The Empty Office

Today, we present the first in a five-day series of story excerpts from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice by Seth Allcorn and Howard Stein. Their book – which uses a psychodynamically informed perspective to help readers understand why colleagues and bosses can behave in destructive ways – is on sale all week!

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The following excerpt is from “The Empty Desk” in the chapter, “The Geography of Organizational Darkness.”

While consulting with a computer company, an organizational consultant, Robert, had an interview with one of the company’s financial managers, Joan. The subject was her experience of a recent downsizing. Joan was almost out of breath as she spoke. There was panic in her voice. Her story goes as follows.

Am I glad to see you today! Robert, the strangest thing happened Monday. I was off sick Friday. I came in to work on Monday morning and the office next to me was cleared out. There was a desk, a chair, a computer, a couple of file cabinets and bookcases, a wastebasket. And that’s it. Empty. I still can’t believe it, and it’s already Friday. It’s like there’s a big hole in this place. I knew the guy ten years. His name is Don. He was one of our number crunchers. A quiet guy who and just did his work. It seemed like he was always here, always working. He is a computer whiz anyone in the unit could go to for a computer glitch. We aren’t–maybe I should say weren’t, since he’s gone–weren’t exactly friends, but we worked together a lot on projects. He was kind of part of the furniture.

It’s so eerie. I’m numb over it. I keep going next door to look in his office expecting to see him. Maybe I’m imagining that he’s gone, and he’s not. But the place is so empty.


Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s