Today, I find myself at a client site. I am sandwiched in between a contractor from one of the “big five” Indian outsourcing firms, and relatively quiet, yet efficient Chinese-born electrical engineer from Canada. The EE on my right is quiet, professional, and works relentlessly. The contractor in the cubicle to my left spends an excessively severe amount of his day on the phone talking in a breezy Indian dialect to his coworkers. When he has no one to talk to, he hums.
But most of the time, he has no problem finding anyone to talk to. He will talk just about anything. Recent topics include: Progressive car insurance, transferring his H1B visa to another company, car maintenance, buying and selling cars, and interviewing for .NET positions, DVD players, laptop components, and shopping.
My brain focuses on the foreign language trying to make sense out of the garbled chatter. Even when I try to actively tune it out, my brain will process the sounds until an English word pops up in the conversation, like “.NET” and my brain will fire an event telling my consciousness to pay attention. It is extremely annoying and at the same time fascinating.
I personally find his behavior fascinating. I abhor long meetings or phone calls. I sometimes turn off my phone just so I can concentrate without distractions. Yet, Mr. X. has no problem talking on a phone for well over an hour. I’m not kidding. Well over an hour.
Additionally, there is a set of steel double doors are behind me, which lead out to a smoking area and the other building. As a result, I continuously hear scuffing feet hurrying for a meeting or nicotine fix. The steel doors close with loud kerthunk. Kerthunk.
All of this takes place within a universe of about five feet.
The enchanting life of a consultant.