Just your average Tuesday gripe

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 by Travis Cody in

I work in a cubicle environment. I enjoy my co-workers. We've got a good, lean, and highly productive crew.

But it's still a cubicle environment, and there's always one person who hasn't learned the basic etiquette required to co-exist happily. My annoyance with this person finally boiled over on Friday.

Here are a few gripes I have with this individual.

  • Take your conversation away from the walk way next to my desk. It's a thru-way, not a conference area.
  • Must you stand in the hallway to have your discussion? I need to get to the printer. And when I say excuse me, I really mean get the hell out of the way so I can get my copy and go back to work.
  • Just because you can whistle, doesn't mean you should.
  • I don't want to listen to you plan your weekend trip, especially during the time when I'm waiting for data from you so I can complete my transactions for the day and go home.
  • You work in a cube next to mine...pick up the damn phone! Using your speaker phone doesn't make you important, just annoying.
  • It's been quiet for five consecutive minutes. That doesn't mean you must speak random and unnecessary words simply to break the silence.

It was that last one that finally got to me. This guy just blurts out random words when he thinks it has been quiet for too long. That quiet is lovely though. He spends the day talking...whether it's for business as he works on coordinating shipments, or just generally yakking. I swear the guy chatters more than a group of tween girls at a slumber party.

I'd just like him to be quiet when he's not required by his work to talk. And I'd like him not to use his speaker phone so much. And I'd like him to forget he knows how to whistle.

Seriously, guys...if you ever have kids, please reconsider teaching them how to whistle. Or if you do teach them, please also teach them when it is appropriate to whistle and when it's not.

I just can't abide random non-business noise in such a close working environment. I don't mind a chat now and again, but for Pete's sake! Can we keep the chatter to a minimum...and can we have at least a semblance of courtesy for each other?

So I snapped. I said, "Dude, give it a rest!" I said it a little louder than I intended. Sometimes it helps to mumble it under my breath...I feel better for saying it out loud, but I don't necessarily want to provoke a confrontation.

But he heard me and he apologized. I apologized too, for snapping.

I don't know if his behavior will change. It's hard to tell because yesterday we were busy from minute one to beyond minute 480, working to get shipments organized so we can recognize as much revenue as possible for quarter end today. All chatter yesterday was business related.

But at least I put it out there, however badly, that some of his behavior is irritating.

So a word of caution to those of you who may be in a similar situation as me. Don't let it go on to the point where you snap at the co-worker who frustrates you. Speak up a little sooner, and in a friendly way, about the behavior that you're having trouble with. Hopefully they understand and are reasonable about some of the behaviors. Maybe you can strike a balance or something.

Like, I'm willing to live with the speaker phone thing, as long as he can work on eliminating the whistling and the random chatter thing.

I wish I could use headphones.


  1. Anonymous says:

    YOu and I would never make it working next door. I talk so loud LOL...but I have an excuse...bad ears...LOL. But that is besides the point. I abhor whistlers. When they come on the bus I have such a hard time with it. Buses are normally loud and besides whistling it's those poker games with the sound on that annoy me also. But we don't have much say in that kind of thing. I can ask them to turn it down or off but the whistling...some people are just habitual with it. I am glad you said something but I like your advice. It's better to say something up front than to let fester. Lesson well learned. Just bitch slap him Trav when he starts to whistle...he'll get the message (just kidding...well maybe not...well yes LOL)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ooops...forgot there something on my blog for you :)

  1. Mags says:

    Oh...it's the speakerphone that really drives me nuts. There is no reason for it at all when you are alone in your cube. That's what they make headsets for. It's so inconsiderate of people to make others listen to your calls. For me, it's a concentration thing-I can't focus on my work if I hear theirs.

    Hopefully it'll be better for you now.

  1. I think last year someone lost a cell phone in my wall or something. I kept hearing ring, several times a day, over a period of a week or more. But I could never find it.

  1. Marsha says:

    ok, did I miss the discussion about CELL PHONE usage in the office environment?????? Don't get me started, and DO NOT stand outside my office area in the hallway talking on that dang thing. MOVE ON!!!!!!!!

    ahh...feel better now.........

