Silence Is Golden

If Austin, Texas had a store that sold fireworks, heavy metal music, and recordings from airport tarmacs, I have no doubt that they would eventually need to call my office and ask us to keep the noise down.

Once upon a time I wanted to be a lawyer. I believe that this was due to an unfortunate combination of high salaries, low math requirements, and the unparalleled prose of Mr. John Grisham. When I finished my undergraduate degree, I decided to work in the legal field before making the jump to law school, if only to confirm that law was the right field for me (it wasn’t). I have a lot of fond memories of my colleagues, but even more fond memories of the quiet, almost church like atmosphere in which I used to work. For those who know me personally, I hope you’ll appreciate the irony of that last statement.

Fast forwarding to today, the atmosphere in which I work now is, in a word, different. Noises that I’ve grown accustomed to in our office include salespeople pacing back and forth past my desk while shouting into their headsets (whoever invented the wireless headset should die a thousand deaths), random shouts of joy and/or angst, a large door knocker being struck with extreme prejudice, slow claps that build to a round of applause for seemingly no reason, and the sound of a fist being smashed into a keyboard out of frustration. To be fair, the last one is usually me.

I suppose I could tell you that it’s alright, that I’ve learned to deal with it, and that “boys will be boys.” If I did, I’d be lying. The truth is, it’s a constant pain in my ass to work in a circus, and it has a very negative impact on my work. Unfortunately, I can only write at what I consider to be a high level in absolute silence, and since a lot of my job deals with email correspondence, I’m not entirely sure what I’m sending to people half the time. A while back, I struck a deal with my manager that enables me to work from home once a week, and it’s been an absolute godsend. I would venture to say I get more done on that one day every week than I do for every 2 days I’m in the office. By my math, that should mean that I only have to work 4 days a week. However, as my degree is in Psychology, I’m sure I’ve got a decimal in the wrong place or something.

I’m writing this now in one of our conference rooms, which is my one sanctuary at the office. I’ve discovered that as long as I shut both the doors, keep the lights down, and face the window with a pissed off look on my face, people will generally leave me alone. Some may consider that antisocial, but all I want to do is write good. In the end, it just goes to show you. Silence may be golden, but a pissed off look and gruff demeanor is pure platinum.

P.S. – “all I want to do is write good” was intended irony. Mom, in the event that you ever read this blog, the rules of grammar are trumped by the rules of comedy.

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