When I ran an employment office for the students at a university, some kids would tell me, “I want to work with people.” Depending on my mood, the response could be, “We don’t have any hermit jobs listed now, so they pretty much all involve people,” or on my less charitable days, “You haven’t worked with people much, have you?”
If you want to work with people – really work with them – be a boss. Don’t get me wrong. Most of the employees I had were great people. Even so, I had to referee fights among otherwise-intelligent coworkers that sounded like daycare spats. “She pulled my hair. Make her stop. Well, he started it.”
Then there are employees who stand out for other reasons. Let’s call her Jane. She was maybe 19 or 20 at the time and was our receptionist. She wanted to do a good job and she did. I’m sure she has done well since. But she needed to understand how workplaces function. Explaining that was part of my job.
I came in one morning to find more than the usual hubbub near her desk — not quite a brouhaha but for sure a hubbub.
The reason jumped out at me very quickly. Well, two reasons actually. Those reasons were rounded, firm and obvious to all but the one person in the unit who was visually impaired (not making this up, folks). Yes, the only thing between me and a full-frontal view of Jane’s breasts was a gauzy blouse. And it wasn’t throwing up much of a screen on the play.
I had to look twice (OK, maybe more) just to be sure what was going on. On review, I confirmed that we were dealing with a major workplace distraction.
A quick “Come talk to me,” and she was over at my desk. I had to explain that if I could see them, everyone could see them and that really wouldn’t do in an office, at least not if anything was going to get done today by clients or staff, male or female. She agreed that wearing a sweater would be a good idea for now and that, in the future, thinking through the difference between office clothing and going to the club clothing would be an even better idea.
I’ll bet you’ve got your own memorable employees and coworkers too.
And with that, Did I Tell You The One is going on hiatus, while I work on other projects. In the meanwhile, visit Pegoleg at Ramblings for all your observational humor needs.