Friday, January 22, 2010

A Guy Walks into an Office

I'm in my office, just making sure things are set for Monday. My colleague in the next office is in, too, with his door closed, chatting to another colleague.

A man knocks on my colleague's door. The door opens, and the man steps in, saying something about how oh, he doesn't want to interrupt. But now he's in the room.

The second colleague excuses herself, and the man says he needs to talk to my colleague before the second day of classes. My colleague says he just got back to town and is busy, but will make an appointment for next week. And then man basically sits himself down and takes over the office.

Why do so many people just barge in like that? (You know it's not just this one man, right?)

(Yes, my colleague could have kicked him out, but not without being abruptly rude, and we know how that goes down with the evals and all.)


  1. My office is in a suite that has a big conference room attached; we use it for workshops. I was running a workshop in the big room last week, for a subgroup of faculty in a special program; some of them were in the teaching and learning center next door working with someone else. When I came out of the conference room at the close of my part, and was ready to go back into my own office, I found one of the faculty from the other group sitting in my office talking on his cell phone. What makes people think they can just walk into someone else's space like that?

    So no answer to your question, just another version from my own experience.

  2. I didn't lock my computer when I left my office today to grab a quick lunch. My door was closed and the light was out so I assumed no one would enter my office.

    I returned about 15 minutes later to find someone else using my computer. She had "helpfully" logged me off so as to avoid viewing the confidential information that might have been on the screen. In the process she neglected to save the documents that were open and I lost some work I was frantically trying to finish before the weekend.

    The icing on the cupcake? She seemed indignant that I would return from lunch so quickly that she didn't have time to finish reading her personal email. Really?

  3. I would have dealt with the rude interruption by pulling out my calendar and saying, "I really can't meet with you now, so how about next Monday at 2?" (or whatever). That is not a rude response. And frankly, anyone who barges in uninvited does not deserve to get rewarded for such behavior. If evaluations are a concern, document any such interactions, especially if there's an ongoing problem with one person.