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Adventures in Mischief

Updated on September 6, 2013

It's nice to relax, but better to work.

The author, relaxing on the virtual patio, ever-present coffee cup in hand
The author, relaxing on the virtual patio, ever-present coffee cup in hand

Do You Know A Dullard?

Does your workplace have a dullard?

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Guidelines For Teaching Someone a Lesson

  1. Does someone really need a lesson
  2. Will teaching someone a lesson bring them closer to God or strengthen your relationship?
  3. Will the person getting the lesson realize why the lesson is needed?
  4. Is it you?

You are likely the pupil--not the sage

Be careful when you begin to teach someone a lesson.

In my case, I decided to try and teach someone who, for absolute lack if a better term, serves as the office dullard. What's the office dullard? Simply put, it's the person who stands in your office and drones on while you're trying to work. It's the guy or girl who always has a better story and is compelled to share it--even if you try to cut it short because it's been rehearsed before you many times (And hints like, "yeah, that's a great story," don't stop the repeat performances). It's the person who leans around your computer to see what you're working on, who snoops through your office and, in this case, is the first person to gossip about even the most mundane. You know, the office dullard (

So my story begins in the middle of trying to work out the details of negotiating a job change. While going through the usual routine of listening to the dullard, I opted for an experiment--how quickly will the dullard need to spread gossip? When the, "what are you working on," came as he leaned over me to see notes I'd been scribbling for ideas to improve some existing processes in software, I said, "these are ideas to improve some things at [competitor]."

"Oh, well I hope it works out."

Awesome. The seed is planted.

True to form, the gossip begins. Now this is where my plan goes awry. The gossip is repeated to another worker who then calls HR (by the way, I thought we'd pledged to be brothers 20 years ago?!? Jerk move!!!).

Crap. The seed has sprouted roots and they're looking for water more ruthlessly than a willow.

So, I'm on leave and rather than possibly moving into the job I've wanted for years (years, people!), I'm making a list of things to work on around the house today--oh, and cleaning up an app to direct attendees through an upcoming users' conference. I have to keep working, you know. It's a compulsion.

So, weeding, edging while the sun is still eastward and then I move to the basement, with a couple of stops to correct some errant placement on a couple of sliding doors.

You know what? Well, you don't, so let me continue. The dullard once left the company as well. Around that same time, the same dullard developed a hepatic health issue. I am guilty of gossip myself, as I told an executive in our company who directed another employee to call him and ask him to return to work before he became ineligible to get insurance. And I've smiled for years when he retold the story of how the company had to have him back. That was before Obamacare.

I also picked him out of a job in the company he hated in 2008 and gave him a position where he could feel respected and important.

It's a beautiful, sunny day and God is still God.

Now, for the lesson. I'm sitting at home rather than being at work, doing things I enjoy and at which I'm good. I'm on leave, but that likely will mean an end to what would have been an amazing upward job change--and probably a burned bridge.

So leave the dullard to his dullardry. Many times I've had to get up and walk to get coffee to remove the dullard from the office. This could have been one of those times.


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