Sunday, November 14, 2010

Whistle while you work

Nothing makes a day (or night, in my case) of work go by slower than silence. Especially a strained or forced silence. This is geared to those professions that do not directly deal with the public.

Every day, millions of people get up and go spend 8 hours a day with a set of people they see as much or more of than their own families. You spend at least 40 hours a week with these people; you get to know each other. In some cases you might make a few friends out of it. Some are more or less acquaintances, and others you downright despise.

People have a tendency to talk to one another. It's only natural to do so. Because we wind up spending so much time together at work, you find that maybe you have similar movie or book interests. Sometimes you want to tell a funny story because you know your co-workers have a similar sense of humor and you'll know they'll find it funny, too. But most of all, you talk while you work to make the day go by faster.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees to this. Managers hate to discover that their minions are doing more talking than working. They hate when they realize that their minions are having far too much fun while at work. They hate not being involved in said fun.

I find this to be true. In my experience, when the managers are a part of the loudness and the laughter, they don't really give a snit. However, when they are working or sitting in their office and they can't be a part of it, they "politely" tell us to shut it.

Lately, my job has been pretty stressful. For those of us on the front lines, we feel that we are incredibly short staffed. We are busting our collective asses to get the job done on time. When one person is on vacation, we don't have enough coverage. This is because we have to rotate weekends so during the week there is always someone off on any given weekday. It's tough when someone is scheduled "off", but when you add in "vacations" or "sick time" we are screwed. Simply put, there's not enough minions to cover yet we are expected to do so.

With all the staffing stress, we also deal with machine stress. While mechanization is extremely handy in our profession, it's also a headache. Why? Machines apparently have minds of their own; or rather, they have temper tantrums. Case in point - last night, one of our analyzers decided it couldn't figure out how to replace a reagent. This was definitely not operator error, it was a simple matter of the machine not figuring out that the box of reagent was in fact full, but apparently it didn't want to suck it up. I had to call service, who decided the best option would be to send out our local service engineer on Monday morning to take a look at it. Our analyzers have issues, folks. Some nights I swear they all are stuck in the "terrible twos".

On top of staffing issues and analyzer issues, then you have personal conflicts. We can't all get along. I mean, where's the fun in that? Whatever conflicts you have with another co-worker can massively affect how your day at work will go.

Either way, there's quite a bit of stress in all our jobs. My job is no different. I have a permanent knot in my right shoulder from my job. Just ask my mother, she's tried rubbing it out on several occasions. But that's where the laughter comes in. Laughter helps melt away some of that stress. In all reality, if you can't joke about it, it's not a good sign. However, we do have a tendency to get a bit loud sometimes without realizing it, and that's when people will complain. But the complainers have a tendency to make it look like we were standing around doing nothing while talking and laughing real loud. It's actually pretty rare that we're doing that. Most of us can talk and work at the same time, and that's typically how it happens.

I myself wind up getting in trouble for talking. Not so much for the talking part, but because I was blessed with a nice set of lungs. Meaning, I can be a bit on the loud side. Now, I don't try to be loud, it just unfortunately happens. So, I get in trouble most often because people can hear me. However, I'm not sitting there talking and laughing with myself now am I? No. Why? Because I don't require a straight jacket, an IV full of meds, nor a padded cell. Thank. You. Very. Much.

My favorite complainers of the loud talking are the managers. Who can be quite loud on their own. Considering they have conversations that are being hollered from one department to another. And half the time they can barely hear or understand what the other is saying. If you need a reminder of the types of conversations these folks will have, please go here, to my very first blog to get a taste.

My second favorite complainers are those that often feel "left out" of said fun. And love to complain about everything anyway, so why not about the fun that's going on without them?

So, to those that complain about those of that can talk and laugh while at work: Get a life. Just because you're not involved in said fun, doesn't mean you have to suck it all out of the room. Don't go tattling on us to the managers later that we weren't doing anything. Because oddly enough, all the shit still got done. Pretty much on time, too. Go suck the fun out of another room, ya funsuckers.


  1. J--I wrote this really long response to this posting and then some how deleted it. Just want u to know, u are a great person, and totally dependable. I enjoy working with u and we rocked the lab on saturday night.
    I am also sick and tired of everything u have listed in this posting. The work environment is unbearble anymore. Everytime I clock in I try to determine how long it is going to take me to finish school and get the heck out of the lab. The pressure put on us is tooooo much to handle. From now on we talk and talk and talk as much as possible.
    Here is the comment I plan to provide during an interview " why did u leave your other job, because the management in the lab suck ass, they have no idea how to handle their own life so they take it out on the people who actually perform their duties."
    I enjoy my coworkers, I like to hear about current movies, books, trips, etc.... so what is the big deal. Talking is human nature, never have I felt as angry about something as I do right now.
    I am totally happy u posted this and want to remind u that u are a wonderful person, and I do like working with u. Will u b on my team? hahhehehe lol Sheree

  2. Thanks, Sheree. I'm always on your team! lol I don't see a problem with talking as long as we're still working away. I just wish Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb saw it that way, too. They have no idea how relaxed all of us are when they are off! lol

  3. I'm in total agreement with Sheree Jamie. If it makes you feel better, they have now moved on to our department as the new whipping post! We are too loud, lazy and do NOTHING all night (However, we are required to process 1/4 to 1/3 of our own specimens and they treat us like the fecal matter we are processing. Since when did Processors become higher than technologists and get to order them around? Sadly, those darn creditors expect to be paid! I'm tired of the Trilogy of Terror treating me like dirt! My personal favorite was where they made fun of me (in front of me-deliberately!)because I have carpal tunnel really badly in both wrists and they were saying I was faking it. I haven't even filed a "Head's Up" report or complained about it. I'm afraid to. It's insane.


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