Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Dog Parkist: Workplace Dimwit

Q: I am wondering if you could give me some advice. There's a woman at work who drives me insane. She is bossy, dim-witted, and overbearing. I have tried being rude, I have tried being nice, I have tried ignoring her—all to no avail. I am becoming obsessed with how much I dislike her, so much so that I hear her shrill voice in every night in my dreams. I haven't walked my dogs in weeks. I just sit at home and stew. Please, help! 
—Losing All Perspective

A: My dear LAP, the Dog Parkist knows exactly how you feel. It's bad enough that you feel trapped at the work place, stuck as you are in a small, badly lit cell and forced to toil among unequals. To feel as though one of those unequals is ruining your day is a constant irritation that is bound to get you down. Now, you are an intelligent person, LAP, and, intellectually, you know that Bossy Dimwit constantly interrupts the boss at meetings, natters on about the quality of her coffee, and refers regularly to her previous employment at prestigious university press simply because she feels inadequate. Similarly, you know that she can't help that incessant coughing caused by allergies, and yet every percussive little spasm of her throat travels down the hallway and spikes you in the back of the head like a bully throwing dodge balls. Of course you feel resentful and cranky.  And of course these feelings spill over into the rest of your day, including your time with your dogs. You know better, but you can't help it. Who, besides Barack Obama, could? 

Here's what I suggest, my dear. Take a deep breath and think of your dogs. Dogs are very clear about when they do not care for an individual, be it human or dog or cat or squirrel or postman. They  do not necessarily react in a vicious or even overt way. They may bare their teeth, but at the first opportunity they turn away and blithely move on to investigate the next smelly thing. 

Do you do yoga? I suspect that you do. Keep in mind that the downward dog position is not just about looking like a stretching dog and certainly not about acting submissive; it's about experiencing the Zen of dogness.  Think of Bossy Dimwit as a passing annoyance, like the meter reader or that annoying cat that sits on the fence and smirks or a cloud on a sunny day. Eventually she will pass, like a kidney stone or a car commercial. Just bark and move on, my dear. Or, if you are in a meeting, just think to yourself, "La, la, la, I'm such a lovely dog with a long, flowing tail and beautiful, brown eyes. Oh, there is that annoying woman again. Hey, I'd really like to chew on the boss' shoes. La, la, la." Remember, there are so many more interesting things to chase and sniff and pee on than your co-worker. Thanks for writing!

Dear Readers: As you can see, the Dog Parkist's expertise extends to the wonderful and wacky world of the workplace. Don't be shy, my dears! Write to her about work-a-day woes! You won't regret! Ta!

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