Monday, October 02, 2006

Office Gossip...Sex, Politics, & Religion

99.9% of the time I eat lunch outside of the office. I like getting out of the office, meeting friends, and having a complete break from work. On a few occasions, however, I've gotten take-out and eaten in the break room where some of our staff eats their lunch. In comparison to the coworkers (attorneys) I sometimes eat lunch with, the ladies in the break room can seem like a complaining and gossiping bunch, although I suspect it's one ringleader that stirs them all up. And admittedly, my firm doesn't take human resources very seriously; I see so many ways we could encourage and support employees and have even mentioned several to our firm administrator, but the firm just isn't interested in things like that. It's really too bad.

So one day I joined them in the middle of a conversation about "certain people" (who it seemed like they had named before I joined them) who don't always wash their hands after using the restroom. This conversation seemed like it lasted five minutes. In an attempt to quell their outrage, I suggested that perhaps some people kept anti-bacterial lotions in their desk drawer and simply used that instead of drying out their hands with soap with repeated washings.

Anyway, I saw one of the participants "wash" her hands the other day. The washing included wetting her hands—no soap and 5 seconds of water. I'm not sure what the point was, but in her mind, that makes her superior to the women she was criticizing the other day. I personally don't get wound up about whether or not someone washes their hands, although I admit that I don't understand the point of wetting your hands--but whatever.

So all of this prompted me to think about lunch conversations in general. While I certainly don't mind lunching with coworkers and sometimes enjoy it, we never talk about anything beside ourselves (and our close friends, family, etc.). Granted it's better than when I taught elementary school and the teachers would share graphic details about their babies' bowel movements/eating habits and other stuff that was incredibly boring (not to mention gross). And as you know from my blog, I don't mind talking about myself and I love knowing what is going on with my friends' lives and feeling like I really know someone. But when my friend Charles worked at the firm this summer we'd talk about our faith, religious beliefs, the world, etc., and it was a lovely break from the monotony of just talking about weekend plans, etc.

I guess I would have thought that a bunch of lawyers would at least occasionally talk about politics or world events, but perhaps they all heed the advice my father gave me a long time ago—and that's to not talk about sex, politics, or religion. Needless to say I believe that excludes some of my most favorite discussion topics, and therefore I haven't abided by his recommendation. Anyway all of this made me think of a saying on a plaque in my step-father's old office: "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt. I discuss all three, so I'm not sure what that means, but I'm sure I'd be well served to focus more on God and ideas than other people (and what they are or are not discussing in the breakroom!).

p.s. Another side note about Grey's--I'm glad they are adding another hot guy (McSteamy) to the cast.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

One word for McSteamy...HOT.

kimberly said...

I'd say we're all great, average and small. I like that you observe the process of the conversation instead of just getting swept away in it. I would definitely agree that one negative person can contaminate a whole entire office...it can be hard to resist that negative energy but it is so poisonous!!!
p.s. I haven't seen New Guy yet on Gret's Anatomy...will have to research.

cdp said...

I routinely pass up the bathroom sinks at my firm and opt for the hand sanitizer at my desk. If someone else is looking, though; I wash my hands, lest I be discussed in the breakroom.

I discuss all three as well, though I agree it is nice to have something a little more elevated (or interesting) than "what did you do last night?" to talk about.

Finally, McSteamy is hot. Ditto on all points.

Anonymous said...

I tend to break the "me me me" monotony with current even talk.. which then leads into our own opinions on sex, religion and politics. I've discovered that everyone wants to talk about sex.. no one wants to talk about religion... and people cringe when you bring up politics but often give their 2 second view.

Aaron said...

I don't work for a lawyer's office, so I don't encounter much negative chit-chat over lunch. :P

Sex & Moxie said...

There's always that one person in every office who like sot be the source of gossip or drama. Ironically, they're usually the same person that people "forget" to invite out for drinks after work or for whom people always make sure they're on the phone for then they walk by their office.

They're rather toxic people. Enjoyable at a distance but you never want to get to close to them.

Anonymous said...

Ally, having been as associate of your dad for many years you misquoted him slightly . It was on "religion and politics" that he said to never argue with anyone as there will never be a winner. He also attributed that to Ben Franklin or at least someone at least a hundred years older. It is easy to see how a very wise Eleanor Roosevelt would have made such a statement as she knew that her husband FDR was having a well known affair with a lady? for years who was supposedly even with him at Warm Springs,Ga. when he died and was swept away just after he died. This all came public knowledge in past 20 years or so. Eleanor , herself, was supposedly very friendly with a black man which would have been political suicide at that time but that may only have been a rumor. Point being what Eleanor said may have be "self-serving" even if there may be some truth in it. Dr. Ridge

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