The Fourth Type

October 28, 2013

First, a reminder of why I rent. Last night, the fan on my furnace wouldn’t turn off. All night. Even though I shut it off. As I write, maintenance is in replacing the broken part that is causing it to run without stopping. (Something about a blown fuse and/or busted circuit board. Whatever. He has ideas on how to fix it. I feel like I’m listening to Car Talk, only about the fan on my furnace.)


Before I went back to work, a friend who has walked this path before me told me that she encountered three types of colleagues. There are those who don’t say anything either because they don’t know what to say or are afraid of saying the wrong thing (Type 1). There are those who will simply say they’re sorry (Type 2). And there are those who will want to talk (Type 3). And she told me that no one can win. You’ll be mad at Type 1 because, my god, don’t they care! You’ll be mad at Type 2 because they’ll make you cry. And you’ll be mad at Type 3 because you just want to be left alone to do your job.

But it turns out there are four types of colleagues. Type 4 are those who don’t know. And that’s the type I ran into today. On my way into work. At 6:45 this morning.

“What did you have?” she gleefully asked when she saw me. “Is it a boy or a girl?”

I took a deep breath, turned, and replied, “I had a girl. She was stillborn.”

Her jaw dropped. “Oh, I am so sorry. I had no idea. I would never have said anything if I’d known. I’m so sorry.” And she continued to apologize. All the way down the hall, she apologized. She apologized until our paths split. And I kept telling her that it was okay. She didn’t know. She doesn’t work on my floor. We really only see each other in passing because we arrive at work at the same time.

I sometimes forget that there are more than 500 employees where I work. It doesn’t feel like a big company, but it is. And while Courtney did a good job spreading the word, there was no way she could be certain everyone knew. (Courtney apologized, too. Even though I told her that it was okay. How could she have told everyone?)

And because of what I do for a living, there are also all of the people I work with who aren’t WMed employees. One of them emailed me today. I thought she knew. But I was wrong. The first sentence of the email asked if I’d had the baby yet…

So while today went better than Friday, it was still pretty rough. I can’t say that I was more productive today, but I didn’t cry nearly as much.

Two days done.

P.S. Fixing the furnace isn’t going as smoothly as I think they’d hoped. Something about stripped bolts. They’re trying to change the circuit board. Apparently the replacement wasn’t the right kind, so they have to run for a different part. Again, this is why I rent!


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