Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Inadvertant listening vs. Eavesdropping

Stolen from my friend Annette.
I found myself in an interesting situation yesterday. The office was on the quiet side. Even the sound of the air conditioning was absent. The guy behind me had just come back from lunch at PF Changs. He relayed how his meeting went to his boss and told him how he had a hard time using the chopsticks. His boss made a crack about how they are not easy and that is why all Chinese people are skinny. I heard that part and laughed a bit. They heard me laugh and laughed as well.
See, I wasn't trying to listen in on the conversation. I was an inadvertant listener. I was not being an eavesdropper. In my work area it is pretty damn hard to not be an inadvertant listener. In comparison to other areas, it is on the small side. There is no white noise pumped in to muffle the sound between pods. To an extent, you have to hear what others are talking about unless you are wearing ear buds or totally entranced in your work. Thus the haivng to listen to the hens cackle each morning.
On the flip side, eavesdropping on other's conversations in so easy because of the same circumstances. If you want to listen in you can feign working catch all the juicy details. I have to admit I am guilty of doing this. I still try to respect my colleagues privacy but sometimes I need to hear about the divorce or the drunk driving case.
If you are going to eavesdrop, at least do not be obvious. There are a couple of people who always dip into the conversation that doesn't involve them. I notice them all the time. The clueless have no idea what is being said about them. If they had any stealth listening skills, they would know quite a bit more.
Stock update: down 47 cents. Ugh!

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