Rat droppings just do not belong in your office’s break room. I work in a typical office, filled with cubicles littered with pictures that remind each employee why they’re working so hard to bring in a paycheck. Some hours of the day are fairly quiet, the sound of keyboards clacking and phones ringing fill the air. Some hours of the day are pretty noisy, as co-workers socialize briefly before passing files onto someone else and sit back down to a fresh stack of their own. Occasionally, someone tells a pretty raucous joke, or a highly-entertaining story about the weekend, and laughter circulates. Certain days of the month are more stressful, when business normally picks up and deadlines loom. Those are the days when people are more likely to snap at each other or pick up an old bickering conversation. But, most of the time, it’s not a bad way to spend the days, weeks and months in order to pay for homes, cars, groceries and occasional vacations.
Our office doesn’t have an office administrator or office manager. We’re all expected to keep our workstations clean and pick up after ourselves. But, when there’s something bigger that needs to be repaired or maintained, the unspoken rule of the office is: The person who complains is the person who maintains. So, everyone pretends they don’t notice the air conditioning is broken so they don’t have to be the one to contact the repairman, oversee the work, and submit the paperwork. Eyes are averted when the office refrigerator is opened, because no one wants to be the one to admit it really needs to be cleaned out.
I just about gagged when I noticed rat droppings in the break room, though. It was impossible that the three other people who previously occupied the room failed to notice the black, round pellets scattered across the floor and one of the countertops. I faced a dilemma. Do I turn a blind eye, and tell myself that someone must have spilled their raisins? Do I break out the gloves and cleaner and pick up the mess, keeping silent about the problem? Or, do I take the proverbial bull by the horns, and take on the responsibility for getting a rat exterminator out to the office, getting nothing but paperwork and hassle for my effort? The boss would probably also make me send an email around to my co-workers letting them know we have now attracted rats to the building, and making them empty food out of their desk drawers. Yeah, that’d make me real popular.
But, rat droppings! You can’t just let that slide by and hope the problem goes away. Rats could be scurrying all through the walls right now, waiting for us to turn off the light so they can scamper out and run all over our desks, spreading diseases and filth.
I sighed as I realized I couldn’t just leave rat droppings in the break room, nor could I ignore the rat problem. I definitely needed a raise, though!