Friday, January 08, 2010

Seven Stages of Workplace Emotions

I share a network printer with about 100 people. Lately the thing has started to sound like a quacking duck when printouts are sent to the tray. Double-sided printouts are particularly quackalicious. Today I innocently asked several of my co-workers if anyone had called in the quacking sound to the kind Xerox service people, since I did not want to duplicate efforts and make the Xerox people testy at a bombardment of calls. People expressed ignorance, apathy, or anger at my question. So, that got me thinking---perhaps I, and all my co-workers, are in some stage of workplace emotions, as exemplified by our Xerox docutech; however, I feel these stages could be applied to most any workplace situation.
  1. Clueless Ignorance: I had no idea the printer (or safety violations, or printer toner that needs to be ordered but not replaced, or printer toner that needs to be replaced yet none is available because no one ordered it despite the flashing notice on the printer display screen, or the microwave was making strange humming noises and the light was dimming inside periodically, whatever) was having problems. I don't hear the sound.
  2. Apathy: Yes, now that it has been pointed out to me and I have bothered to go over to the printer and pick up my printouts, most of which have been sitting there for a few days, I hear the quacking sound but I just don't care. It's not my job to care. Someone else can call 8111 and press "5" to get to Xerox servicing. Besides, I don't use the printer all that often.
  3. Anger: Damn it, the copier and printer is broken. Why didn't someone call it in to be serviced when it started quacking like a duck? Can't you people see I have things to print out? People are counting on me to have these powerpoint slides in their hands!
  4. Action: I'll call the darn thing in. I have a massive print job for some proposal or meeting where the VP and committee members simply must have paper copies of every document in front of them (even though they can't be bothered to read them) and now I am scrambling to figure out how to make it happen. I can't be bothered to send it over to Repro at the main plant site because then I'd have to go online, submit a request and you know attaching a file to said request takes forever on our slow network system, especially since we are in a dinky, run-down building populated predominantly by females with only two women's bathroom stalls six miles away from where all the action is at the main site! Oh yeah, that's right! I'd have to create one master pdf file. I'm far too busy for that. Besides, even I did send it to Repro, I'd have to drive over and pick it up, because man, the inter-office delivery people are slow.
  5. Resignation: Now we just have to live without a printer because the service guy says it needs a part to stop quacking. Isn't this the way it always is? Only the bigwigs in the glass area with the fancy cherry desks and reserved parking spaces have good equipment and speedy service. I guess I'm too low of a pay grade to get quality equipment.
  6. Elation: Yay! The Xerox guy came out and fixed our printer! All is well! I can print random e-mails about our new prescription benefit plan (even though the info was snail mailed to me) with excess cover pages and burn through more toner and paper! Besides, the new company environmental savings plan does not really impact me. It's not like the paper and toner comes out of my paycheck.
  7. Willful Ignorance: What's that quacking sound I hear? It's nothing really. The printer is always like that.Why, just last week it neighed like a horse. And yes, I'm going to ignore the flashing screen asking me to order toner. My hands are to my ears and I am singing la la la, I can't hear you!
In case you are wondering, today I bypassed step 3, Anger, and instead opted to go straight from step 2, Apathy, to Action because really, I have a lot of printing to do next week and need the printer to stop quacking at me.


  1. I had to comment on this. I also share a network printer with several people and majority of them are men. Everytime the printer is either making noises are mainly needing a new printer cartridge, I realize it was only me that was calling. I had a meltdown about this probably 2 years ago and refused to continue to call and switched myself to another network printer a few steps farther away.

    A few times I noticed that men walked over, noticed that their printouts were not printing due to lack of toner and instead of calling (number is right about the printer) they instead switched themselves to another printer or kept sending stuff there. A few times I said out loud for many to hear that "i refuse to call about the printer because I am not the only one who uses it and am not the admin,nor the secretary, nor their mother or their wife". Finally one of the better folks asked me where the number was and I told them.

    Nearly 3 years later it continues. I start off being annoyed, then angry and them apathetic. It was nice to read your blog today and see that it seems to be something that others share as well.

    Unlike your firm, no one at my company at least in my location has a personal printer. They are illegal!

  2. I too share a network printer with several people, and no one acknowledges the maintenance requirements but me. I am often the only one changing cartridges, and maintaining organization around the area.


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