The ISTJ Assists a Human

This is about Bob, an older sales rep I work with who can’t stand to be quiet or alone for more than a few minutes. I know because my cubicle is next to his office. Silence and stillness are nonexistent – he’s either on his phone or flitting around the office from cube to cube. He’s a large man, so every time he stands up or sits down I hear his chair plunk and squeak. He zooms out of his office, chats with someone for a little bit, and zooms back in, slamming the door. Eye contact means you’re going to have a conversation for at least 10 minutes, and it doesn’t end there. He’ll be back frequently throughout the day to add on to the conversation (popular topics include bull semen, butter, beef, and the arts – he sells ads for some farm publications).

He’s capable of doing so much on his own but seems to have an obsessive need for frequent human contact – enough so that he refuses to complete tasks by himself. I think he often pretends like he doesn’t know how to do things even though he’s been here for 20-ish years. I swear, every half hour or so he calls someone into his office to help him with simple tasks, like on Friday for instance, when I showed him how to open a file from an email, save it as a different name on his desktop, and attach it in a new email. He always likes to appear so helpless that he has his helper victims sit in his chair and use his mouse and keyboard because he “doesn’t know where anything is on the computer.” Maybe. He’s always so grateful that he brings food for people as gifts. Recently I received two oranges and some cheese.

It’s hilarious, infuriating, and sad at the same time. It’s hard sitting next to him because I’m interrupted quite often during the day, even while wearing headphones. One day, as I pass by the coffee station he gets visibly excited, like “Oh my God, it’s a person! I must talk to this person, but about what?!” And then it’s, “Hey youngster, come over here for a second. I know you’re a real pro at all this technical stuff and I’m an old fart. Come over here and help me, I never use this old coffee machine.”

I see him using the coffee machine every damn day. Lies! So here’s how it went down, and where my ISTJ characteristics come into play:

Me: “Oh, you’re needing some assistance? Let’s begin with a question. What is your purpose?” He looks at me blankly, so I add, “What is it that you want?”

“Oh, I just want a cup of coffee.” He’s holding a dark roast coffee packet in his hand. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my coworker Sam walk by and give me an evil, knowing grin.

“Okay, so let’s look at the screen on this machine. You want coffee and there are four buttons: coffee, tea, chocolate, and cappuccino. Which button seems like the most logical choice?”

Bob looks stumped. “…Coffee?”

“That seems reasonable, Bob. Why don’t we try that and see what happens?”

He pushes the coffee button, and without a word, inserts his packet and follows the rest of the directions on the screen, no coaching needed.

In a few seconds he’s holding a cup of fresh, hot coffee in his hand, gazing at it in awe. “Well I’ll be darned, look at that! You’re such a pro!”

“Look at that! You hardly needed me. I’m proud of you, Bob,” I say. “Maybe next week with the proper training, you can upgrade to a cappuccino.”

“I know where to find you!” His eyes shine with delight and he tears off in search of the next possible human interaction.

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12 thoughts on “The ISTJ Assists a Human

  1. God save us from the bored office worker!! Holy crapoli, it drains my energy keeping those cruel evil f@ckers entertained, I swear by almighty God, if it weren’t for political correctness (and common decency), I’d have them all strung up from the walls, enduring the very real taste of what it means to yearn for the restoration of utter boredom! 😉 (ha,ha) xx

    • Normally I would tolerate the free food he gives me in return for the trouble and it would be fine, but he’s also notorious for not washing his hands after going to the bathroom. He also likes to hover and make sure I’ve taken a big bite! What I need is to keep a basket of cold fish at my desk. Not only will the smell ward off everyone but I can slap people with the fish if necessary.

      • OMG, how awful! There’s an old trick where you put something like a bit of fish or egg in a cup, then jam it at the back of their desk draw, so when they open it, they don’t see it – but they sure will smell it!! LMAO! Got to get even somehow!

        I got a bit carried away with my rant above, I easily get really caught up in office shenanigans, I’m a real sucker, luckily I was warned who to watch out for, I still been very close to getting my ass burned. Damn it! Whats the matter with people? I wasted so much of my precious time, men are such losers!! :O

      • Ah, gross! He’s annoying but I don’t think he deserves dead fish stench. Oof. Now, if there were something I could hide in his office that would periodically make an annoying noise, that would be PERFECT! Even when he’s not in his office he leaves his cellphone in there and it goes off for a very long time when it rings (duck quacking is the ringtone).

      • Its difficult to imagine anything more annoying than that! It would be simply marvellous if you could jam something in his computer fan that causes irritating squeaks or similar! I think the people in my office have done advanced courses in irritation, one gives me advice on life choices, most unwelcome!! Another, well there is nothing she won’t stoop to, another is disapprovingly above all that, which is fine, she’s the office anchor I guess – me I’m just bounce around between the 3 of us, its a crazy scenario, if only I didn’t have to go there! 😉

  2. If I didn’t feel such deep compassion for your suffering, I’d laugh. This is soooo classic office life. As a fellow ISTJ, I am in a similar situation. People love to drop by my cubie to chat about that fart smell in the elevator while I’m in the middle of working a hot tasker that could end my world as I know it if I muff it. Then on the other hand, my budget analyst is a sweet young lady of impeccable manners and public decorum whom I have to go see regularly to unscrew my budget so my projects can have a little funding fun. I know she is praying that karma will strike me dead so she can have some peace and quiet to drive her spreadsheets around the block while listening to grunge music on her head phones. I don’t want to be her Bob. Next time, I’ll ask her what she knows about bull semen and not even bring up money in the coversation and see how that goes. Did I mention, I really don’t want to be that guy. 😳😜

    • Thanks for restraining yourself! Haha. Yes, first bring up bull semen, then walk away 5 steps. Stop. Turn around and add something else about bull semen Walk away, this time 10 steps. Stop. Return to her with a joke on bull semen. Stop. Walk away 5 steps, and come back yet again because you noticed she was wearing the koolest Doc Marten grunge boots and damn, you just had to say something because this one time, when you were 10 years old, blah blah blee blee bloo! Then bring her a candy bar after she tells you she’s avoiding sugar. Yay!

  3. Oh lord…save me from office extroverts (I’m an INFJ). I can understand the need for attention (I suppose), but this poor fellow seems almost desperate for it. I’m a headphones wearing person, too, and the only person who really “bothers” me is my supervisor when he needs to run something by me to get my opinion. That’s not bothersome though since I like talking out issues and do enjoy lending a helping hand. Thankfully no one at my job is as intrusive as your “friend,” but we had one before, and he just did not get the hint when people were tired of talking. There are certain social signals you send, and some are just immune.

    • I had a feeling you were closely related as far as the Meyers Briggs types go 🙂 Yesterday Mr. “Friend” came by and knocked on my cube wall. My headphones were on so I took them off, and he said, “Are you ready for all the NOISE?! I’m back!” My boss has asked me before if I’d like to move but it doesn’t matter, he walks around the entire office so often and knows where everyone sits. He never bothers the lady across from me because she looks mean and IS mean, but I just can’t be, haha. Like you said, some people just don’t receive those social signals. Sigh.

      • Oh yes, I am very much introverted, though I’m one of those weird ones who can be outgoing so people think I’m extroverted hehe. It’s still amazingly draining, and eventually, I retreat to the world of my phone.

        It’s good your boss is understanding, and I get the inability to be mean. I’m also empathetic, and I hate being mean to people…even annoying ones.

      • Sometimes I’ll have extroverted bursts. It doesn’t take me long to warm up to people I like, and I can even be the life of the party at times.

        Nice people win. 🙂

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