Office annoyances #36: the annoying voice

With every job there are good and bad parts, with fairly predictable characters and personalities; the friendly manager, the overly or underly cheerful secretary, the Eeyore coworker, the coworker who always chooses THE worst time to come over and chat, the punk intern or IT kid who thinks they know everything (and they’re usually right!), and so on. There is also usually one person who’s voice you cannot stand. It’s too nasal, or off key, or whiney, or too high-pitched, whatever. And they usually talk waaay too much.

I have discovered “the voice” in my office.

We’ll call her Mary.

Mary has a higher pitched, slightly nasally voice, but I could let that slide.

Mary speaks English as a second or possibly third language, and therefore speaks slightly slower than native English speakers, with a strong accent, and punctuated with lots of ums and errs. Again, I could usually let that go.

Mary also looooves to talk. She loves to talk so much she’ll say the exact same thing three times, rephrasing what she’s said in a new way each time. Mary will also repeat everything you say back to you and then add her own spin or input or take on the situation, and explain why she feels how she feels, often twice. She will repeat what other people say in meetings, presumably to make sure she understands the concept, so pretty much EVERY SINGLE TIME someone says something in a meeting, whether it needs clarification or not – a joke, an argument, a resolution, a comment about the coffee – it will be followed by a comment from her. Mary will also go off on tangents from what she is adding to your comment, to the point that the question “can we change that deadline to next week?” will become a 3-minute monologue. And the reason it is a monologue is because no one can get her to shut up: she speaks in one loooong run-on sentence, with each spot where there should be a pause filled instead with ums and errs or her stumbling over a word or repeating a word until she thinks she’s nailed it. And if you do try to talk over her, she JUST KEEPS GOING!

The worst part, for me anyway, is that Mary is often wrong. And at this point everybody knows that if you correct her or argue with her, you are signing yourself up for a 5-minute droning defense on why she thinks she’s right. So she gets to be wrong, a lot!

My office, like many, is fairly liberal and politically correct, so no one is going to tell the foreign lady to shut up. But MAN they should!

It’s gotten to the point now that when I hear her roaming around my floor, I immediately plug in my headphones, even if I’m not listening to music, just so she won’t be as likely to engage with me.

So, I have discovered “the voice” in my office that makes me want to crawl up a wall. Thankfully I don’t have to deal with her everyday, but man I feel sorry for those who do.

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