The Cubicle Farm is a Battlefield: The Introvert and the TBMs

Why oh why, do Americans have to spend so much time in the workplace?  We’re one of the hardest working countries in the Developed World and we receive and use the least amount of vacation days.

In my last post about office life, I lamented about the loss of physical and personal boundaries and the energy vampires, Overly familiar Fred and Habitual line-stepper Harriet, that roam the cubicle farm looking for fresh introverts to feed off.  Once you spot the energy vampires, you can pretty much come up with a plan to avoid them or severely limit contact.

However, there is much more sinister creature out there in the cubicle farmlands of America: That Bitch Molly.   TBMs just come to work to make life miserable for people.  Nothing you will do or say will ever be right in a TBM’s eyes because their hostility amps are always on 11.  They approach every single situation as if you are their mortal enemy and you must be destroyed.  I’ve found the majority of the time, TBMs zero in and mistreat people to demonstrate their power and/or feel better about their own insecurities.

Example:
TBM: Peter, what time is it?
Peter: It’s noon.
TBM: <looks down and double checks his/her watch> Actually, it’s 12:01 and 48 seconds.  <walks off in a huff and proceeds to tell the whole office how Peter purposely gave him/her the wrong time>
Peter:

TBMs would annoying to any damn body, but they are soul-crushing to introverts. TBMs carry so much negative energy and they try damnedest to transfer that negativity on to you.  As introverts, we are very empathetic such that we can’t help but to take TBMs’ foolywang personally and start internalizing their malicious vibes.

It defies logic for someone to behave in such a manner.  Why would you come to work, or any place else for that matter, and be such a bitch for no damn reason? INFPs, INTPs, and INFJs are more sensitive to this behavior.  All of my friends that fall under these personality groups have really been catching hell this month from TBMs in their offices.

At my last job, I actually let TBMs get to me the point where I was complaining every day to my friends and having panic attacks.  Now I’m like:

But seriously, if TBMs are your colleagues, tell them to calm their tits.  If the TBMs are in management, now you have problems.  You can only adjust your personality, bite your tongue, and chafe under managerial TBMs for so long.  If you find yourself thinking how wonderful it would be if your TBM fell and broke a leg; it’s time to move on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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America, the Cubicle Farm, and the Introvert

This post is dedicated to Davina and all the introverts sitting in the cubicle farms explaining for the 50-11th time that “nothing is wrong.”

You know, as Americans spend an ever increasing time at the office, the boundary between the professional and the personal gets harder to maintain.

I’m content to go into the office, do my job, and go home. If I happen to become friends with some of the colleagues while there, then great. If not, I’m content with just being colleagues. I hear this same reasoning from a lot of introverts.

Deep down, I think that most people sort of get this about introverts. Now people will still ask us “what’s wrong?” or “why are you so quiet?” but there’s no malice or nitpicking behind it. American culture just values extroversion, so we introverts are seen in a curious light.

However, the bane of the common introvert’s existence in the cubicle farm is Overly familiar Fred or Habitual line-stepper Harriet (Guys can be a Harriet and Gals can be a Fred). Fred and Harriet get their “lives” so to speak at work. They try to take liberties with you because they foolishly mistake your silence for weakness.

If you don’t have a Fred or a Harriet at your office, you are truly blessed. For Fred and Harriet could test the patience of Job.

Fred is the pushy office busy-body that wants to know what everyone is doing and be everyone’s bud. How does Fred annoy the common introvert? Fred will come to your desk to discuss with you the exact time that you arrived, how many times that you went to restroom at work, what time you went to lunch, and the internet news article that you read at your desk during lunch. Do you know why? Because Fred is concerned about you, dammit! You don’t interact with Fred unless it is work related and you try your damnedest to keep the chit-chat to a minimum. Something has to be wrong with you. Come hell or high water, Fred is going to try to make you get on his level of friendliness. Fred is not necessarily a mean guy, but because he is so pushy and tries to be all in your business, you end up viewing him as an energy vampire.

Harriet is just an asshole. A tragic asshole, but still an asshole. There ain’t a nice way to put that. Unlike Fred, who annoys with you the mundane, Harriet just crosses the line of what is normal office behavior. In fact, Harriet stomps the hell out of the line and then salts the earth under the line. Chick is crazy, yo. Harriet takes the common introvert’s general silence and cordial distance as a personal damn insult. Harriet is at work to primarily socialize and feed some emotional need that she is not getting at home. If Fred is an energy vampire, then Harriet is a supermassive black hole. If she feels unloved at home, then she needs you to be her loving friend. If she feels powerless, then she tries to exercise undue power over you.

And by the way, Harriet does not tell you that you’ve been assigned to fulfill this need. You will just gradually notice that Harriet has no sense of propriety when it comes to your boundaries. Harriet is the type of colleague that will piss fire if you go to lunch without her. Harriet will get rude with you and talk out the side of her damn neck when you have to explain/remind her that she is not your supervisor. The common introvert may have to expend a lot of energy dealing with this foolish individual. See once it’s been explained to Harriet through deeds and/or words that we are just here to work, she can become hostile or an emotional land mine because we’re messing with her grand plan by not being her pawn.

For me, I’m generally cordial to the Fred’s and I try not to let my annoyance show, but I still continue on as my normal self. Deal with it.

I avoid the Harriet’s like the plague. People that cannot keep their emotions in check in a business setting are dangerous to me and I don’t have time for that.

People don’t have an ounce of shame these days

Readers,

Do you read advice columns?  I do.   My favorite has to be Ask Prudence on Slate.   She’s a riot.  Yesterday’s Ask Prudie column featured a lovely lady (sarcasm alert!) that wrote the following:

Married Boyfriend Makes Guilt Payments to Wife: I’ve been involved with a married man (don’t judge) who decided to move out and get a divorce. It came unexpectedly to his wife. He said that after nine years of marriage, he owes it to his wife to continue significant financial support until she completes her two-year course (which she hasn’t even started) and finds a job. As a result, nearly most of his income continue to go to his wife and children as though they were still living together. I understand his sympathy toward her but this is taking a toll on our lives, as well. I feel like the breadwinner in this relationship as I now support myself and my boyfriend with my income alone. He gets touchy and defensive when I ask him to agree on a more realistic amount and time frame for alimony with his wife. Is this a sign that our relationship won’t work out in the long term?

Really?  Really?  Girl, bye!

First of all, this bitch is disrespectful.  To herself and this man’s wife.  As soon as she found out that fool was married she should have told him to kick rocks, yet she stayed.  Mistake number #1.

Then, she has the unmitigated gall to act like his wife and children should drop off the face of the earth just so he can contribute more to their household.  Mistake number #2.

Now Prudie offered her a “you made your bed, now lie in it” response which much more kinder than she actually deserved.

I would have sent her this YouTube video of Peggy Scott-Adam’s blues classic Help Yourself.  In the song, a resigned wife of a cheating bastard pointedly tells the mistress that she knows all about her, but surprise, “he (the husband) doesn’t have a dime to give you or no one else.  So if you want that broke man, help yourself!

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