If I was asked “how do you cope with the Office” I would answer by saying :
- I don’t care anymore. This is not to say that I don’t care if the Company doesn’t survive or turns a profit or matters like that. I just don’t care anymore about what the issues are and what people get so uptight about. In the past, other people’s issues became my issues. I would twist myself into a knot to please people, compromise my attitudes to conform to theirs. I do care if my job performance lacks, but in this culture you don’t know if your performance lacks until they yell and scream over a typo or mistake or show you the door. I am just an employee and have always been just an employee.
- I mumble. In a low breath, I mumble about ‘whatever’, usually what the Service Narcissist is spewing. I mumble incoherently in a quiet voice so people around me can’t hear me. But the mumbling helps. My favorite phrase is “ho-ho-ho”, not in the festive Santa spirit but in a low mumble of nonsense. Another phrase is “yie-yie-yie”. Maybe one day the phrase will be “hio-hio-hio”. If someone was to hear me they would believe I have a mental issue.
- I put in ear buds. When the chatter is too much for me, usually when the Service Narcissist is talking about the food he eats, details how he prepares it and at what temperature, on what grill, how it tastes, who is eating with him and where, I put in the ear buds. Usually this is a last resort but it helps to listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers or John Mellencamp to drown out the Service Narcissist.
- I write. I write for the blog, letters to people or short story ideas. I used to feel bad about the time I spent in the office writing for my personal pleasure, but if the Service Narcissist can use company time to brag about the points he gets on his credit card that he uses for his personal use (vacations – toys) when he is traveling on Company time then I can spend company time writing a few sentences. And when the Owner Narcissist can produce his ‘afternoon drive time’ segment where he brags about his exploits out west or in town and proclaims himself master of the universe, then I can post something to the blog.
- I walk away. If none of the above works, I will walk away from the desk. Usually, I’ll go to the potty or walk outside to see the sunshine or clouds or rain depending on the weather (since there are no windows in the Office). Or, I will walk to another building under the guise of ‘doing something’. Maybe, I will talk to people to say hello and be sociable. After a few minutes, hopefully he will have run his talking course and the office is quiet again.
Just this morning the Service Narcissist, in great detail and with great inflection, talked about the dinner he had at a local pub. He talks as through when he walks into the place everyone shouts out his name. He talks as through he is friends with every customer and wait staff and bartenders and cooks. Yet, I know differently. I’ve been to the same pub and the same time he has. He is just like all other people, nothing special. Yet, in the Office, he gaslights you to believe that he is everyone’s friend, an inspiration to all, loved by the peasantry and the aristocracy, the master of all knowledge.