Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekend Assignment #241: Shh! I'm trying to listen

I'm hoping the internet connection doesn't go down as I'm writing this. We've been having intermittent problems today. I'm not sure if it's the modem or one of the cables, but it is getting irritating.

Anyway, on to the assignment.

Karen wants us to spy on people. Okay, not really. She's wondering if we have overheard any interesting stories, or anything we happen to hear as we are out-and-about.

Weekend Assignment #241: It's not uncommon to overhear snippets of strangers' conversations in grocery stores, restaurants, at the gym, at the park and in other places people gather. We may even have conversations with strangers ourselves, especially when sharing in some common experience. Tell us what you've been hearing - or, if you prefer, some interesting bit of eavesdropping you recall from some time ago.

I overhear most things at work. As with most jobs, we are in cubes. Ours are very close together and the walls are low. This allows us to talk to each other when we need to, which at my job is often, but it also allows us to hear many things. Sometimes I think people forget about that.

I'm not going to go in specifics, but most of the things I hear are about work. Sometimes I get lucky and hear the director of our department talking to the person across from me and I get some insight on changes coming up. Then, of course, I can pass it along and it spreads through the office. It is very rare that I get surprised by some change coming to our department.

Also, I can hear about who is out sick, for what reason, and how long. Who's haven a baby, or when said person is coming back, if at all. Or who has gotten written up, or worse, recently. It's fun; as long as it is not about me.

One unfortunate side effect of all this eavesdropping is the amount of rumor and speculation that isn't true. It's all fun and games when you hear juicy stories, it's another thing when people start saying they think people are going to get laid off. All that does is create more stress. Who needs that? After 10 years of working at my present job I've learned who the people are who like to talk like they know about what is happening, when in reality they just like to hear themselves talk.

It's not all rumor and juicy stories, a lot of times a person next to you is talking about something, a TV show or something, and you jump in to add something. That is okay in our little world at work. People do it all the time. It's almost encouraged. Most of the conversations I get in at work were not started by me, but I jump in. Especially if there is some kind of pop culture reference I could add to the conversation. You know, to make it more fun!

Extra Credit: Do you ever eavesdrop on purpose?

I think I've made it quite obvious. Yes.

How about you? What do you hear? Is it on purpose?


Karen Funk Blocher said...

Ah, that takes me back a bit, to my days at FMFC. I remember one day trying to figure out whether it was laughing or crying that I was hearing in another part of the room. (laughing, I think!)

dc said...

It is hard not to overhear things at work, but the only time I ear hustle (my term) is when it involves anything about my job itself. I personally don't care about other people's lives. lol

Florinda said...

I'm fortunate not to work in a cube farm, but I have in the past, and it always amazes me how people forget - or don't care - that those walls don't go all the way up or have doors. All the same, you can overhear some interesting stuff - some of which, as you mention, turns out to be good to know.

Then again, sometimes you end up knowing WAY more than you want to about your co-workers' personal lives.

We're having Internet issues too. Is something going around?

Mike said...

Karen: At our place it's either laughing or complaining. Mostly complaining.

DC: For the most part, I don't care either. I just don't have a choice on what I hear. :)

Florinda: You're lucky. I'd much rather not have to listen to other people. :)

Do you have Comcast? I think they are making some changes that is screwing things up as they are working. Just a guess.