What do you do when the lady that sits in the next cubicle, is crying uncontrollably at her seat while talking over the phone. As a human being often it is important to walk over and ask her if she needs any help. But this is not as simple as it sounds.
Firstly, one should not butt their nose into everything. Clearly the lady understands the unwritten rule of workplace and my going over will only embarrass her. The old school philosophy is not to undertake any personal calls at the workspace. If one needs a personal moment to recompose then it should be done in the rest room.
However clearly people do use their personal cellphones at work and nobody wants to be a moral police. Also not responding or reacting to the lady’s cries will make me sound like a heartless snob or not even empathizing or acknowledging her plight.
Not that I like to eavesdrop, but as a human sometimes one cannot totally ignore the tears. Still my hands are tied and I might be conducting a transgression by invading her privacy. The moment someone picks a phone, they assume that they are immediately transported to a remote & soundproof box. The physical neighbors cannot make head and tail of the conversation and the person on the other end of the line is ignorant of the background noises.
Lastly, she is between the phases of newly married/ engaged. So there is a high probability of my two words of empathy turn into an hour long monologue about boyfriend trouble, in-laws trouble, issues with marriage shopping etc. She is a dear friend, but still this is a place of business and I have a backlog to clear.
PS: I waited for two hours for her to take a tea break. There, I casually asked her how she was doing. Trust me I wasted two hours about various scenarios for nothing, the entire conversation got over in 10 minutes. Won’t life be so easy if everybody got soundproof cabins at work.