Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Is this normal?

I read this in the paper the other day and couldn't help wondering if people go out of their way to be awkward at work. I don't know the details of this story, but I imagine it went something like this: You like fish and would love to work next to a tank containing your favourite little nemos. Your colleagues are tolerant guys and gals, who don't mind your fish in the office. So far so good, and very lucky you are too. Then, your fish die. For whatever weird and wonderful reason, you decide to leave them in the tank in the office. People probably think you're a bit strange to say the least, but cut you some slack. After all, someone I work with told me they knew someone who took two weeks off work with stress because their dog had died (two weeks - I ask you!).

A few days/weeks later, your fish start to pong and now people don't just think you're strange, they say it to your face. They also ask you to move the fish to a more appropriate place. Say, the fish cemetary. Or the bottom of your garden at home. You refuse. Your boss asks you to move the fish (why they just don't bin them when you're not around is beyond me, but hey - each to their own and all that). You also refuse. The whole situation escalates, HR get involved, there's a lot of hoo-ha, and you end up losing your job over a smelly fish tank with dead fish in it. Then you have the cheek to complain that your dismissal was unfair and take your ex-employers to a tribunal.

I ask you, is this behaviour normal?! I'm currently reading this really interesting book about great psychological experiments, and I'm wondering if anyone has researched why people do silly things at work? If this story is anything to go by, there must be plenty of subject matter out there.

To be honest, if it was me who had to work next to a fish tank (even if the fish were alive, let alone one that contained dead ones) I'd be tempted to bring my cat to work with me.


Sandi said...

Hilarious!!!! I never heard about that one but I’d like to meet the solicitor that took on that claim – or they just saw a very rich loop and thought ‘that’ll pay for my Xmas ski trip’!?! whatever next!!!! I thought I had to put up with some loons in my job :-/

Tinsie said...

They're all around us, Sandi. Scary, but true!