Take Ten – The Art of Not Listening

SkycraperToday’s Take Ten for Writers exercise was an interesting one. It was titled “Built to Last”. I had to start each sentence with one of the letters from the world “built” until the ten minutes were up.

The Art of Not Listening

Being able to listen is one of those skills that most of us seem to have a hard time getting good at.

Understand me. I’m not talking about hearing, but listening. Listening requires an active use of one’s mind.

I wasn’t sure if the woman I was talking to was really listening to me.

Last year the company had decided to renovate all of the floors in the office building.

The staff had complained bitterly about it as most of them had liked the offices the way they were.

Before the renovations, everyone had had their own space and privacy.

Unlike the old offices, however, the new spaces required all of us to sit in this open-area design that left us no privacy whatsoever

I could now hear the people on either side of me bitching to their spouses or their girlfriends or boyfriends or yelling at their kids on the phone.

Last week, I sent a memo to my supervisor explaining to her that I thought the changes to the office were actually derailing efficiency and diminishing morale.

The supervisor had responded back, explaining that it was out of her hands and I would have to contact upper management about any complaints I had.

But the woman they sent to address my concerns, even as I explained to her and she saw with her own eyes what a cacophony our once smoothly running office was now, appeared not to be listening to me.

Underlying all of her nods and her repetitive, yes, I see comments, I sensed she really didn’t care about what a mess our office had become.

I could not help feeling totally frustrated by the whole situation.

Letting this go on was intolerable.

The only solution that remained to me was to go further up the food chain to the Vice President or even beyond him if I had to.

But that would entail bringing down the righteous wrath of my supervisor for she would be the one who would be blamed for any insubordination on my part, or heaven forbid, rabblerousing.

Unlike the other employees in my department, I believed workers had a right to have some say in the environment they worked in.

It was in my blood you see. My grandfather had been a labor organizer back in the day, and I’d grown up hearing his stories about how he had fought tooth and nail for justice for workers.

Letting go of that legacy was something I could not bring myself to do.

To do so would be more than I could bear.

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