenstein

    “Half day today, Doc?”

    “Yup. Twelve hours… bite me.”

  51. Fritz: Oh. My. Gods. I think you win.

  52. When I worked at the Lobbying firm in DC, the gossip was flying. Especially on the 8th floor with all the old biddies that had been there for a million years. They had territory and they certainly pissed on it. The first year lawyers would backstab their secretaries and then wonder why they didn’t get any assistance. The partners would mistreat their help (paralegals and legal secretaries) Overwork their associates and get caught–literally–with their pants down. I thought shit like that only exsisted in movies. It seems so over exaggerated that it is literally hard to believe, but If I were to tell you a story (like the Post Katrina profiteering story and the things said at the meetings I was in) I can assure you it was all true.

    I’m glad I am out of that place and in a work environment that expects work done—nothing more, nothing less. we have a good time and we are all friends.

  53. mac

    This shit will bust your nut and make a whole bunch of squirrels real happy.

    It made me real happy. Thanks KG.

  54. My pleasure, mac. I might play it again shortly. It was damn fine.

  55. A bit late to the gripe session…

    Diet talk.

    First, a bit of background. I am a thin-framed female person, regardless of what types of food I consume, and this is simply a result of a constellation of physical features that have little to do with will or exercise. I eat really slowly (which is more aggravating than one might assume) and my body stinks at telling me when it needs more calories (which also sucks, but the details are beside the point). I do, however, enjoy food, especially good food with fat in it.

    Anyway. The point of all that is to say that, as a result of luck and inclination, I have been able to reach 37 years of age without ever having been on a diet, something that I suspect most women cannot say. This doesn’t make me a better person, just a lucky one, and my personal opinion is that a lot of people, especially women, would be a lot happier if they didn’t have to obsess about things like weight and food – if someone’s happy in his or her own skin, I don’t give a rats’ about their weight, and neither should anyone else.

    But diet talk drives me bats because I am not allowed to opt out. When you get a cluster of people yattering away about their diets, comparing the latest weird fads, bemoaning (yet with pride) the last “bad” thing they ate when they were being so, so “naughty”, it is impossible to eat your own food in the vicinity – or, in my skinny case, even walk by – without it becoming the occasion for a whole bunch of stupid comments about your food, your body, how “lucky” you are (said with a vicious undertone that implies the exact opposite), wistful comments about how one wishes one were also “so good” – ya da blah da blah!

    Leave me alone! I’m just eating my food! I was born this way! I’m not judging your food or your body! Or you!

    …well, except in that you are annoying and boring because you have reduced this wonderful world down to the shit you put on your plate, or do not, or do and feel guilty about, and you insist that everyone else act the same way.

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