Saturday, January 31, 2009


For those of you who don't know. I am a production manager at an inbound call center that sets up new accounts for a television provider. The office looks a little something like this

but a lot bigger.

I'm sure we can all relate to having annoying coworkers. For the most part, you do your best to stay away from them. I mean, it's bad enough that you have to work at all, but to have to work in close quarters with someone who makes you cringe at the very sight of them coming is the worst. Well, the rules are a little different when you're a some of you can attest to. When you're a manager, you don't get to avoid anybody. You have to treat everyone, relatively, the same. Problem is, the turn over rate is high at my job (for reasons that I'll get into another day). Out of the 25 employees under the management of myself and my comanager, nine of them have been there 5 months or more (we call them all-stars) and the rest of them (16) have been there less than 90 days (we call them newbies). I said all that to say, I try not to get attached to any of the newbies. I mean, why waste your time getting to know someone who you're going to have to either fire or listen to an "I quit" speech from in the next few weeks?

So, even though I'm nice to everyone, I choose to invest more conversation into the all-stars. I mean, these are people who like and want to keep their jobs...they ain't gon quit on me next week. You feel me? I know it sounds messed up but like I said...I'm nice to everyone and I fulfill my job description with everyone equally. I'm just saying that I only laugh and chit chat with about 3 people on my shift....all of which are all-stars. The problem with that is that we always have a couple of newbies who are like freshmen in high school trying to get in with the cool clique. Barbra is one of those people.

Now Barbra is a really nice lady. But she's clearly not "all there". And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice that something is not quite right about her. She doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the team for a few reasons. 1st of all, Barbra is middle aged...I'm talking between 53 and 58 and I'm being generous. The age range for my team is 18-35. So that immediately makes her somewhat of a misfit on the team. It's unfortunate...but it's true. I can always tell when someone is a misfit and I try to go out of my way to make sure I'm available to them if they need help, because I believe that everyone is a valuable part of the team.***side eye*** One time, Barbra was having a really rough day and I took her to the side and did some role playing with her and coached her on some calls. Now this is part of my job, in fact it's my favorite part because this is where I get to use my degree. However, pulling people off the phones when they're having a rough day helps me out too becuase when their close rate paycheck sucks.

Barbra GREATLY appreciated the help that day and ever since then, I've been her favorite person. She goes out of her way to talk to me when she comes in...and I mean, that's cool.....but she speaks to me EV-ER-Y time I walk past her over the course of her shift......which gets to be a little annoying after a while. Also, she has a tendency to sneak up on you. I mean...she'll be on the other side of the room when I glance up from my computer and then by the time I look at my computer and glance back up, she's right behind me!! And she doesn't keep the appropriate social distance between herself and me. She literally breathes down my back. She stands so close to me that I can hear her brain thinking of what to say. I'm not one one those people that are really particular about my personal space but...homegirl is like...

and I'm like...

Now I know that everyone doesn't have a degree in interpersonal communications and therefore have not been thoroughly educated on proximics like yours truly. ***clears throat and sits up in chair proudly***. HOWEVER, I would think that knowing how close is too close would be common knowledge. Well apparently not cuz Barbra has invaded my personal space several times and has even, on occasion, found her way into my intimate space.

Another problem is that Barbra is always offering me food! I can't tell if it's her grandmotherly nature or if she's trying to feed her way into my heart. Now, don't get me wrong, this is a nice gesture and all and I definitely LOVE to eat, but Barbra doesn't offer candy or chips. Barbra cooks full course meals and then wants to come to work and offer it to me.

One day she came in and asked me if I wanted some of her beans!!!! I kid you NOT! LOL I don't want to hurt her feelings but I don't eat everybody's cooking and Barbra has made a point of telling me stories about her MULTIPLE cats on a more than a few occassions. Even besides the fact that I'm allergic to cats (especially unkept cats), it's hard to think about ingesting food from a house that looks like this...

Like I said, I don't want to be rude to her but my job is stressful at times and Barbra can't take a hint when I don't feel like talking. She also has a tendency to ask extremely personal questions. For example, last week I was sending a text on my cell and Barbra aske me who I was texting and then seriously waited for a reply. I gave her a smile and walked away.

I'm telling yall about Barbra for two reasons. Number one...becuase it's funny! LOL And number two...because there's something about her. You can tell that Barbra has been a misfit her whole life and she really doesn't mean any harm....she just wants to be liked and appreciated. She reminds me on a daily basis to "Reach Beyond Myself", which is what my Pastor has been calling all of us to do in 2009. Every time I think about snapping on her or being mean, I remember that I'm representing Christ everywhere I go...and especially on my job. Who knows what Barbra is going through on a daily basis. I'm learning that as a minister, I have to use every available opportunity for ministry and sometimes ministering to someone can be as simple as being nice to someone who is treated as an outcast. You never know, God could be using me as a gateway to him. If he is, and I miss the opportunity, I'm going to be held accountable for that. So be nice to people....even when you don't feel like it. You never know how God will move.

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