I think they thought it was funny at first, to haze the new girl or something. You know how it can be in offices when they have worked together for a long time? They get a sort of rhythm to their days and everyone plays their part and they all laugh at the right time. But then, someone new comes in and they have to find their equilibrium, so they play jokes or they come up with little tests to figure out where the new person is going to fit in.
These ladies decided they were going test me by stealing stuff out of my desk. Well, not stealing…borrowing. They would take my stapler first thing in the morning and then it mysteriously reappear after lunch in the same place I had left it. When I asked about it they all looked at me strangely as if the stapler had been there all along. They moved my shoes, my sweater, my paperwork, pretty much anything that wasn’t nailed down, and I somehow never actually caught them in the process – even though I was rarely out of my cubicle for long.
I tried to play along, be cool about it, but it isn’t an attitude that comes naturally to me. I wanted to rage or freak out in some way, but I knew that would only make it more fun for them. Besides, I figured it would only go on for a week or so and they would lose interest in my lack of reaction and I would start fitting in a bit more. That isn’t what happened though.
After eight work days of hiding my supplies and my clothes, they moved on to my snacks.
I don’t know about you but I am VERY serious about my snacks at work. I put a lot of thought into what I bring and I enjoy the anticipation of just the right snack at just the right time. I know that probably sounds a little over the top, but we all have our things, right? Just so happens that mine is snacks.
I still tried to play along. I endured the missing cookies, the vanishing grapes and the disappearing granola bars for about 3 days and then I couldn’t take it any more. I had to ask them to stop taking my treats out of my desk.
I had expected them to behave like adults, to agree to stop with the silly games, but I definitely overestimated them. Instead of owning up to what they had done so we could all laugh about it, they pretended that they had no idea what I was talking about. Since being reasonable didn’t work, I had to try something different.
So, the next morning I spoke to the janitor and explained that I thought I was having a problem with mice and I asked for his help. He got my desk all set up to catch ‘the little critters’ and I went about my day.
I was in my boss’ office when I heard the scream.
Did you know that a mousetrap can break a human finger?