If you work in an environment with more than ten people sitting in a leased space, than you have most definitely encountered the Corporate Stare.
It happens to me every single day. What is this horrific occurrence and why must I be afraid of someone’s prying eyes, you ask? Because the awkwardness of the situation is about as uncomfortable as an eighteen year-old visiting the gynecologist for the first time. You feel naked, exposed, and there is never anything good to look at while you’re caught in the position.
As you find yourself walking down a row of beige cubicles, you are suddenly confronted by another person you do not know or barely know and find yourself locking eyes with them as you move for the pass. Desperately, your eyes dart for the walls, searching for a new poster to which they could divert. But the wall is blank – damn! Next, you move to smile, that fake, unenthusiastic stretch of the mouth that bares a few teeth and barely lifts at the corners. The person approaching mimics your moves and as you cross each other’s path, you mutter through clenched teeth a forced hello that barely approaches language.
In the moment following the encounter, your body tingles with awkwards and that eerie, creepy feeling that comes only after someone has intentionally violated you in some way. You feel like you have lost a giant staring contest and the only position left is to slump over in defeat, recognizing the poor communication skills you have developed. At the very same time, that feeling disperses as you realize your darty eyeballs and grinding of the teeth has ceased and the situation is over.
All you can do is pray it never happens again. Or that an interesting poster is pasted on a wall next time.