December 22, 2004

Officious George: Living in a Cube I'm blasting my headphones right now, because my cube neighbor is loudly yammering on and on about Kung Fu on the phone (and I can still hear him). I'm just wondering what's the best way to deal with an ├╝ber annoying co-worker, (especially one who is sensitive to critcism) without breaking office politics.

Also, at the risk of setting quidnuc or fuyugare off, if any monkeys have any particularly good stories of having to deal with super annoying co-workers, it'd really brighten my day, and erase the homicidal thoughts I'm having about Kung Fu man. Several years ago, I had a cube-mate who would call his girlfriend about twenty times a day, and end each call with "I looooooove you.. sooooo much... I looooooovvvee you." Just got on my last fucking nerve. One morning, he's crying in his cube, so of course, I ignored him. He made and received several phone calls over the next two hours, talking about how Jimmy is hurt, and he doesn't know what to do. He spoke with: His mom, His SO, his SO's mom, his aunt, his (other aunt, I guess) and a boat load of friends. I actually started to feel bad, especially when he went into his bosses office and started crying in there. That is, until I found out that "Jimmy" was *drumroll* his dad's fucking TURTLE!!!! Now, I've had pets die, and it's really heartbreaking (a kitten recently, I cried for days), but the damn thing ain't even dead yet, (cracked shell though) and it's an animal he hasn't seen in a year, I know because he was bitching and bitching right before this that he hadn't been able to get home for almost a year to his SO. But he was flipping out like it was a person, and seriously, it's. a. fucking. TURTLE. p.s. the stupid thing lived. That was almost more annoying, because he was bouncing around the office like a little girl hopped up on pixie dust, and I got to listen to all the joyous phone calls.

