Shared Office Space Creates Tension

Dear Suri, I work in a “shared office environment,” which only means that everyone shares an office with at least two other people. It is mostly a space issue, but my supervisor also says it was done to boost teamwork. I guess people were relying on e-mail and chat and not actually talking to each other for weeks on end.

I actually don’t mind this setup, and the people I share with are usually pretty good about not listening to loud music, keeping food and perfume smells to a minimum, etc. But now this one lady has started to mess the whole thing up.

She just got a new personal computer, and now insists that everyone lock the door when they leave the office. It is just stupid. I’ve already been locked out three times, and it is just a waste of time and productivity.

Business People Working In Office
We’re all in this together

Labor Intensive

I’m overweight, so I usually empty my pockets when I get to work. The way dress pants are made, they don’t leave a lot of ‘extra room,’ if you know what I mean. It just gets too tight and uncomfortable when I sit down with stuff in my pockets. I’ve started to put my wallet and keys in a drawer and leave them in there until the end of the day. So when this lady pulls this stuff, it means I get locked out. I am tired of it!

Twice Shy

I complained to a co-worker, and he said that she (my office mate) had some stuff stolen a few years back when she had her own office. They took her computer, purse and some other stuff. Some guy posed as a janitor and just swiped stuff from everyone. I guess he made off with a lot, and then was never seen again. But that was years ago, and also when her office was on the first floor. Now we’re on the second floor. It would take balls to come up here and pull that stuff!

I think this lady is being disrespectful. Constantly locking the door is annoying, especially since she has a drawer that locks! Just keep your stuff in there. Don’t force the rest of us to play this game every day! — Locked Out in Loch Haven, Pennsylvania
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Dear Locked Out, Rebuilding trust can be a long and difficult process. More than the mere loss of material possessions, theft is a violation of privacy and security. The emotional toll can last for years — even a lifetime.

Remaining sympathetic to your co-worker’s concerns, could you not draft a personal reminder to bring your keys when you leave the office? Good luck. ~Suri

Suri Says™
by Suri Syrtauwnya
Advice Editor
Residential Life Magazine

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Think About It

The soda man was here today, and he must be very trusting, because I noticed he walked out to his truck and left the vending machine door wide open! This might have been a mistake, or he might have had a co-worker watching, or a security camera… who knows?

Of course, I would never even dream of stealing something, and I’d like to think no one else here would, either. That’s why I (and another fellow) just waited for the guy to come back and finish stocking the machine, so we could buy our sodas for the day.

Nothing in here is worth your job.
Nothing in here is worth your job.

But it got me to thinking of what would happen if someone did walk by and decide to pull a “five-finger discount.” Believe me, with the way this guy was parked outside, it would have been entirely possible to stage the ‘perfect crime’ without him knowing (unless he had a camera or something, as stated earlier).

In situations like this, you have to do a quick ‘cost-benefit analysis.’ For me, the cost of stealing — even if you don’t get caught — outweighs any benefit you might get. I will admit that, as a youth, I stole some candy from a store, and once took a cassette tape from my friend’s room. The tape I gave back (and got a punch in the mouth as a reward!), and the candy I never told anyone about, so got off ‘scot-free,’ except for a guilty conscience that remains to this day. My lesson has been sufficiently learned.

The point is, that kind of stuff is never worth it. If someone had walked by and swiped a drink, I wouldn’t have hesitated to tell someone about it. I wouldn’t even worry about being a ‘tattle-tale.’ They would most probably get fired, and that would start a domino effect in their lives.

So, for the price of a 75-cent can of pop, they would face months (maybe years!) of turmoil (at their own hand, of course). And with the tight job market and sluggish economy today, who wants to hire someone with such poor judgment?! This person would have set themselves up for failure, and they would have to live with their misguided actions for the rest of their lives.

I’m not on some “morals” soapbox here, don’t get me wrong. I am not perfect. Never claimed to be. I just thought it was an interesting concept how any decision, even one so seemingly insignificant as a soft drink, has the potential to become an life-altering event. Makes you think.

by Hector “Stevie” Sambulogento | Residential Life Magazine