*As told to Kally from someone who wishes to be anonymous
I love my work and I love my company. Most of all, I love my colleagues. We are the only distributor for some of the highest end kitchen appliances in the country. The relationship between the employees are wonderful. It’s like working in a big extended family, only that the family is around 100 people. Everyone know everybody. We know each other by first names, know every colleague’s working style and pet peeves. Our company often set up movie nights or BBQ Sundays or Happy Hour strengthening our bonding.
Until we hired Stephen.
We have quite a number of single ladies in the company. Most of our male colleagues are happily married and those who are not are already called for.
Stephen is like a dreamboat in our company. He is young, handsome, well built and extremely charming. He is also the office manager. Not only does he has that old gentlemanly airs around him, he believes in chivalry. He comes from old money and has quite a substantial family background. He’ll charm the pants off our most senior lady if he wants to. Most of the females (and I suspect some males) swoon over Stephen.
Of course, being such an attractive catch is no fault of Stephen. And of course, you can’t fault anyone being drawn to him like bees to honey. I don’t mind that I have someone easy on the eyes to look at. Stephen is also very professional at work. No hanky panky or anything near that sort.
All is well until one of his admiring ladies, let’s call her Amy, was transferred to his team. With the increased distance between the two of them, rumour has it that Amy became quite delusional and started to pile attention on Stephen, even create opportunities to be in the same room as Stephen. Of course, nobody will notice that unless it was Stephen. But Stephen’s one and only flaw is that he sees such attention as flattery and nothing more.
Someone did notice and she didn’t keep quiet about it. In Stephen’s team, Zoe works in the role of assistant, very much like a personal secretary that keep track of his appointments and travels. Now Zoe is famous in the company for being “man-hungry”. Her last relationship was with one of our major clients. It ended because the client’s fiancée found out. Previously, she did pursue some of our male colleagues but nothing comes out of it. So it is natural to assume that Zoe guarded Stephen like a prize of her own.
After the Covid lockdown, we all returned to office but business is pretty slow so we have plenty of time to watch the drama unfold. You start to notice petty stuff start to arise.
Like during a staff meeting, Zoe cut off Amy’s sentences midway or the other day, Zoe’s cushion was missing from her chair and it turned up in the pantry’s bin. Zoe will conveniently forget to process Amy’s claims (Amy’s bitching about it all morning to everyone). Amy will park her car at Zoe’s assigned spot (right in front of the office building) so Zoe had to park further away and walk in the rain.
All these antics are amusing to watch when we are all bored with time on our hands. But it split our team into two. Team Amy and Team Zoe. Someone will like the other better because he or she has worked with Amy or Zoe. Or Amy or Zoe had been kind to them or helped them before. This isn’t healthy for the company. People started taking sides and making snipe remarks about Amy or Zoe or both.
The ladies are creating a toxic environment to work in. I was neither team. I’m keeping my head low but I hate the changes in the workplace. I can’t concentrate on my tasks and the people I worked with wants to gossip on the latest drama.
All these while, strangely Stephen did nothing about it. I’m not sure if he even knew about the tension in his team. Or maybe he is nonchalant about it.
Last month, the tension eventually exploded. Amy “accidentally” misplaced Zoe’s thumbdrive causing her to lose an important presentation that Stephen needs. Zoe overheard someone made a passing remark that Amy did it deliberately. Zoe went straight for Amy’s neck and from there, a fight ensued. Right in the middle of office floor. In front of everyone. Screaming, yelling, cursing. I have never heard so many swear words stringed together in my life. Grabbing at each other, tearing hairs, kicking and slapping. Ooh, unsightly.
It took five of us to tear these two apart and sat both of them in different meeting rooms. Both of them were wailing their hearts out. Everyone was flustered and unsettled. Our bosses were horrified.
In the end, Amy resigned and Zoe was transferred to another department.
The best part? Stephen wasn’t even in office on that fight day. He was on vacation with his new girlfriend. He came back to office 2 weeks later, none the wiser and was called into bosses’ office immediately.
Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.