Awkward moments

After a break with white sausages, bretzels and  beer, I can relax for a bit before I have to get back to work. But before I do that I just want to share some thoughts about some thigns happening at work.

If you work in a bigger company it’s quite possible that there are people you don’t know at all or not enough. For example, where I work now the room is at the end of a really long hallway, I have to walk it every time I need to go out, to the kitchen, toilet, etc. So here I am, getting out and heading down the hallway. As it happens, most of the time someone does the same on the other end, walking towards you.

Now the thought process starts. Will he/she enter an office before we meet ? What if he doesn’t ? Do I know the dude ? What do I say ? Do I say Hello ? What if I already said that before, what then ? A second “Hello” would look stupid, the dude might think I am a retard who forgets shit. So you see, this is a complicated issue. Basically you have several options you can take:

  • if he/she gets into an office, then you’re off the hook, no need to say anything (best option).
  • if it’s the first time today, a “Hello” will do fine.
  • sometimes you can just smile and nod, something like a “How’s it going?” but without needing an answer.
  • if it’s in the morning and it’s one of the persons you shake hands with, then do that. Does not work so well in case of a woman though.
  • if you know the guy and you happen to remember some common activity you can actually stop and ask “Hey, how did it go with bla bla bla?“. That works too.
  • sometime people say “Mahlzeit” (especially in Bavaria), which would translate to some like “Enjoy your meal” or something but they use it here from 9am all the way in the afternoon, like a “Hello“.  I keep thinking: “WTF ? What meal ? It’s morning!“. I never got used to this but I know it’s just a saying so I usually just reply with Hello, since that’s what they mean anyway.
  • you could just focus your eyes somewhere on the wall and not say anything.
  • you can develop a sudden interest in the paper you hold in your hands.
  • or in your mobile.
  • you could call your voicemail and listen intently to the “You have no new messages!” message while he passes you.
  • if it’s at the end of the day, you can just say “Good bye!
  • if the dude has a cup in his hand you could say some like “You can never have enough coffee, eh ?“. Of course, that will sound kinda dumb if they guy has tea in his cup but sometime you gotta take the chance.
  • you can punch his shoulder in a friendly manner. This has a limited applicability though, quite low on the list. And never do this if the guy has a cup in his hand because then the “friendly” part might disappear rapidly.

That’s as much I can think of right now but I am sure there are other options as well.

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