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The Office Singer

Friends, I come to you today with a problem. I’m sure that as you read on you will realize the seriousness of this matter and my need for as many viable solutions as possible. 

There Is A Singer In My Office

It hasn't gotten this bad. Yet.

 

Yes, there is someone who sings in my office. Out loud. He sings. 

You know, in a way, I don’t mind when he sings to himself at his desk. I can put some music on and drown him out when he is there. Also, when he is singing I don’t have to listen to him trying to talk someone into agreeing with his political views. 

The problem is that he is starting to put on performances away from his desk.  

You’ve Got To Funkifize

At my desk, I have a portable speaker system I plug my iPod into. Music helps me block out the office chatter (and desk singing) and get my work done. 

One day I was listening to an album by the legendary soul band Tower of Power. I was not aware when I made my selection that The Singer also loves Tower. He walked by, heard what I was listening to and stopped to talk about the band. No problem there. 

The problem is that now he will periodically will stop by my desk and sing the title/chorus of Tower of Power’s song “You’ve Got To Funkifize”. This is as awkward as you might imagine it to be. Don’t think that is awkward? What if I told you he snaps his fingers and dances while he does it? 

What I Am Doing To Help Myself

My usual reaction is an incredulous stare. Where I work, rank and age have their privileges. I have both rank and age. The incredulous stare usually corrects employees who have neither rank nor age. 

The Singer doesn’t get it. I stare, he finishes his performance and walks away like nothing happened. 

I have also tried being more verbal: “if I spend my time funkifizing, no one will do the payroll and you will be living in a box. Get away from me.” 

Nothing is working yet. He periodically returns and sings again. 

Happy Days

When I say the whole song, I mean every single word.

 

The Singer’s performances are starting to get showier, longer and he is expanding his audience. 

A few days ago, on his way back from the printer, he stopped at the cubicle next to mine and sang the theme song to the television show Happy Days.He did the whole song, along with finger snapping, some claps and a dance. Then he continued on to his desk and went on with his work. 

When The Singer was gone, I peeked around the corner. The guy in the next cubicle was just sitting there, staring. I called his name, he turned and looked at me, but still didn’t say anything. I asked if he was alright, he nodded. “I’ll leave you alone”, I told him, “you know where to find me you’re ready to talk.” 

An hour later, my cubicle neighbor pulled me into a conference room. “I was minding my own business, the next thing I know, he is singing in my cube. I haven’t talked to him in two weeks. Why did he do that to me?” 

There is no reasonable explanation in these situations. I felt powerless to help my friend. Then, he slapped the table, looked me in the eye and said “we’ve got to stop him, before he does this to more people”. 

Help Us Stop The Singer

Help us stop him before it comes to this.

 

My cube neighbor is correct. The Singer must be stopped. Left unchecked, he will spread awkward moments throughout the office. Work spaces and thoughts will be violated and destroyed. 

Together, my friend and I will face down this menace for our entire office and for those everywhere who live with office singers. For us to prevail, the office and the world will have to unite. 

We need your help. Lend us your sarcasm, your vitriol, your viciously stinging rebukes. The Singer is impervious to his own awkwardness and resistant to the incredulous stare. 

It is time to bring out the big guns. 

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38 Comments on “The Office Singer”

  1. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    My dad was always a fan of the conversation trap. This guy seems like he likes to talk about the music.

    Next time he’s singing ask… “Oh, I like that one… who sings that?”

    When he gives the answer…

    “Yeah, you should let them”. or “They don’t need any help.”

    Probably won’t stop him, but may stun him for a few while you make a getaway.

  2. tangyorangesour says:

    I’m so so sorry I have nothing but I just can’t stop laughing.. thanks man for this great laugh.. you’re way too funny!

    • omawarisan says:

      Thanks! If you think of something, let me know. If not, and I have to go mushroom cloud on him, I will call you out personally in my post apocalypse press conference.

  3. xacrest says:

    does he at least sing well enough to make money from it? xD

  4. Wow. This really is so “The Office.”

    A long time ago I was embarrassed out of singing. A colleague walked into my office and asked me if I knew I had sung to every song that had played on my radio – all day. I was mortified. I had no idea that I was singing out loud, although singing is one of my greatest pleasures.

    I’m aware now.

    Maybe it’s time for a Dog Whisperer technique. Every time you see the cues that’s it’s starting, stand up assertively and move over to him, look him in the eyes, and say, “No!”

