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No One Wants To Wait For Their Turn

Updated on July 15, 2008

When I began my new job in January of this year I couldn't quite put my finger on the behavior of some of my co-workers. Some of them were younger and yet some were my contemporaries (a polite way to say they were as old if not older than me). I first called it, "a sense of entitlement" but the more I was around these people what I discovered was that yes, while it has something to do with them feeling a sense of entitlement, it has more to do with the fact that no one wants to wait their turn - Don't Get Me Started!

Let me give you an example. I'm an Executive Assistant so my day can consist of getting coffee to actually booking flights to wherever coffee is made to have Juan Valdez show me how they pick the beans so that they are "good enough" for the office elite and guests. In short, every day is a busy day for the most part and while I am willing to assist almost anyone, my job title is to assist the CEO. Well one day was really crazy. I was on hold on the land line phone, was on my cell phone and trying to type an email when I feel this presence next to my desk. It was a bit large and wouldn't go away (no matter how much the 1% of my brain power I could dedicate to it would allow with everything else in the world going on to try to wish it away). And so I looked up as if to say, "Hello? Can you see I'm busy here you stupid fuck?" Thing is that I barely looked at them and the person immediately upon seeing my head turn in their direction began telling me what they needed done. First let me make this clear, the building wasn't on fire, no one was dying and no one had invented a cure for cancer so let me say that the task this person was barking at me would probably be very low on anyone's priority list and it didn't even make my list at all. As I stared at the person in shock and amazement at their stupidity (while still trying to hold up my end of the conversation on the cell phone, realized that the person on the land line had finally taken me off hold by the annoyed, "Hello? Um, well, hello?" I was hearing in my left ear and trying to backspace all the obscenities I had written into the email as what I can only describe as auto-writing as if I'd been possessed by some spirit of a Rosalind Russell type secretary from a 1930's movie or something) the person simply walked away. When I finally got off both phones and had hit, "send" on the email this person said, "Well, did you get what I was telling you? Can you get that done right away?" Mind you this was something that this person could have and should have handled on their own but much like taking out the garbage or some other task that isn't the most glamorous, they chose to pawn it off on me rather than handle it themselves. To make the whole thing even more ridiculous, it wasn't even what some would call one of my "superiors" it was someone on basically the same level as me. One of their superiors had given them the task and they had pawned it off on me. (well, they tried anyway)

Look, I am on call like a doctor, 24/7 as an assistant. I accepted that as part of the position when I took it but if I have to wipe everyone's chins for them there simply won't be enough hours in the day or enough cyanide that I can get my hands on.

Thing is that I discovered that this happens everywhere. There was a time when if you walked into Starbucks and saw a line you had a choice to either wait in the line or leave. Last week when I was in my Starbucks and the line was long, there was a guy behind me (who had no idea about, "my space - your space" and was practically up my ass) he stood there shuffling his feet and sighing every few seconds as if that was going to make the line go faster. And I'm not talking about soft sighing, I'm talking like, "Can you hear me sighing everyone? Can you give me some attention from across the room?" sighing.

I guess my point is that sometimes we all have to wait our turn and because most of the people in my office don't seem to get it, I'm thinking of installing that system they use at bakeries. When you come to my desk you may grab a number from the big red plastic wheel that contains the numbered tickets. When I'm ready to deal with your issue you'll see the LED lit sign behind me illuminate with your number and then in as friendly of a voice as I can manage, you'll hear me say, "Number 32...calling number 32? Your crisis may now be handled at Scott's desk. 32? You have ten more seconds to respond and then I'm moving on to 33!" No one wants to wait their turn - Don't Get Me Started!

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    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

      You have those days too? Wishing you licked envelopes from home? Good to know I'm not alone.

    • jonesj64 profile image

      jonesj64 9 years ago from Michigan

      This is fantastic. I manage a weight loss center and absolutely dread Mondays because every consultant that works for me is lined at my door to fill me in on the dreaded weekend, as if Mondays (filled with paperwok, exhaustion, and wishing I licked envelopes from home for a living) were not bad enough.

    • Priceless Sam profile image

      Priceless Sam 9 years ago

      Haha - this was so funny! I know exactly what you mean. I'm a writer so I work at home, but I have some clients that will e-mail me with a "I need this done" and followed with a "tomorrow or the next day will be fine." So...rather than having them wait, I juggle the jobs I'm already working on in order to accomodate them. Luckily, there are some really wonderful clients that make it all worthwhile!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      time for a move somewhere better !

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 9 years ago from Las Vegas

      Stacie - I can't even remember what it was (which probably means it never got done and now my Jewish guilt is taking over - big time)

      Spryte, Now I have to wait until I stop laughing!! Thanks!

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 9 years ago from Arizona, USA


      Love it! I had a job where the manager could not grasp the idea that when I was on the phone talking to a client, I was not able in fact to address his issues matter how vocal he became.

      I finally told the client to please hold for a second...put down the phone and looked the manager in the eye...

      "Bob...the thing is...while I have two ears, they do NOT work independently of each other."

      When I returned to the client, I discovered I had not actually hit the "hold" button and I had to wait until he had stopped laughing...

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

      I work at a college, and I love working with students. However, some of our students are what I call "Stalker Students." You help them once, and they become glued to you. They rush past the front desk to arrive in your workspace without permission or anything...always when I'm biting into lunch or taking just one minute to check my personal email that happens to be silly pictures someone sent me from last week's drunken BBQ. I've decided I need a taser. I'm always willing to help, but find that I'm less willing when people don't respect my personal space or refuse to follow common courtesy (I would never walk into an office and assume I could just walk right in back without being announced unless I work there).

      So, what menial task did you get out of?