  • I'm sorry, that sucks. I'll stop talking about kung fu now.
  • thanks musing!!!
  • a colleague recently did a story on this very topic. excerpt: "I just looked at her and thought, 'What a total freaking dingbat.' "
  • I had a cube neighbor with serious macho issues who checked his voicemail on speaker. Complaints didn' help ... until I left a 'special' message. Remember in the first Beverly Hills Cop movie when 'Ramon' is talking his way past the maire'd at the club so he can tell Mr. Maitland about his clinic visit? Very effective.
  • I can sympathize. I fled to academia because I couldn't stand cube-culture. I luuuurve my office, particular its solid oak door. There are any number of countermeasures: complain to that guy's manager (I am sure talking about Kung-Fu is not part of his job), ask to have your/his location changed, get noise-cancelling 'phones, etc. etc. I'm sure others will have good ideas. I just want to say: don't be afraid to flee if you find yourself getting too homicidal.
  • Thanks for the link SideDish!
  • You might try taking the fake seizure route. Kick your chair back, fall on the ground, foam at the mouth, convulse like two hummingbirds fuckings, etc. Then, after you magically come out of it, explain to Kung Fu Freak that loud talking sets you off. Very effective indeed. Bonus: You may get to go home early. / no offense intended to those who do suffer from seizures.
  • I work in a time cube
  • Make a record of the time and duration of each personal call (and brief description of content). Do this for a week or so. Submit this to his superior when you make the complaint. So long as "Idle chatter regarding kung fu" is not part of the job description, you should be in the clear. Also note if the calls are long distance (if it's on the company's dime).
  • That turtle story made me sad, until I read that it survived.
  • do what they did to me: stuff his/her chair with shrimp. in two days it will smell like a cross between dirty woman and wet animal and I errr... they will not find it for weeks.
  • When I worked at a software company over the summer, I sat opposite some barely-human reprobate who liked crisps a lot. Here's what he'd do. He'd open his packet of crisps, reach in with one hand, place the crisps in his other cupped hand, then take crumb after crumb out and drop them into his gaping maw. He'd then crunch them loudly. Repeat till he got to the bottom of the bag, where he'd lift it up, tip his head back, and pour the last crumbs in. Euch. Oh, and he'd mutter, swear, make Muttley impressions, and occasionally whimper at his computer. And then there were all the guys who came up, looked through my CDs, and walked away, smiling and nodding their heads going "Nope, never heard of any of them" as if THAT MADE THEM BETTER PEOPLE. Guh.
  • I never have the gall to complain about other people's phone calls and such because hey, I'm here. Pot, kettle. (even though my slacking is quiet, dammit.) I think I am the annoying person (I try not to stick out, but I'm innately irritating), so I don't have any stories, unfortunately. All I'd do is to talk to Mr./Ms. Annoying's supervisor.
  • I work in a time cube And you sit in a chair of wisdom. I don't know how people can code or write in cubes. I work in a branch with four people who are completely unfamiliar with the concept of the Inside Voice. I can't imagine having to actually concentrate under such conditions. But for me, a trained chimp with mono could do my job.
  • I work in a time cube I DOUBT YOU EVEN UNDERSTAND THE FOURSIDED NATURE OF THE TIMECUBE! YOU ARE A HEATHEN WHO DOESN'T ACKNOWLEGE THE FOUR DIMENSIONALITY OF TIME AND GOD and so on... thanks for the memories, dng
  • MONKEYFILTER POSTERS practice obscurantism and can not ever allow Time Cube Debate - for it will indict the work bastards as evil.
  • My supervisor has frequent loud, angry arguments with her boyfriend on the phone. They usually culminate with her yelling "shut up!" and slamming down the phone. Then he'll ring back, over and over until she picks up and they start in again. I had a chat with her supervisor about it, but he was only amused. So, I got nothing ...
  • Coincidentally, "Dear Prudie", who is Ann Landers' daughter, discusses a similar topic today (second letter, scroll down past the one about the threesome). My most annoying cow orker trick was the one who liked to sing along to Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers tunes blaring from the (no-headphones) CD player on her desk. Sadly, my only recourse was increased iPod volume and looks that apparently did not kill her.
  • I can't believe that people don't have enough respect for their coworkers to keep their voices down. #2 worked in a cube farm in California (one person per cube) and whenever I was there, it was all hushed voices, earphones and the loudest thing was the clacking of keyboards. I was probably the most disruptive influence there because I'd stand on Michael's spare chair and talk to his neighbours over the cube walls. :) My advice: I guess I'd go with what patita said, although it's a little passive-aggressive. But presumably you've already tried talking to your coworker directly, at least in a non-confrontational way. They may not take criticism well, but if your productivity is down because of them then they deserve to hear about it.
  • Oh, and he'd mutter, swear, make Muttley impressions, and occasionally whimper at his computer. I believe he shares my office now.
  • Beans, lots of it. And then some judiciously adjusted ventilation.
  • At the last place I interned, the offices were technically offices because they had a door, but the side walls were a few feet shy of the ceiling. You could easily hear your neighbors' conversations. My office was between the offices of two Russian women in their early twenties. They were best friends, and unfortunately they both had snotty, bitchy attitudes. The best part was listening to their lengthy conversations in Russian. You see, they didn't even have to leave their offices or call each other. They yelled over my office. Headphones and web radio were my friends. You have my deepest sympathy Debaser 626. In cases like yours, I've found that a simple, "Hey I'm sorry but could you turn down the volume a bit? I'm working on something that's a real pain in the arse," a smile and a please and thank you usually do the trick. And if they're sensitive to criticism and you like this person well enough, other than the kung-fu phone calls, a little friendly small talk later should hopefully make them realize that your request wasn't meant as a personal insult. Unless of course you loathe the person. In which case I recommend duct tape.
  • Smack him. I know I would appreciate it, were it me. On the other hand, if his kung fu technique is unstoppable, perhaps you'd better get the boss to smack him. Or his neighbour on the other side.
  • Cubicle fu, stapler fu, speakerphone fu. Joe Bob says check it out.
  • yeah, I guess my suggestion came off as passive aggressive--didn't mean it that way. It was based on what I was told by HR at one company time: any time there was an issue, we'd have to document incidents over a period of time before anything could be done. granted, this place had multiple sexual harassment issues, people sleeping for hours at their desks, and at least once case of threatened violence.
  • Burn the place down, flee to Mexico. Don't forget the stapler.
  • My first tech writing job, they didn't have a place for me right away, so they put me in Marketing. One of the marketeers was fond of using his speakerphone, and because the cubes were all low-walled, I got to hear both sides of his conversations (about stuff that was not always work-related). Made it really hard to concentrate. Eventually, I went to him and said, "Do you really have to use the speakerphone? It makes it kind of hard for me to work." He got kind of flustered, and blurted out something about "multitasking". (I think he had Solitaire going on his computer.) I just shook my head and walked off. Later, one of his co-marketeers came up to me and thanked me for speaking up. Apparently they'd all been complaining to their boss, with no result.
  • What's wrong with Kung-Fu?
  • I had a co-worker in an office who was playing with his cellphone tunes. One after the other. The entire fucking lot. At full volume. Despite repeated requests to STFU. So I wrested it from his grasp and enquired whether it would still work after I threw it in the canal. He stopped. The same co-worker fancied himself as a humorist and amused himself by sneaking up on colleagues and goosing them. Oddly, when he did this to me, by pure reflex I punched him in the stomach. "You hit me!" he whined. Eventually, fed up with being ignored even thought he was banging on a teapot, he threw a chopstick at rodgerd during a company lunch. To loud applause, rodgerd whacked him over the head with another pair of chopsticks, bellowing "Don't! Throw! Chopsticks!" On the last blow, they broke. And lo, he never threw chopsticks again. They were not great days, but they were memorable. I hate cubes and open plan offices, because I need to talk to myself and swear when I code. I know this is antisocial, so I try not to do it, and then I can't think. I have an office now. I share it with Natasha The Voluble Serb, who makes up for her need to complain about her husband twice a day by bringing me homemade baklava. Yum.
  • I'm totally going to throw chopsticks at rodgerd when I see him this afternoon. (Woo!)
  • Be careful, Bashi. His chopstick fu is powerful.
  • I seriously need to make a MoFi world tour so's I can meet you people.
  • Damn, he was earlier than I expected, and I missed him. *sniffs*
  • Quit your job. Never work in a cubicle again.
  • I'm sure glad most the jobs I've held I've been judged on the quality and quantity of my work, and not whether the prick sitting next to me is entertained by me.
  • Monkeyfilter: a trained chimp with mono could do my job Monkeyfilter: I recommend duct tape.