Less talkie, more workie.
February 21, 2014 2:22 PM Subscribe
I work in a small office environment: there's me, two other people who do the same job that I do, my boss, and his administrative person. I genuinely like everyone that I work with, which is wonderful. However, I'm encountering a problem with my boss's administrative person, who I'll call Cathy. Cathy has an irritating habit of cornering me and my co-workers into long "conversations" that eat up a lot of my workday, and I don't know what to do about it.
posted by sevensnowflakes to Human Relations (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I say "conversations" because they aren't really conversations; Cathy has a seemingly inexhaustible capacity to talk and talk and talk and talk. The content of these conversations is wide-ranging; she'll rant about work, about home, about medical problems, about pretty much anything. She's the kind of talker who transitions seamlessly from one topic into another without pausing and she tells stories in great detail, leaving zero space for introjection and making it nearly impossible to gracefully exit. An example: today I was the first person to return to the office from lunch. I immediately went into the kitchen area to grab a glass of water. Cathy swooped into the kitchen and began talking at me. I moved from the kitchen toward my office; she followed me. I was stuck listening to her go on and on for almost 30 minutes before another coworker arrived and asked her a question, allowing me to retreat to my office.
I am not the only one who finds it impossible to break free from Cathy once she starts on a rant. The other day my (very polite and sweet) coworker was alone in the office with Cathy and later told me in a gently frustrated way that she finds it very difficult to get work done when she is alone with Cathy in the office.
To make matters worse, Cathy is primarily responsible for answering the telephone. But because Cathy is often sitting in one of my coworkers' offices, talking, rather than sitting at her desk, I - and whichever other coworker Cathy is not monopolizing - end up answering the phone instead. This is a small thing, but my work requires concentration and it is hard to concentrate when I'm constantly being interrupted by having to answer the phone.
I don't want to seem like a bitch, because I really do like Cathy despite this annoying habit of hers, and I don't want to alienate Cathy by directly addressing this with my boss. Do I just have to suck it up and deal? Any tips on gracefully exiting when I find myself the target of a long rant? I am new to this sort of office and I've never dealt with something like this before. Help!