Can We Talk?

By Kit Goldman, President of Workplace Training Network, Inc.

Darren: an employee at a fictional company or government agency Navy
Sherry: a co-worker

Scene: Sherry enters David’s workspace.

S: Hey David

D: Hey.

S: Can I come in?

D: You’re already in.

S: Well, can I sit down and talk to you for a minute?

D: OK. Would you mind brushing off your pants first? No offense, but you’re always covered in cat hair.

S: (works to maintain composure) Sure. (Brushes off seat of her pants, sits) I want to talk with you about the Tri-States project

D: Oh –not a social visit? Well, that’s a damn shame. I’d love another personal chat like our last one. Remember? Where you told me “hit the road, Jack, and don’t come back no mo’”.

S: I didn’t say that. I told you I liked and respected you as a person, and a co-worker — which I do — but that I wanted to stick to business. And if it’s OK with you, that’s what I’d like to do right now.

D: And what if it’s not OK with me?

S: David, you’re the team leader on this project. I’m a member of your team. I have some concerns I’d like to address with you.

D: Go right ahead.

S: Well, first off, apparently there was a team meeting I didn’t know about and there was information relating to the rollout of the program that everyone got but me. (blows nose) Sorry. I’m fighting off something. (Starts to throw Kleenex in his trash can)

D: Could you please not use my trash can?

S: Excuse me?

D: Please don’t use my trash can.

S: Why not?

D: Because that’s for my trash. Plus, maybe you heard, there’s a pandemic.

S: Well, where should I put it?

D: I better not answer that.

S: David, can I be straight with you?

D: Hell no! Not after you came to Gracie’s Halloween party as Elton John.

S: I’m going to let that pass and try to stay on point with what I came to say. Look, David, I’m the first to admit I invited those… personal encounters…we had. It was an ego boost being pursued by a young hotshot…

D:…why are you so hung up about age? I’m not. I love older women. They’re so appreciative…

S: …and I did appreciate you, David. But you know, we were traveling a lot together and a lot of times the rulebook goes out the window on the road and things happen that probably shouldn’t….

D: Wow. Wait. Hold it! (dramatic) Gotta take the knife out of my heart. I thought what happened between us was beautiful. I have no regrets. I still think it could have been one of the best affairs I ever had…oops, that came out wrong, but you know what I mean.

S: I hear you. But moving on from that, we both have a major stake in the success of this project. It’s going to require 100% from everyone. You and I need to work together in a positive way. That’s not always happening right now. I want to discuss some specific problems and hopefully resolve them.

D: Good God almighty, Sheila, you sound like a damn Dale Carnegie textbook. I’m not aware of any problems. OK, I accidentally forgot to CC you on a couple of emails. Bad, bad me. From now on, I’ll make sure you’re in the loop.

S: Great. Thanks. I appreciate it. That was one of the issues. There are a few others. Will you hear me out?

D: Sure. Go ahead. Take me to the woodshed, mom.

S: I have a hard time with some of your language. Profanity’s tough for me. My father was always swearing and yelling. It puts me on edge. Plus, things like telling me to brush of my pants before using your chair, or not to use your trash feel like a real put down. It makes me think you’re upset with me about something. If you are, put it on the table, let’s work it out instead of having it come out that way.

D: Is that it?

S: One more thing. I heard from Annie who heard from Mark who heard from Lindsey that Noreen was in a snit over what happened between you and me on the DC trip and now you’re seeing her and she was the one putting pressure on you to exclude me. This is worse than high school. The point is that what happens between the 2 of us isn’t just between the 2 of us when it comes to work. It impacts everyone and affects our work as a team.

D: Well, I can’t imagine why the hell – (sarcastic) excuse me, heck – you ever got involved with an (starts to use a nasty word, stops himself) – jerk – like me. Damn – (exasperated) darn – this is cramping the (stops himself) out of my communication style.

S: (rises) I appreciate the effort, David. I really do. (checks watch) Well, better get back to it. Thanks again for hearing me out

D: (sarcastic) Yeah, it was delightful. Second only to talking to my 3rd ex-wife. Let’s do it again real soon. (she starts to leave) Sheila…(she stops, turns) there’s a team meeting Thursday at 10. I’ll get you the info you need for it.

S: Great. I’ll put it on my calendar. Thanks.

D: I’ll also make sure you get that info you missed. Let me know if you have questions.

S: Will do. Thanks. Listen, David, I want to be sure I let you know specifically what was bothering me and how certain behavior was affecting me. Was I clear about that?

D: (to audience) What do you think? Was she?

This script is the copyrighted intellectual property of the Workplace Training Network, Inc. and may not be reproduced or used for any purpose without express permission of WTN San Diego CA.