My job consists of constant interaction with Excel and Outlook and limited interaction with people. Occasionally my phone rings and I answer it and speak for a few moments. I repeat this once or twice a day. Most often it’s Boss or Colleague. They call for two reasons: one, to cover daily tasks or two, to tell a joke at my expense. Other than that, I plug formulas into a tiny white cell and hope my answers are correct.
My office has no windows, so I have no idea what the weather is outside. On days where my cup is half-full, I assume it’s sunny and beautiful, and thus I mope accordingly because I’m stuck in a windowless office where my only light is the artificial twitting of a fluorescent bulb.
Because I have minimal socialization throughout the day it’s quite possible that I will flub up the conversations I do have. For various reasons, I am unable to multi-task while talking to people, especially on the phone. I can walk and chew gum, drive and apply lipgloss, write and watch Chuck. But I am completely incapable of chatting on the phone while on the internet, driving, or eating, the latter for obvious reasons. I have to devote my full attention to the person on the other line and who they actually are and what they’re saying, otherwise…something disastrous may happen.
There are a few people in my life I talk to on a daily+ basis; Sis and Mom, sometimes Bro and Dad. We ring each other at least 2-3 times throughout the day…sometimes more. The calls are usually no more than 5-10 minutes as we’re often busy doing three other things. Whenever I’m ready to hang up, I say “okay, love you, bye.” And click off quickly, without much thought.
A few Mondays ago, Colleague called me when I first came into the office. While he rattled off some tasks for the day, I turned on my computer, logged onto g-mail, read an email, im-ed some friends and produced affirmative grunts to whatever he was going on about. After a few minutes, we rapped up the chat. I spouted, “ok…loo..long day it’s gonna be right?”
Panic. Shit. I almost said Love You TO Colleague! Did I cover it well enough?
“Yeah…what else is new?” he asked.
Whew. Covered. I think.
“Heh heh heh…yeah typical Monday.”
Ten minutes later. BInLaw calls ready to leave. Most of you know I work with BInLaw. He sent me the job description that set in motion my move South. We are now co-workers who commute together 2 days a week. Sis packs our lunches. It’s all very cute.
“Yo…it’s 10:30. Can we leave yet?”
“Haha…no. Let’s wait until after noon today?” I typed away at an email, updated a spreadsheet, etc. as we talked about Perez Hilton’s latest gossip until he announced,
“Okay…I have actual work to be doing KT.”
“Like I don’t…”
“HA. I mean real work…not that stuff you do. Talk to you later.”
I tapped at my keyboard and distractedly said…”K, lovv…lunch time. See you at lunch time. Bye”
Shit. I did it again.
…And so it goes until I’m so conscious of the fact that when distracted, I almost say I love you to ANYONE with whom I happen to be on the phone that I’ve been forced to actually contemplate not answering. Too bad Boss sits in the office next to me and can hear my clicking as I type this, so when he calls, he probably expects me to pick up the phone.
Have you ever over-thought a conversation in the midst of one? You weigh and measure every word.
A. It’s exhausting.
B. You end up making even less sense than normal.
3. You forget what you said 15 seconds before because you’re too busy trying to come up with the next line so that you don’t say something stupid or embarrassing like, I love you.
While this is mostly a problem for me via the telephone, I have almost made the same mistake through the written word…i.e. email. Occasionally during lunches, I’ve been known to watch an episode or three of whatever current TV show with which I happen to be slightly obsessed.
On this particular day, I was watching The Bachelor. As you know, I religiously followed Jason as he searched for true love on ABC. While watching Jason explain to a heart-broken Jillian (I think it was this episode), I was simultaneously drafting an email to Boss.
Jason- “I just think there’s something missing between us. That we’re better as best friends and aren’t able to make that leap to the next level.” (or something like that…Jason was always way verbose)
Me- typing email to Boss – Hi, Attached is the draft for the March efforts. Would you mind taking a look over it before I send it off? I just want to make sure there’s nothing missing between us.
Yes. That’s what I wrote. Thankfully, I proof my emails before I hit send. In a panic of nervous energy that I had just almost sent that email, I called BInLaw.
“Dude…listen to the email I just drafted to Boss.” I read him the email, “I was watching the Bachelor and Jason had just said that line. Clearly my subconscious found what he said important enough to type out.” (BInLaw knows who Jason is…so luckily he got this story without much prompting.)
“Oh man KT. That would have been rough. Imagine if last week you had actually said I love you to Boss and then this week sent that email. He probably would have had to go to HR and been like…I think I have a problem on my hands. My direct report is in love with me.”
BInLaw laughed at this.
I did not.
Lesson Learned: Do not multi-task when on the phone or drafting emails to your employers, co-workers, relatives or anyone with whom you would not end a conversation with “ok, love you, bye.” Click.
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