    • hippiecahier says:

      I agree with the Dog Whisperer technique (in our house it’s “TCHH.” Or the related cat spray bottle — just a little spritz of H20 as behavior modification.

      Love the first picture. I do hope he doesn’t break out into “Ramblin’ Rose.”

      Stay strong.

      • omawarisan says:

        The dog techniques may work. I am giving him the evil eye from a seated position. I should stand up to establish my leader of the pack position.

        The water thing works for me too. He is kind of fussy and that would freak him out.

  5. Brea says:

    “Silence is Golden, but Duct Tape is Silver”. One of my favorite bumpersticker/t-shirt sayings ever.

    I have a Singer in my office, as well. She is most persistent, and usually is singing church hymns. Being Pagan, I don’t enjoy this very much, on my more irritable days, it smacks of harassment.

    Every time the Singer comes up to your desk, I would put up your hand in the “Talk to this” position. If they insist on coming closer, put the hand right up near their face, where they can’t miss it. If they try to push it away, stuff it in their mouth, so you can’t hear them anymore. *sorry, I don’t really mean the last one, but it’s a nice visual image, hunh?*

    • omawarisan says:

      I can do the hand position. I feel that I am getting past the “seriously, is he really doing this?” shock and should be able to take more rejection oriented actions.

  6. Kate says:

    Why? Why does every office have one of these types? I’m not sure sarcasm would work in this case — this person is clearly too self-involved to realize his effect on others. But “shut the fuck up” reiterated many times by many people might do the trick.

    • omawarisan says:

      Good call on self involved. I have actually gone back a couple times after he gets off the phone and begins telling the story of the conversation he just hung up from and let him know we all were able to clearly hear him when it happened, 48 seconds earlier.

      It is the weirdness of being sung and danced to that seems to freeze victims in their tracks.

      I think part of the solution is going to be us standing up for one another when someone is stunned into silence. When he does it to someone else I need to go give him crap on that persons behalf, and vice versa.

  7. Pauline says:

    What an obnoxious jackass! You could try getting everyone in the general area to sign a petition and tape it to his computer screen when he’s not around.

  8. Mo Soprano says:

    Ohmigosh, classic post! 🙂 Now that I have had the best chuckle of my day, let me extend my condolences. Maybe you could submit this for a plot idea to The Office series – cash in on some royalties and just QUIT your Day Job!

    I loved Brea’s bumper-sticker quote: “Silence is Golden, but Duct Tape is Silver” Maybe you could plaster a few of those in his cubical with an anonymous note duct-taped to his computer screen. . . Something really subtle like:

    “PLEASE STOP SINGING AT THE OFFICE!!”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Best approach: Call your HR office and file a formal confidential complaint. Your HR rep. will then be required by law to bring him in for a serious one-on-one chat to professionally and clearly explain the complaint, and remind him about appropriate office etiquette. [you should have some of your other co-worker[s] call in and make the same complaint separately, which will bolster HR’s case]. The complaint will become part of his permanent file and if the problem continues after his warning, this approach will help build a case for formal termination procedures. [I used to work in HR – people have been terminated for less] Your complaint really is valid. And you are correct, if left unchecked, his inappropriate behavior will continue to escalate.

    Good Luck!

    P.S. If your office is very small and there is not an HR office/rep, then talk to your office manager and get an assurance that Singer Man will be spoken to.

  9. I’ve never heard of anything like this before. Maybe he went to some touchie feelie course on stress in the workplace and this is how he learned to lighten things up.

    One solution might be to play some Black Flag on your iPod and settle things once and for all.

    • omawarisan says:

      That is a possible theory, we do need some relaxation on a regular basis. It’s not working.

      The Black Flag solution is appealing…or maybe some Dead Kennedys. I could blast it and scream..sing it…sing with Jello Biafra!

  10. Pie says:

    Forget the music of Black Flag. Get Henry Rollins. I know he’s not in the band anymore, but he’s a hardcore mofo. He’d only have to stand over him with a hard stare and the job would be done. I have to say, I was wetting myself when I read that he snapped his fingers and danced as he sang. That was priceless. I’m all for self expression and in the scheme of things he’s not causing any real damage, but perhaps he should save it for the weekends at home or at a club. But maybe he spends his evenings in a gimp mask.

