Work Smart? Or Work Busy?

A while back I took the dog to the vet and while I was waiting for my turn, the two women at the reception desk were handling a call from a woman who had found a stray dog. The first woman -- let's call her Mrs. Busy -- wasn't completely sure how to look up tag numbers on the computer system so the second woman -- let's call her Ms. Smart -- showed her how to do it. They came up with three possibilities, but the stray dog did not match any of the descriptions.

"It's brown and white? A terrier? Are you sure it's not a bichon frise?" Mrs. Busy asked the woman on the other end of the phone.

Ms. Smart went back to work but Ms. Busy wasn't quite ready to let it go. She c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y re-entered the tag number into the computer, s-l-o-w-l-y repeated each description to the woman on the phone and then p-a-i-n-s-t-a-k-i-n-g-l-y gave the woman on the phone the names and addresses of the owners of each of the non-matching dogs, including the bichon frise.

Meanwhile, the Ms. Smart answered three phone calls, greeted two customers, asked me a few questions, got the dog's heartworm and flea and tick medications ready for me, and then brought me into the exam room. We were in there for about 15 minutes and when we came out I swear to God Mrs. Busy was still on the phone with the stray dog lady, saying "and you said it definitely wasn't a bichon frise?"

Ms. Smart was looking a little frustrated.

Life is so unfair, isn't it? Mrs. Busy took 25 minutes to do something that should have taken five minutes. Meanwhile, Ms. Smart was stuck doing everything else while her co-worker was on the phone wasting time. I think Ms. Smart should be rewarded for being more efficient. I think she should have grabbed the phone away from Mrs. Busy, suggested some other places for the woman to call, hung up and then taken a 20-minute break.

But she wouldn't do that, because if she did it would look like she was the one slacking off. No, I suspect that the Ms. Smarts of the world aren't rewarded for their efficiency with anything other than more work.


Robert said...

Ms. Busy's sister works at our local bank. The rest of the tellers can handle 5 transactions each in the time it takes her to record a single deposit. They all look at her with dagger eyes constantly.

Anonymous said...

You are very wise!