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Do not find me fascinating unless I ask you to.

Simple enough? I'm sure discerning readers of this blog will think so, but apparently, some people out there need schoolin'.

I'm facing a situation at work where one person in particular seems determined to "figure me out." This person wants to know what I'm thinking and feeling, and why I make that face or use that tone of voice.

I say (silently), leave me alone, stay out of my face, and let me do my job.


The work is hard enough. Busy phones, mountains of paperwork, and an ever-growing list of rules and procedures. That's the job. I want to do it and get it right.

I can't do any of the above when half a dozen "meetings" are called every day this particular manager visits. Meetings in which we are constantly reminded that some manager above him is pushing for more daily productivity; that other branches somehow do a better job of getting this done, and that our jobs depend on us improving.

Fine. I can deal with all of that. But not when I'm standing in a little room with my co-workers, listening to the same spiel over and over again.

And not when I go back to my desk after being told for the 10,000th time "Vol-E, you look like you're not happy about this. Your eyebrow lifted just now, or your lip curled, or your nose twitched, or you looked away from me for .0004 seconds, which could also be interpreted as rolling your eyes in annoyance, and you shifted your stance from one leg to the other, and..." The manager, you see, is a big self-improvement junkie and he's been reading all those books about body language. So universe forbid I should ever, ever cross my arms while he's talking, because that indicates "resistance."

Maybe I should fart. That would clear the room in a hurry and take "body language" to a whole new level.

Seriously, though, I really hate being "analyzed" and "studied."  I had a 4th-grade teacher who had a similar reaction to me (yes, I have been a Woman of Mystery for a long, long time...). He went so far as to send me to the school psychologist for several sessions because I was quiet and dreamy. We now realize that this is attention-deficit disorder without hyperactivity, but back then, the diagnosis was "strange little kid who probably has trouble at home."

In the intervening decades, I've learned how to channel my attention better, structure my days, plan my work and work my plan.

Now that I've learned all this, get out of my face and let me do it.
Mr. Manager won't be back at the office for a few more days, so maybe I can actually be productive.

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