    Finally, I must say this… Tower of Power! How much do I love you right now, Oma? I don’t know their whole back catalogue, but I first heard them years ago, when On The Serious Side was played on the radio. I found more later through the albums In The Slot and the eponymous Tower of Power featuring What Is Hip? and Soul Vaccination. Brilliant songs from a brilliant group. And they’re still playing after 40 years.

    • omawarisan says:

      It is the dancing and all its accoutrements that make this an issue. He must be stopped. I’ve tolerates simple singing before, but this is something different.

      I knew you were someone of taste and style, but Tower of Power makes that obvious. They still put on a good, high energy show and tour Europe every year. See them if you get a chance, I’m certain you will have a good time

  11. Mrs. Abyss says:

    I rarely laugh first thing in the morning, you got me this time. Bravo! Mr A. will say to me “WTF, you never laugh at me in the morning!”

    Have you tried singing along with him? What I would do is sing slightly off key and slightly louder then him. Even dance, snap and clap along with him. Act like your super excited and want to join in the fun Match the bastard word for word. If he tries to sing louder, louder you go. Throw in a few YAHOO’s, WHOHA’s and OH YEAH BABY’s at him.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you! If he gives you any grief whatsoever, please let him know he gets all day, every day to get to you, I get 2-3 shots a week. That isn’t even close to balance, but you don’t hear me complaining!

      The sing along technique may work. I tend to play the “does not speak unless someone needs to be spoken to” role at work. Maybe the outrageousness of me going along with it will make it apparent how ridiculous he looks.

  12. shoutabyss says:

    The weekend comes,
    My cycle hums,
    Ready to race to you!

    Goodbye grey sky, hello blue.
    There’s nothing can hold me when I hold you.
    Feels so right, it can’t be wrong.
    Rockin’ and rollin’ all week long.

    I wanna play, too! Pleeeze??

    I usually do a little singing at my desk, too. Sometimes I’ll do it out on the retail floor when I know I’m the only one around. Yeah, I know other people can hear me, but that’s the whole point! 🙂

    I usually limit my performances to the words I’m sure I know. Something like this:

    Something something something
    Something something something
    Four hundred children and some crops in the field!
    Something something something
    Lucille!

    • omawarisan says:

      If you snap your fingers,dance and look at people while you sing this is definitely outside permissible behavior and I will be obligated to report you to the proper authorities.

  13. maria says:

    no help here…but oh sooo funny! I can see a movie or at least a ‘character’ in a show or movie on this guy.. let us know what happens!! 😉

  14. gordoria says:

    yes, this was freaking funny! I’ve come to NC from San Francisco …. you. are. funny. I had no idea southerners were so darn funny. 😉

    • omawarisan says:

      Glad you liked it. Where in NC are you?

      • gordoria says:

        Actually we are in Campobello, SC which is 4 miles from Tryon, NC. When I moved I high tailed it to Charlotte for an IKEA visit! lol … I’ve been lost in there before. The last time I was there a man was literally walking in circles and stopped and yelled, “how do I get out of here” .. he was standing right in front of me so I looked around and I honestly couldn’t help him.

        Oh wait, this is the wrong post. I haven’t experienced the office singer. I’ve been out of the work force having babies for too long!! 🙂

  15. I suppose you could suggest to him that if he wants to sing and dance all day, the cannery would be the place to work! Specifically, a gigantic room full of frighteningly loud machinery where one works by oneself – like the corn cutters, where you feed corn cobs into a machine that shaves off the kernels. It’s impossible to do any really good thinking because you have to wear earplugs that clog up your head, so singing is a great option. Lalalalala…zzzzt…FERNANDO!

    (Note: I worked 8 days at a cannery so I know. I loved the singing part. Also, corn cobs make great “microphones”…)

  16. […] I included some of my favorite co-workers and a few that I don’t like quite so much, like The Singing Guy, Blackberry On The Toilet Guy and The Boss. Here are my projections of what might be going on in […]

  17. […] be used on the truly vile, not on people who we differ with philosophically or people that have annoying habits. We must use our power for good, not […]

  18. […] Posted on December 8, 2010 by omawarisan You might recall my struggle to deal with The Singing Guy, a person in my office whose awkward and lengthy singing performances can’t be stopped by […]

  19. […] year I told you about The Singing Guy, a person at my work place whose quirky singing performances leave others in the office feeling […]

  20. Melissa says:

    I have an office singer, and today I lost it and yelled, “sing to yourself!” I hope I don’t get fired.


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