We are now going to turn to something of a serious subject, at least something that is bound to get us seriously testy. We will admit that we’re not spending every second of every day working as hard as we possibly can. Sorry, that’s what happens when you pay someone weaksauce wages to do a full time job functions with no benefits. We take our full lunch hours. Sue us. The thing is, while we aren’t taking required breaks, we’re doing our job. All the time. You know, forty hours a week, like you’re supposed to when you have a goddamn job. If you think we’re bitter about our underemployment in a vacuum, you might be shocked at the depths of days-old office-coffee bitterness we’re about to reach given what everyone else in the office is up to. Strap in.
Here’s the thing: Contrary to what you might believe from our online personas (and the above statement), we’re excellent employees. If you’ve read any of our Overheard in Office pieces, you might realize that we don’t actually have to put that much effort to truly shine here. We also have the joy (luck? poorly-paid pleasure?) of being at the bottom of the totem pole at our organization and because of our relative unimportance, we’re able to remain a kind of a neutral unit and keep ourselves out of most of the dirty departmental office politics.
Being unimportant also has its disadvantages beyond the pathetic pay grade. Because we have no real say in anything that actually matters at work, we’re often sucked into every uncomfortable, lengthy, and bullshit filled conversation that our “superiors” don’t want to share with their actual co-workers. They think they can interrupt our work because we’re twenty years younger and can’t say no. It’s a really healthy dynamic, obviously.
Welcome to the complex world of Time Thieves.
The thing about Time Thieves is that they’re not all bad. Some of them are actually great, in terms of both person and timing. When we’re stuck at our desks waiting for those last excruciating twenty minutes to pass until lunch, when we’re waiting for our attachments to load at 3pm and we need a distraction from our Junior Mints craving, we welcome a weird chat with a weird co-worker. “Fodder for the blog!” we say to ourselves, open up the Overheard in the Office Google doc, and settle in to take some notes. For you, our readers, we will sit through the umpteenth retelling of No Boundaries’ sorry tales of love lost, friendships with flavor, and craft shows. We will nod silently as Troubled Temp details her medical woes. We will smile through gritted teeth as That Guy talks about his children.
God help those Time Thieves when they are stealing OUR time instead of company time. When we’re about to take our daily lunch walk (to maintain both our figures and a healthy distance from the building while we rampantly talk shit), do NOT stop us three feet from escape into the fresh air to ask about our weekends (and by ask about our weekends, we mean ask us about our weekends solely for the purpose of creating an opening for yourself to blabber on about yours). While we’re on afternoon break, we’re not available to help you figure out something you should have been able to do for the last decade (lookin’ at you, Microsoft Office). And for all that is good in this world (puppies), don’t be the fucking asshole that wants to chat until 5:20pm because you got in late and have to stay late.
WE WORK FOR AN HOURLY WAGE, SIR. WE STOPPED GETTING PAID TO LISTEN TO YOUR BULLSHIT TWENTY MINUTES AGO. But how can we escape when we’re trapped in a cubicle, door blocked by a neverending stream of shit talking? Not to mention the fact that it’s almost always this awful mixture of inane chattery, shit talking about management, and thinly-veiled intolerance (context: the perpetrator whose long-winded conversations led to the invention of time thievery terminology is known to blast Rush Limbaugh from his office). If we’re really unlucky, there’s a dash of sexual harassment on the side. Or should we say the cherry on top. Wink. (We put you through that because it’s an example of the caliber of cleverness involved in said harassment.)
Time Thieves: Check yo selves. Make your idle chatter and involve us in your Game of Thrones level subterfuge while we’re on the clock, not while we’re clearly trying to cherish the few minutes each day we desperately need to help us decompress after our last interaction with you.