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Mountain Home Magazine

Courting Workplace Drama

Jun 01, 2023 09:00AM ● By David Nowacoski

For over two decades I worked in an office and felt I did a decent job of avoiding most of the issues that would consume the “water cooler talk.” She said this. He made a face. Someone ate my lunch. So many ways to become the issue-du-jour.

One of the worst ones to deal with was the adult version of teacher’s pet. Especially nasty if it matured into the human resource nightmare of favoritism. An absolute morale killer, this was definitely one to avoid.

I live and work on a farm now, so I figured workplace drama was a thing of the past Yet, here I am, smack dab in the middle of it.

I didn’t even realize it was happening. But looking back now, I should have seen all those little signs. She always found a way to put herself in my path. To be honest, at first I didn’t even notice her. There is always work to be done on the farm and most of the time I had my hands full doing chores. Anytime I turned around, though, there she was.

There was nothing particularly remarkable about her. Maybe that helped lull me into not noticing that her constant contact was making her more familiar. Before I realized it, I could pick her out of the crowd.

That’s when things got bad. I don’t know—maybe I liked the extra attention. I started greeting her, not the others, and I think that gave her the green light to take this to the next level. I was a little shocked one morning when she literally hopped up onto my lap before I could get off the tractor. I remember giving a little embarrassed laugh before setting her back down on the ground. As I glanced around to see if anyone else noticed, I was met with icy glares from the other girls. I knew this was going to be trouble.

So I have no one to blame but me. I should have responded way different. Instead, I found myself dropping a little feed out of the pail right in front of her. A couple days later it was sunflower seeds, a special treat for sure, and I made sure she got her share. I stopped worrying about what the other hens thought. Look, it’s a farm and we all know what our jobs are, right? As long as we are all professionals, we can work together.

Who was I kidding? Egg production started dropping. Feeders were being flipped over, and someone kicked a bunch of bedding into the waterer. Tension was so bad that when I stepped into the barn I felt like I was walking on eggshells.

I knew it was time to end this. No more special treats. I was all business. It took a few days, but I think she got the hint. That is, until today. She showed up at my house with a look in her eye.

If she weren’t just ten inches tall, I think I’d be scared.

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