Sherri’s first month at work rolled by quickly, but she still had a lot to learn. She had avoided many office dramas by keeping to herself. Having an office to herself made it easier not to socialise with her colleagues. However, in her fifth week, an electrical fault in her office made it necessary for her to work in the open office.

As the maintenance crew walked in, she gathered some files, her purse and headed to her temporary workstation where six of the company’s staff sit.

“Hi everyone” She called out cheerfully.

“Hi, Sherri,” Her colleagues responded.

“Well, here comes the queen.”  Soji said laughing.

Everyone burst into laughter.

Sherri shot him a look of irritation before proceeding to find an empty desk that would be her workstation for the day.

“Poor Sherri has been pushed out of her Island.” Bunmi teased in a comical voice.

Sherri’s jaw clenched as frustration washed over her. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, it’s just a joke!” Soji said, “We call your office an Island because you don’t share it with anyone. You know, people who live on Islands don’t socialize with people like us.” He pointed at their other colleagues. “We, are on the mainland here, sharing the same workplace with others.”

Everyone burst into laughter again. Sherri wanted to give them a piece of her mind, but she suddenly came back to her senses. She was taking their joke personally however, if they stepped out of line, she wouldn’t hesitate to caution them, but they hadn’t done that yet.

“You are free to come by my Island to say hello when you are on break.” Sherri said, laughing.

A few minutes later, Sandra, the office gossip, breezed in.

“Good morning Sandra.” Sherri greeted.

“Good morning, guys.” Sandra waved with a huge smile.

Everyone answered her greeting except for Sherri.

Sandra placed one hand on her hip as she turned to Sherri. “What’s your problem ehn? Do you think you are better than Soji, and the others who answered my greeting?”

Sherri stared at her in surprise.

“She greeted you first when you came in.” Soji informed her, “Why do you take everything personally?”

Ashamed of her behaviour, Sandra stormed out.

Sherri silently vowed not to take everything said to her at work personally. There will be colleagues with bad jokes, those who form cliques and never include you in anything and the bitter, jealous ones like Sandra. It would be an emotional toll if she took everything personally.

Later in the day, she took some files to her boss’ office. Mrs. Adams was on the phone when she walked in, but she signaled to her to wait.

 Sherri placed the files on her desk and stood at a discreet distance. Suddenly, her boss pulled the phone away from her ear while placing her palm over the mouthpiece.

“Don’t you have anything to do? Do I pay you to laze around?”

Sherri’s polite smile didn’t waver. “You asked me to wait, ma’am.”

“I’ll call you when I need you.” Mrs. Adams swiveled her chair around, turning her back to her.

Sherri grinned when she stepped out of the office.

She would have to mentally add verbal abuse from her boss to the pile of stuff she shouldn’t take personally.

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