Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Yesterday I had the STRANGEST experience at work.

I had an accounting question on one of my files, so I sent an email to my accounting buddy to ask her to look into it.  I didn't get a response within a few minutes, and I didn't want to move on to another case without resolving this, so I walked down to her office.

Did I mention we have those dreaded glass walls between our office and the corridor?  (Real walls in between the offices though.)

So I could see that another attorney was in my buddy's office, working on his own accounting issue with her.  But she could see me waiting my turn.  And of course when she looked out at me waiting, he turned and saw me, so he knew there was a line.  He got done, I went in.  She pulled up my email, then opened the file on the system.

I walked around her desk so I could look over her shoulder at her computer and show her where I thought the entry issue was.

-- As an aside, I always think of that as the "sexual harasser position."  Too many workplace videos on preventing sexual harassment in the office I guess.  In those videos, things often go south when someone crosses the desk line in an office.  The boss looking over the employee's shoulder starts giving a shoulder massage or something.  Haha. 

I was looking at the screen and my buddy and I were talking about how the funds posted, where, etc.  We'd been working on the issue for probably 60-90 seconds, when this new secretary walks into my buddy's office.  Just hired in the last month (I've never even been introduced to her actually, but I'd assume she knows I'm an attorney, given that I have an office, not a cube, and only attorneys and my accounting buddy have offices).  She just walked right in -- not waiting outside the office for me to finish (with glass walls, this kind of "lurking" is very common in our office). 

And then the new secretary says something like, "Gene [one of the attorneys she handles] is out of the office this week, and I'm trying to set up his new files and his instructions aren't very clear and I don't know how to enter the location code." 

I kind of just stood there in stunned silence.

My accounting buddy sat for a second, also pretty surprised, then she called out of her office to her assistant, who sits directly outside, and asked her to walk the new secretary through location codes.  The new secretary said something to my accounting buddy like, "oh, sorry, does she [accounting buddy assistant] know more?"  My accounting buddy said something like, "uh, well, she can help you with location codes, I'm working on something else right now [and kind of nodded her head toward me]."  And then the new secretary followed my accounting buddy's assistant back to her desk to figure out how to enter location codes.

I was like, "am I invisible????"

It was so weird!  It wasn't like the new secretary poked her head into my buddy's office and said, "sorry to interrupt," or "I just have a real quick question."  Both of those would have been fine, and understandable, particularly if my issue was going to take more than 5 minutes.  But no, she just came in and started talking, like I wasn't there.  My friend agreed it was certainly the weirdest office event of the month, maybe longer.  We laughed for a while and were again joking today about whether or not she can actually see me. 


  1. I am always baffled by people who seem to be unaware of the world around them and either have no social skills or are just plain rude. I'm a little old fashioned I suppose. I am trying so hard to teach my son to look people in the eye when he speaks to them, greet people, and say excuse me if others are talking. When I worked at the hospital, I was taken aback when new staff would refer to the psychiatrists by their first names rather than Dr. so and so. I laughed when I read your comment about the sexual harasser position. We have to do annual education on topics like appropriate workplace behavior. You're absolutely right whenever the topic of sexual harassment comes up there is typically a man standing behind a women sitting at a desk. Creepy!

    1. We just worked at Big Bros/Sis this weekend and there was some kid who is clearly on the same curriculum you're using -- he came up to us and shook hands and looked us in the eye when he said goodbye. It totally caught us off guard! Not good at guessing ages but he was maybe 8? 10? It was so cute but also of course such a good habit!

  2. I agree - many of us, particularly those inclined to be polite and respectful of others, are astonished at that level of rudeness. There have been way too many times where someone talks through myself or someone else - not in that 'join the conversation and get overzealous' way, but just as if nothing is being said so they plan to take over and go in whatever direction they please.

    And sadly too often we're a bit astonished and the moment passes without anything being said to correct the situation or behavior.

    But seriously - ugh!

    As for the "sexual harasser position" - it is really true, and my assumption is it is in so many training videos because it is an immediately awkward situation with either a man looking down or a woman standing up ... anything other than a natural eye-to-eye level discussion.

    And reading that I thought about the 'Came Secret' commercial -

    Our desks - even in offices of all but the most senior non-technical executives - have a corner setup and typically dual 24"+ monitors. It is wonderful - I have an extra chair in my office so with any visitor we can sit face to face and can easily turn to show things on the screen without the need for any uncomfortable 'in your space' situations.

    1. Yeah, we have chairs in our offices, but non-eye level conversations are frequent b/c lots of times my boss or I just stand in each other's door way to discuss. But my screens don't rotate (nor do his), so if we have to both be looking at the screen, totally sexual harasser position... But we don't look at screens together often, and my boss would never do that. But it's funny that it's always that position in the videos!

  3. Very odd! My only explanation was that she was so frustrated that she had blinders on when she went in search of an answer. But that's no excuse because as a new employee, you would want to be extra courteous and make a good impression on everyone!