I was wandering through askamanager.org the other day when I ran across a question from a woman who had written in asking for advice about her coworker: This woman is in her late 50’s, has undoubtedly entered menopause, and is convinced she’s pregnant. Her doctor promises her she’s not, but the woman has announced it to the company and is already planning her leave for immediately after the birth.
Most commenters thought this was hilariously funny. I did too, until I thought about some of the people I’ve worked with in the past. A receptionist/mailroom worker at a college job I held spent three hours one afternoon telling me about the time she killed a bear. With her bare hands. The story didn’t end there though, she unfortunately went on to tell me in great detail about skinning the bear, putting the bloody pelt in her washing machine, and subsequently having to find the money for a new machine because she utterly destroyed the one she put the bear pelt in.
Too much information?
Yeah, it was for me too.
And the 30 other people around the office who all chimed in with, “Oh, she told you that story also?”
Why do people feel that this sort of over share is appropriate in the workplace? And how do you deal with those coworkers who are obviously crazy (like the “pregnant” woman from the blog)? I wish I had the answers. But I did take some valuable information from the article…we all have office crazies.
Sometimes when I go into a new office I look around and wonder who their office crazies are. We all have them…the woman who washes bear pelts in her washing machine, the old woman who’s convinced she’s pregnant, the guy who tells customers his long, involved stories of trying to get his wife pregnant, the lady who force feeds her children potato chips (oh yes, I’ve worked with one of those). It’s sort of comforting, on some level, to know that all of my corporate America friends have similar stories from their offices. It makes my company not seem so weird.
When I look at jobs my friends have and I wonder how much better it must be to work there…I have to stop and remind myself that somewhere in their ranks, they too have an office crazy.
By now you’re probably thinking back to your office and pinpointing your office crazy.
Maybe it’s the lady in HR that can’t figure out how to turn on her computer, but wishes you ran a Linux system? Or the guy in sales who carries on conversations with you while he’s spending his 30 minute lunch break in the bathroom on the toilet (yep, I’ve worked with one of those also, and trust me, it’s a long story)…
Can’t find one in your office?
…Well, I hope you don’t have any bear pelts in your washing machine.