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Let’s Talk About Work, Baby

Updated on May 17, 2010

We’ve all been there. It’s quitting time on a Friday. You and your co-workers pour into a neighborhood watering hole for Happy Hour. There, you bask in the glow of 17 TVs featuring all manner of sports and video trivia, a kicking sound system blaring up-tempo selections like “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang, and half-price appetizers. Just as the first round arrives, one of your co-workers pops up and spurts, “Hey, didju see that e-mail from Grimsly about the proper use of ’reply all’? That guy’s such a tool“.

And, in that moment, your Happy Hour bubble has burst. You’re no longer celebrating with Kool and the Gang, or high-fiving whomever happens to be within arm’s reach because your favorite team’s short stop just pulled off that 6-4-3 double play. Or doing the fist pump because you racked up 986 points in trivia for knowing that the part of Henry Hill in Goodfellas was played by Ray Liotta before anyone else in the bar.

No, at that moment, you have been sucked out of your weekend merriment and slammed - face first - back into your little cubicle. You’re back at work.

There are all of three good reasons to “talk shop” in this situation, and I’m not entirely sure about two of them. It’s the weekend. The work week is over. You’re there precisely to forget about your job for awhile. To unwind, or blow off steam, or whatever euphemism you prefer.

I don’t care if you’re one of the fortunate few who absolutely love their job; you have to let it go from time to time. Or, the day will come when your love affair with your livelihood will wither away like violets in the heat of early July.

So, I have a proposal to alleviate, if not eliminate, talking shop outside of work: Make the offender buy the next round. Make repeat offenders stand on their barstool and recite the company’s mission statement at the top of their lungs. If that doesn’t work, sign them up for Workaholics Anonymous.



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