Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 9, Issue 11;   March 18, 2009: Pet Peeves About Work

Pet Peeves About Work

by

Everybody has pet peeves about work. Here's a collection drawn from my own life, the lives of others, and my vivid imagination.
A speakerphone of a type in common use for teleconferences

A speakerphone of a type in common use for teleconferences. Some speakerphones, and some telephone connections, are half-duplex. That is, they permit transmission in only one direction at a time. Half-duplex facilities usually work just fine, but when someone is speaking, and one of the listeners wants to interrupt, the connection prohibits the interruption. Conversations over such connections are extremely frustrating.

I hate:

  • …that when you fall asleep on your keyboard, your face gets quilted.
  • …that my keyboard isn't drool-proof.
  • …that I can no longer see what's going on behind me because my new monitor has a no-glare screen.
  • …that there isn't any part of my monitor to clip my bicycle mirror to, and people laugh at me when I wear my helmet at work.
  • …that the woman from QA always interrupts me whenever I'm interrupting her.
  • …speakerphones that won't let you interrupt while someone at the other end is talking.
  • …that Windows crashes so often.
  • …that Windows doesn't crash often enough to be a reliable excuse for anything.
  • …that when you set the cell phones they give us on vibrate, you can still hear them.
  • …that my boss gives me bad advice that I have to follow.
  • …that when I follow my boss's bad advice and the thing implodes, it's my fault.
  • …that when someone calls me on a bad cell phone connection from under the airport public address system, I have to make up both ends of the conversation.
  • …that to tell whether the sun is shining I have to badge out.
  • …that nobody knows what business casual really means.
  • …that meetings start and end on the hour, with no time in between, so all our meetings start late.
  • …that I get more email than I can possibly read. If anyone really wants to reach me, they text me.
  • I hate that nobody knows
    what business casual
    really means
    …that I get more text messages that I can possibly read. If anyone really wants to reach me, they call me.
  • …that I get more voicemail than I can possibly listen to. If anyone really wants to reach me, they send me email.
  • …when they change a procedure nobody ever actually followed to some new, more complicated procedure that nobody will ever actually follow.
  • …when people CC me so I'll know that one of my direct reports screwed up again. Do they think I don't already know?
  • …when my boss tells me what she firmly believes, then asks for my honest opinion.
  • …that our whiteboard markers are always dry. I think they must come that way out of the box.
  • …when someone puts me on speaker and it's just us on the call, I know they're doing something with their hands but I can't imagine what.
  • …when I have to drop the 17 things I'm doing to get training in managing multiple tasks.
  • …when a drop dead showstopper problem that I've been busting my tail to resolve for three weeks is suddenly reclassified as non-critical just after I fix it.

I'm sure you have some pet peeves of your own. Don't send them to me. I hate that. (just kidding) Go to top Top  Next issue: Coping with Layoff Survival  Next Issue

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When we feel the need to interrupt someone who's speaking in a meeting, to offer a view or information, we would do well to consider (and mitigate) the risk of giving offense. Here are some techniques for interrupting the speaker in situations not addressed by the meeting's formal process. Available here and by RSS on July 4.

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