I am employed as a behavior coder for a study being headed by a professor at my university. Just as some background information, so that you will understand what happens, you may need to know what my job entails and how the room is set up. My job involves viewing segments of the videotaped interviews of the participating families and then scoring certain behaviors based on a scale. I need to be able to hear the video clearly, as well, as the coding involves scoring what is said by the people involved in the interaction. The room is a smallish computer lab,with five or six computers separated by half-walls, as well as a table and chairs (for meetings), and cabinets containing the items used on interviews.
I enjoy my job and take it very seriously. To me, it is a great honor to be working on such a study. However, there are some individuals who have made my job less enjoyable than I would like. These young ladies, who are also coders (but code a different type of interaction than I do), seem to be unable to grasp the concept of “inside voices,” despite my frequent requests for them to lower their voices. Despite wearing headphones designed to block out most noise, I can still hear their conversations quite clearly, without even trying. How clearly? Well, I know that at least one of them thinks dry weddings are extremely tacky, one of them is engaged to a gentleman roughly twenty years her senior who has a vasectomy, that said individual is not on birth control, virtually every detail of her wedding plans, and so forth. Indeed, they are aware that they are discussing some personal issues at times, as the vasectomy information was prefaced with, “This might be TMI for some of you, but…” After hearing that, I was tempted to yell, “It is TMI! I don’t need to know anything related to you and your fiance’s Scrabble life.” Even after I collected my belongings from my cubicle and walked past them, they continued their discussion.
I don’t know their names, but I swear, I know pretty much every other detail about their lives! 0625-09
Prefacing information with, “This may be TMI…,” is not a mystical talisman that magically makes the information about to shared not be TMI. If you have to preface it, it undoubtably is TMI.