The sign taped to Robert Hellman’s office door clearly read Do Not Disturb; what it meant – well, that depended upon the person doing the reading.
To those who valued their career it meant, When the boss says don’t bother him, then you don’t bother him.
To those with very few grey cells in their brain, the message could have meant anything. Did he mean, Do not disturb me because I’m in a meeting? Do not disturb me except if the building’s on fire? Do not disturb me unless Angelina Jolie’s here to say she’s leaving Brad Pitt for me? Inevitably, they all asked the Sales Manager’s Administrative Assistant why there was a Do Not Disturb sign on Robert’s door.
“Because he doesn’t want to be disturbed,” Helen, the queen of pointing out the obvious, replied to each and every one of them.
To those with no grey cells whatsoever, it meant what only those with zero intelligence could dream up: When he says ‘Do Not Disturb’, he’s talking about everybody else. As for me, he’ll be totally cool with me busting in because what I have to say is of earth shattering importance!
“What the hell, Morgan?” Robert yelled at one of his junior reps. “Did you not see the sign on the door?”
“Yes, and sorry,” Morgan apologized. “It’s just that I need to ask a quick question. The school board said that they won’t buy their uniforms from us unless they can get the same rate as last year. Is that fine with you?”
“Morgan, when does the new school year start?”
“In September, of course. Right after Labour Day.”
“And how much time do we need to make up these school uniforms?”
“So the order would need to be in by the start of August?”
“And what day is it?”
“So you just had to barge in here for an answer this very second because…what? The superintendent has to vamoose for a two month stint in rehab? Giorgio Armani’s offering to make a designer line of uniforms for a fraction of the price of our polyester-rayon uniforms? You’re afraid every team within the school district will have losing seasons if they don’t wear our tacky, ill fitting garbage?”
“No. I just really want to make this sale,” Morgan said with the sound of desperation commonly heard in a sales person’s voice.
“I expect you to make the sale.”
“Is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ then?”
“It means that you and I are going to have a chat once I’m done with this very important business call you just interrupted.”
“Of course. Sorry,” Morgan apologized once again before closing the door softly.
“Who was that?” asked the woman Robert was talking to on the phone before his soon to be ex-sales rep interrupted.
“Just one of my idiot employees. Now, where were we? Oh yes, does it cost less if you just use your whips on me, or is it the same price for whips and chains?”
Now you know why people hang a Do Not Disturb sign on their office door every now and then, and why it’s important to honour their request.