I am about to illustrate just how you can get into trouble simply by trying to mind your own business: You’ve just gotten off the elevator on your floor where you work. As you make your way to your office with your laptop bag you greet the security officer lady who’s got other intentions. She’s the one manning the desk, visitor’s register and phone on that floor (I lay emphasis on the security officer’s responsibilities because she already has a lot on her plate and shouldn’t be expected to do much else). You’re coping okay with your light load but suddenly the security officer leaves her desk and runs over to assist you. You politely say ‘No’ – big mistake!
She keeps insisting to help carry your laptop bag and she grabs the bag strap (You already know how ‘eye-service’ leads to hopes for cash tips later). You tug the bag strap gently away from her but she has a strong grip. You’re smiling diplomatically and still telling her politely that you don’t need her help. She smiles too and tells you it’s no big deal…after all, you’re a boss to her. She means well but you don’t need someone trailing you to your desk carrying your laptop bag. You summon up the courage and strength to end this mini tug-o-war and then you finally yank the bag strap from her grip – big mistake no. 2!
You’ve just taken this scenario into hostile mode. She accuses you of being unreasonable. She gives you a weird look as if you’ve got a problem that not even Nobel-winning scientists can solve. But of course, what kind of weirdo refuses to allow a security officer lady to carry their laptop bag? Oh I remember, YOU! She goes back to her desk and from where you’re standing you notice her murmur something to a member of staff who just got off the elevator. They both turn to look at you and then they simultaneously shake their heads. What the hell have you done? All this drama because you didn’t allow someone carry your laptop bag? Curiosity gets the better of you so you decide to go over and confront the security officer lady – need I say it? big mistake no. 3!
The other staff member walks away and you ask the security officer what she had said. She takes a page from your book and politely says, ‘Nothing’. You demand and answer and she asks you to stop harassing her. At that precise moment the elevator opens and out comes your boss who asks the both of you what’s going on. In your sudden state of shock the last word you remember is the only one you can utter, ‘Nothing’. But your boss says he thought she just heard the security officer say you were harassing her. You’re dumbfounded. The security officer speaks up and with a sheepish, innocent smile, tells your boss that everything is okay. Your boss asks you why you’re out here when you’re supposed to be at your desk. Again, you’re speechless. As he walks off he suggests that you spend your time meeting your targets instead of hanging around the elevator lobby. Aaargh!!! But you were on your way to the office until this hullabaloo! HOW ON EARTH DID ALL THIS BECOME YOUR FAULT? IS THE WORLD GOING CRAZY?
Learning point: Leave your laptop bag in the office overnight.