I have been at my new job (since I unceremoniously lost my last job) for almost a year now. Without going into too much detail about what my new job entails, let's just say that it requires me to remain extremely focused, as I must keep track of many things that occur simultaneously. I don't have any issue with being focused. However, there are certain extraneous factors that serve as regular distractions in an attempt to break my necessary concentration.
My workplace is arranged as an open work space. That means no individual offices. My desk is pushed against a wall. Other employees desks are pushed against other walls. Since the entire place is so small, we are all in very, very close proximity to one another. This is not helpful in maintaining the attention to detail required for me to do my job. I do my best to tune out the superfluous conversation from my co-workers (and I use the term "co-workers" very, very loosely), until is it just a bunch of indiscernible white noise. but sometimes I cannot help but hear the inane exchanges.
A mere six or so feet away from me is a bank of half cubicles. Seated at these mini-desks are four salesmen whose sole job is to make cold calls and sell product. I have been a productive part of the working world for 35 years and, in that time, I have never met four dumber human beings. I mean seriously dumb. Stupid. Moronic. Sure, we have all called someone "dumb" at one point in our lives and meant it as a quick insult, not really as its true definition. But, my saying that these guys are dumb couldn't be a more suitable description. No exaggeration. I swear. I honestly can't understand how these guys function. I find it difficult to believe that they don't ask for directions to work every day and then ask for directions back to their homes at the end of the day... if they even have homes. For guys whose job is to talk on the phone, they speak as though they have never addressed another person in their lives and as though they didn't just deliver the exact same sales pitch two minutes earlier.
But it's the between-sales-calls conversation that I find most maddening and most puzzling.
The amount of "down-time" these guys seem to have is astounding, considering they work purely on commission. And that "down-time" is filled with some of the most nonsensical drivel I have ever heard. During football season, the conversation was a riveting, in-depth discussion and analyzation of every single play of every single game that transpired over the past day. However, to hear the conversation, you would suspect that none of these guys had ever watched a football game before. I am not a football fan — hell, I have only watched one football game in my life — but I knew more about what they were confused by. Every week, from August thru the first week of February, I heard the same thing. I heard more speculation and repeated cliches about Nick Foles and Carson Wentz (two Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks) than I heard on the evening news. Once football season ended, I assumed the football talk would end, too. It didn't. Old conversations were rehashed with the same uninformed tone as previous.
Sometimes, non-football talk takes over the conversation. Just this week, there was a heated debate about The Three Stooges, including a sub-discussion about which Stooge was which. They actually went on for ten minutes trying to recall the member of the slapstick trio with "the curly red hair and the bald spot on top."
They have discussed music, movies and television, stores that are no longer in business, stores that may go out of business, current events and things they "sort of" remember from their childhoods — all with the intellectual grasp of a small, overripe turnip. They get names wrong. They get titles wrong. They get simple details wrong. Anything that can be gotten wrong, they get wrong. They are collectively uninformed and collectively misinformed.
At first it was entertaining. But now it is infuriating. It impedes on my work and that is not acceptable. Granted, I have a shitty job and I work for a shitty company, but I still take pride in my work output. I always have and I always will until I am scraped off the floor at my final place of employment.
I just hope the floor of this snake pit isn't the one from which I am scraped.