No Big Deal

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


Arturo: A customer service supervisor at a fictional company
Tracy: An IT employee

Scene: Arturo’s office. Tracy dashes in holding a cup of coffee.


T: Sorry I’m late. Stopped in the break room to get some coffee and that new temp… Ron… was in there passing out birthday cake and doing his thing.

A: “His thing”?

T: (takes off jacket, puts on chair) Yeah, the “spank me, it’s my birthday” thing. Putting on a big show even though he’s only been here 27 and a half days, not that I’m counting. The whole thing’s juvenile and disgusting. Anyway, sorry. What’s going on?

A: No network access. All we’re doing right now is stacking up messages from irate customers. We’re headed for record sales and bonuses this month and for me, with 3 girls in college, what that means is a triple DVD weekend with their momma, a bottle of good pinot, Chinese food, Haagendasz, etcetera. OK? It’s major (they move to desk), so pretty please with sugar on top, FIX IT!

T: (sits at computer) Let’s see what you did…(opens up laptop). Whoa, Nelly…yikes. That screen saver….is that Gloria?….a lot of her there… didn’t expect that…

R: (laughs) One of those glam shots for our anniversary. It’s my wife, for Pete’s sake…

T: Yeah, well…that outfit’s pretty…whatever.

R: C’mon, Tracy, it’s nothing more than you see at the beach. Lot less than at the Museum of Art! (good natured) Hey, I’m sorry. Didn’t even think about it. It’s only me at my computer…the occasional IT guy – or gal. No one’s ever complained.

T: Yeah, well, guess I’m not as “earthy” as some people.

R: You mean like this Ron guy? What a character, huh? (laughs)

T: No. Not like Ron. Nothing on this planet like him. Hearing his name makes my blood boil. That’s why I was late. He just had to come at me in the break room in front of everyone, with the birthday spanking routine, implying I’m a prude or maybe not into men because I don’t like his act. I had to step outside, try to stop hyperventilating…(breathing gets labored) Just don’t mention him, OK? Oh, darn…it’s happening again…. hold on. (hyperventilates, deep breathes, gets control) OK, need to focus…(works keyboard)….….you need to run that clean-up program I installed for you once a week, OK? Yup….aha…I see….let me…aha!…..OK… we’re in business. Ask someone to try accessing the network….

A: (calls on phone) Jamal, see if you can access the network.(pause) Yeah?  Great!  get to work, I’ll be out there in a minute. (To Tracy) You’re Wonder-Woman! A lifesaver! Great action, kid. (gives casual hug, she’s uncomfortable) I thank you, my wife thanks you, the voices in my head thank you!

T: (moves toward the door) Hey, it’s what I’m here for. It’s my job. There’s nothing more important to me. Something people like Ron just can’t understand. (gets agitated) People like that think everything’s about them, so self-absorbed. To people like him, my life’s one big joke. No respect for….…hey…sorry…forget it. (puts on jacket, prepares to leave) You’re up and running and that’s a good thing.

A: Whoa. Hold on. Talk to me. You seem (pauses) really upset. Sit down for a sec.

T: (she sits, reluctantly) I really didn’t mean to get into this. Can we just… ?

A: (gently) Look, Tracy, we’re friends… let’s talk. OK, Ron’s wild and crazy. I see that. He’s new, he’s a temp, probably a lil’ over-the-top trying to fit in. You know how it is. He seems pretty harmless. Just a hippie-dippy free spirit. Big mouth, big heart. You know the type. I mean, what’s he do that’s so bad?

T: Comes on to me. Flirts. Gets personal. Always talking about how “older women really know where it’s at”, wants to get together outside of work. Pushes me until I blow, then says he’s “just teasing”, acts like I’m over-reacting. Loves embarrassing me. Everyone else seems to get a kick out of it too. Like watching a cat toy with a wounded mouse.

A: Nice metaphor. You a writer? (Pause) Fine, I agree. He should stop that stuff. He probably meant it as a compliment. All things considered, I think most people would take it that way. Never-the-less, you don’t so he shouldn’t do it. The guy’s charismatic, funny… hey I’m man enough to say it, a good looking guy… not that I’m looking… ‘cause I don’t fly that way! (Laughs, she doesn’t) But I’m sure women usually dig his act and he probably sees you as a challenge. Know what I mean? OK, I guess you don’t. In any case, he’s a temp, so he’ll be history pretty soon and the problem’s solved. For now, my advice is be straight with him. Make it absolutely clear. Boom! Direct! Once he understands…

T: (upset) No, see, Arturo you don’t get it… I’ve done that. Over and over. It’s fun to him.

A: OK. I hear you. If that’s the case, maybe I should say something to him…

T: ….no, please, I don’t want….

A: …actually, I should mention it to Larry. He’s your supervisor. He needs to deal with it….

T: No, no! Don’t say anything! I don’t want you to, OK? The word will get out I complained and the rest of the team will have a field day with it. You know how people are about whistleblowers. Especially since it’s not the first time I’ve had a problem. Face it. I’m out of step. I mean, I compromise, believe me. I put up with some weirdo behavior from clients when I’m in the field. There’s nothing anyone can do about that and we don’t want to lose business over it so I don’t say anything, but here, I shouldn’t have to…you know what? Let’s just drop it.

A: Hey, Tracy, I want to help, OK? Thing is, I’m not exactly sure what the protocol is. The guy’s a temp. He doesn’t technically work for us. It’s something Larry probably needs to talk with H.R. about…

T: No, no, no! That’s exactly what I don’t want! I’ve got to do something, it’s starting affect my work. But no H.R., no going to Larry, none of that, OK? I will deal with it. (prepares to leave) It’s not your problem. Really. Fortunately, your problem’s fixed. Anything else I can do for you?

A: (moves to her) Yes. Relax. Lighten up. Smell the coffee. Life’s too short, seriously. That stress will suck the life right out of you. You’re an excellent employee. I’ve gotta be honest with you, Tracy. I really need to say something to Larry about this.

T: No. Please. I’m asking you… don’t. I don’t want you talking to anyone about this stuff. I thought this was confidential, between friends, or I wouldn’t have said anything in the first place. Now I feel like I’m gonna be on the Dr. Phil show. Look, if anyone asks me about it, I’ll deny it. Please. I’ll handle it. One way or another.

A: Wait just a minute, OK? (audience interaction about key learning points)

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