When working in an office, you are entering into a relationship with a group of strangers that you previously would have no reason to be around. Sometimes you are able to work with people that connect with you and share your same ideas, interest, and humor. Sometimes you are forced to work with people who are your polar opposites. Working with people different from yourself is good though. It can force you out of your routine, develop skills on how to deal with other personalities, and allow you to play some of the best practical jokes ever.
When I worked for Quatris Health, a small re-seller of medical software, I had an office between two people: Chris, my supervisor at the time, and Karen, another co-worker in the accounting department. These two could not be more opposite, but they did have one thing in common, they didn’t like using the overhead lighting in their offices, but preferred to use a floor lamp. For the most part they seemed to work in harmony, never bothering each other. Until the day that one of the light bulbs died and Chris was left in the dark.
New light bulbs had been ordered, but before they arrived, Chris decided to borrow Karen’s light bulb while she was at lunch. The next day, Karen noticed (you read that correctly, she didn’t know that her office was dark for an entire afternoon). She then took back her light bulb from Chris’s lamp. When Chris came into work, he waited and took the light bulb back. Back and forth it went from office to office. Finally, in our weekly department meeting, it was brought up. Karen asked if she could please have her light bulb back and wanted Chris to stop taking it. That was when I offered up a solution.
“Karen, you know what we do in our house?” I asked. “We take a sharpie marker and write our names on the light bulb so that we always know where they belong.”
Chris and I were silent after the comment. Both of us were waiting to hear someone speak up calling my statement into question, but no one did. A group of professional adults accepted that as a normal action. It was never brought up again and the light bulb replacements were delivered that afternoon. All was well in the office.
Skip ahead six months later.
Karen was no longer with the company and we were moving offices. Everything had to be packed up and ready for the movers. Since Karen was no longer an employee, Chris and I had to pack up the items in her old office. As we were packing up the effects from her desk and filing cabinets, Chris was moving the floor lamp out of her office. He took the light bulb out to disassemble the floor lamp and noticed that Karen had in fact written her name on the bottom of the light bulb. We kept that light bulb long after it had burned out as a trophy of how gullible someone can be. I wish we could of asked her about it. Did she actually believe that people write their names on their light bulbs?