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Author Topic: so...I should eavesdrop from now on?  (Read 2786 times)

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so...I should eavesdrop from now on?
« on: September 12, 2012, 03:40:38 PM »
The other day Coworker 1 was confused about a work issue and was talking to Coworker 2 about it, who was in the cubicle next to mine. I wasn't really paying attention to their conversation and just doing my own thing in my own cubicle. After a while, I guess the coworkers found out that something I had done was responsible for the confusion, and Coworker 1 called me over. I explained what was going on. Later, Coworker 1 sorta snippily asked me, "You heard us talking about that the entire time, didn't you? And you didn't say anything then?"

I just said, "Uh... well, I was sorta in my own zone and not really listening," upon which Coworker 1 just sniffed and told me that I should be. I was annoyed at her response, but just laughed and went back to my desk.

Honestly, I think my coworker was being unreasonable because there are multiple work conversations going on all the time and I shouldn't be expected to just eavesdrop when I'm trying to concentrate on my own work. But I'm admittedly biased, because my coworker is a grumbly, waspish sort who is always complaining about something*. So I need a more objective perspective: Was my coworker unreasonable or not?

* I've lost count of the number of times I've heard her say that she hates this or that coworker. If we weren't in the same room, she'd probably be talking about how much she hates me, too. When another coworker in a different department told me that she thought Coworker 1 hated her, I told her, "Dude, she hates everyone, don't worry about it." Honestly, I probably try to tune her out more than I do other people because I'm sick and tired of listening to her complaints. I don't think telling her that would be appropriate, though.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 06:59:09 PM by blahblahblah »


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Re: so...I should eavesdrop from now on?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 03:47:00 PM »
My rule is, if I don't hear my name it has nothing to do with me. I only had to tell someone that once, at a previous job; people generally don't assume their coworkers are always listening. The opposite is generally assumed, really.
A real desire to believe all the good you can of others and to make others as comfortable as you can will solve most of the problems. CS Lewis


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Re: so...I should eavesdrop from now on?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 05:11:44 PM »
That drives me CRAZY!!! Why on earth would I be listening to a conversation that I have no part in? My boss does this consistently. She talks to herself a large part of the day, and also to others. I don't even know she's addressing me until she raises her voice and says "MrsCrazyPete, aren't you listening to me?!" Every time, I tell her that she must get my attention first if she wants to talk to me.

You were completely fine in your actions and in your response. Yeah, what a headache she sounds like!
Sell crazy somewhere else, we're all stocked up here.


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Re: so...I should eavesdrop from now on?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 06:13:32 PM »
Only listen to the juicy gossip, then report here.  >:D

Seriously, CW was unreasonable and your response was perfectly fine.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I suppose I was an eavesdropper of sorts. When certain projects were mentioned (maybe something that I had worked on in the past or had inside info) or if my name was mentioned I would tune into the conversation. (This pretty much started happening when I was stand-in Boss for a while and knew what everybody was working on.)

Then I would jump in with answers . . . kinda like what your CW said that she wants you to do. I started getting a cool-shoulder feeling "Oh. Here's Miss Know-it-all jumping in with the answer again." ::)

Yeah. I scaled back quite a bit and now jump in only if there's something dire/important/missed. Even then I ask "I heard snippets of you talking about Xproject. Is there maybe something I can help you with?"

That being said . . . I betcha that if you did jump in and say something, CW would comment about you being a "Miss Know-it-all" and they were doing perfectly fine all by themselves. They didn't need your help. Thankyouverymuch.

So, of the two sides of the coin, I think your way is far better and much more polite.