There are lots of “faux-pas” that exist in the corporate world, and I’ve managed to discover a couple more that drive me up a wall.

1) the Long Hallway

You have just entered a hallway and eyeballed your destination some 20 yards away.  Between you and your destination is another walker going about their day.  It is now absolutely neccesary to decide on one of 3 options to successfully get to your destination without feeling like you’ve been rude to the passer-by.

  1. “The Long Stare” – Whatever you do, never make eye contact with your hallway counterpart, never allow your gaze to drift from the door frame or hallway that is your destination.  This communicates to the on-comer that you are ready to walk past them without interaction and can retain the dignity in not having to do the next option
  2. “The Timed Floor Stare” – You notice the distance of (lets call him “Fred”).  Fred is beyond a normal conversational distance and therefore would be awkward to engage in pleasantries at such a distance.  Immediately drop your eyes to the floor tiles approximately 4 feet in front of your gate.  You must do this to avoid a creepy feeling “Stare down” thing that happens while you wait to be within close proximity to Fred. You must now calculate, with your eyes on the floor, the walking time necessary to be within conversational range.  At which point seize the opportunity to lift your head, and make a noise similar to “hey”,”howdy”,”morning”, or “How ya doin”.  (An alternative to a noise is a subtle motion, like a finger wave at about belly level, a small nod of the head, or one of those things you do with your mouth and eye to say “Hey, here’s lookin at you kid”.
  3. “Lets Get It Over With” –  To pull this off, is to be master of your domain (the hallway for the next 15 seconds).  It is a direct contradiction to The Long Stare and The Timed Floor Stare.  Performing it can backfire, but can also cause great joy in both hallway walkers.  Nobody wants to deal with making the decision between 1 or 2… so make it for them with this option.  To begin, present yourself as a king (or queen) of your kingdom… Chest held high, gate of a trotting Clydesdale, just as happy as can be.  This is key to being able to perform the next task.  Make believe you’ve known “Fred” for 10 years.  Make believe “Fred” and you havent seen eachother in a few weeks.  From any distance, lock eyes with “Fred” and reach out with your voice and body language to say “HEY DUDE, HOW YOU BEEN”.  Strike up a conversation at what would otherwise be an uncomfortable distance for a passing “hey” (as referenced in option 2).  Once the ice is broken you can manage carry on a pleasantries conversation for a few moments or  drop the conversation and be satisfied with your interaction (thus not prompting Option 1 or 2 to come up in the following moments.

2) good Morning, good morning, good morning, …

This one irks me less than the Long Hallway, and maybe it’s just me coming from a small office of only 15 people.  So every morning, how many times do I hear “Good Morning” ?  I’m going to start counting this week, I’m betting is 30 times a day.  Its not that the person annoys me, they’re just trying to be polite.  But doesn’t everyone feel the way I do?  By 7:45AM that phrase is like fingernails on a chalkboard…   Okay, so maybe more like a squeeky belt on a ford Pinto, but you get my drift.   I’ve tried to start a revolution in my company to change the phrase to any of the following… Hoping it becomes infectious.

  1. “Hi Hiddely Ho”
  2. “Happy Monday”
  3. “Hey Hey Hey!”
  4. “Happy Hump Day”
  5. “Happy Friday Eve” (on applicable Thursdays)
  6. “Happy Friday” (or weekend’s eve, if the person is clever)

That is all, oh, and…  Good Yesterday Dayiversary!