The Haught guide to “too much information”

There’s an acronym doing the rounds on the interconnected network of digitised information at the moment. You might be familiar with it.

It’s TMI. It stands for “too much information”.

According to Urban Dictionary… actually, no I just checked and I can’t use any definitions from Urban Dictionary without risking losing the few remaining followers I have left.

TMI is generally used as a term of exasperation or disgust. It’s dispensed by a person burdened by the involuntarily role of listener. The recipient is a teller considered by the listener to have demonstrated the faultiness of an important biological filtration mechanism – the one that connects their brain to their mouth, thus:

“I just did a burp that tasted of a witch’s broth with a human foot in it. In a cauldron.”

“Oh. OK. Wow. TMI.”

The colleague who routinely discharges TMI is the most challenging of workplace obstacles.

Well, not the most.

The loud office sneezer really has no peer.

Actually, that’s not true, either. While I was working at Smorgy’s Burwood, my manager had a predilection for showering in tapioca. In the middle of a shift. In the middle of the dining area. Sponging himself with a slice of beef from the carvery. That was challenging in indescribable and unfathomable ways.

And the workplace backseat driver is number three. Definitely in the top five.

Oh, and the toilet bandit is… yeah – well ahead.

But the emitter of TMI is challenging nonetheless.

These colleagues are lords of discomfiture, capable of dispensing excruciating awkwardness at their god-like whim.

We mere mortals are powerless to stop them as they drain our offices of productivity, bewilder us with their hyper-candidness and, in the worst cases, chill us to the very fluid of our spinal cords.

Should we put up with them?

Absolutely not!

Co-workers have no place spouting over-the-top nonsense in our presence. If you want to be lavished with bizarre and barely believable stories about bodily and familial dysfunctions you know exactly where to go. In fact, you’re already here.



An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the Workplace section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)

Read more Haught newspaper columns


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