Forgetting How to Type When Being Watched (and Other Office Phenomena)

The following is an article from my column in Glass Heel.

Like a beam of light, office elevators transport us to an alternate universe filled with the unexplained. Lunches mysteriously disappear from fridges even when clearly marked. The point you spent all night getting just right, suddenly gets lost on the tip of your tongue the next day. And, where is that email you know you sent that your colleague claims you didn’t. You’re not crazy. WHERE IS IT? Is this The Twilight Zone?!

You’re not alone. Let’s explore the strange occurrences we encounter every day, but can never explain, in the office.

Presentation Malfunction

No matter how prepared you are for that client meeting, if you’ve included media in your presentation, especially video, expect something to go wrong. You may have tested the clip on different computers beforehand to ensure the video will play. You may have even tested it just moments before show time. But now, you’ve got all eyes on you with crickets in the background and a black screen where the video should be. Oh, the irony. Make a little joke and then move on to plan B. Having a back-up demonstration that you practiced will make you look even more professional – even if it does involve stick-figures.

Type Fright

I don’t know what it is that can turn a tech-savvy employee like yourself into a technically challenged buffoon the minute someone’s watching you. But, I think it has something to do with the same paranormal force that causes stage fright. Your vision is blurrier; your fingers fumble over letters when they typically glide across the keyboard like a classical pianist. And, when someone leans over your shoulder to direct you to a folder on the office shared drive, you forget the basic functionalities of a computer – like ex-ing out when you just meant to minimize, triple-clicking icons spastically because you’re so nervous and trying to find a folder that is literally staring you in the face while your co-worker watches in awe. (I’m getting anxious just thinking about it.) Next time, take a deep breath and try to channel your inner-middle schooler who was a flipping wiz at AOL Instant Messenger, even with dial-up, surfing the chat rooms with a screen name like MegRulz103 (that was actually my first screen name).

Click here to read the full article at Glass Heel!

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