  1. Jeni says:

    I've worked in places where I was in an open office with others, in a cubicle and in my own office with real walls and a door (the kind Les Nessman on WKRP would have wanted, ya know) I extraneous noise in an open office never bothered me, in my own office, of course, it was fine, but put me in a cubicle and let there be noise just outside my area and it would drive me totally to distraction. Go figure, huh?
    You have my sympathy there, Trav. Keep trying to find ways to get yourself a little peace and quiet on the job.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    There you go! I think you fixed it. He would not know if you did not tell him. That happens to me sometimes that something other people do really annoys me. I just tell them nicely and most of them oblige me. Then there are the a-holes...
    Hope your co-worker will keep it up (the good behavior) for your sake :o)

  1. Truly one of the things I do not miss from my paid employment days are the conferences that were constantly being held outside my cubicle. Hubby was over the moon when he found out that this current job he has means he gets his own office! Not a cubicle, but a real office with walls, windows, and a door.

  1. Those types are everywhere. Luckily I can tune that stuff out. Well most of the time!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully that will do the trick. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  1. Bwaaahaaaahaaaa!!!

    This probably wasn't meant to be funny, but I laughed out loud anyway. Sorry about your troubles. I am one of those people who gets SO annoyed with little things like that. Especially the whistling. And then you said that part about parents not teaching there kids to whistle... I just totally snapped at my son on Sunday because he kept whistling and it was NOT the right time! (And, FYI, I didn't teach him this. He learned to whistle all by himself, dang it!!!)

    Anyway, this post totally tickled my giggle bone. Thanks for the laugh!

  1. Bond says:

    I am told I speak loudly when on the phone so I really try and be conscious of that.

    Whistle --- at work????? NO

    The conferences outside my cube gt to me also.

    I miss my office so darn much

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Sometimes a short sharp shock is all it takes - hopefully. :)

  1. barb says:

    I use to be in a corporate office environment. Back then, I would have given anything for a wall between us, if only a half wall!

  1. Jamie says:

    Dear Travis. We are on the same wave length. Workers of the world unite ... we can accomplish more in four hours than whistler and his mother can get done in a two person power eight.

    It is a shame that the bosses of the world don't let the workers of the world out at noon since they have been as productive as the yakkers, backslappers, and miscellaneious hob nobbers.

    PS I have another "Yes It's True" story for you.

  1. Dianne says:

    I think the need to feel important and capture all the space around them is the main reason

    I worked in a cube many times. I also once shared an office with a gum smacker who spent all the time on the phone with her boyfriend saying "OMG!" and "No way!"

    I will not reveal where her body is buried ;)

  1. jennifer says:

    I did NOT enjoy the cubicle environment when I was in the work force. It was like having a false privacy and I agree, it was annoying.

    Hope things are better now that you "snapped".

  1. Linda says:

    I don't blame you for snapping a little bit, a person can only take so much before something's gotta give.

    Best wishes for a little peace & quiet for the next few days!

  1. Anndi says:

    If he was eating CAKE, he'd be quiet... unless he's a loud eater. UGH!

  1. Jeff B says:

    If there is a bright side to this. . . When the five o'clock whistle blows he goes home to annoy someone else while your lovely non-whistling Pam is at your place of refuge.

  1. That would have been seriously annoying. Whistling??
    I think not.

    But you're talking to a woman who has constant noise for 8 hours a day in her life. Ahh...the refuge of home.

  1. Travis says:

    Thom: I'll catch up on rounds by the end of the week and check out what you got!

    Mags: The only reason to use a speaker phone is during a multi-person meeting, and they have conference rooms for those.

    Charles: I put mine on vibrate and keep it in my pocket. And I don't think I need to answer my personal cell phone every time it rings either.

    Marsha: Right! And think...do you really need to answer every call?

    Jeni: Cubicle environments can be very good for team building, as long as there is consideration.

    Ivanhoe: It's been a bit better the last couple of days. But then we've been too busy with quarter end to do much other than put our heads down and work.

    Songbird: I like to be with the crew, but sometimes it's just too much.

    NNG: I end up getting distracted by it when I come up for air.

    Lois: Me too. It's been a bit better.

    Clancy: HA! I'm glad you were amused!

    V: See that's the thing...we should all be aware of ourselves and try not to bug other people with our quirks if we can.

    Akelamalu: We'll see.

    Barb: I've never had my own office, always cubes.

    Jamie: Now that's the ticket!

    Dianne: We have an intern who comes by and chatters for a few minutes several times a day. It wouldn't be so bad if she didn't talk in valley speak with "like" mixed in every 3rd word.

    Jennifer: Getting better!

    Linda: I'll be happy with a little more awareness.

    Ann: That's it! I just need to make sure everyone has CAKE every day.

    Jeff: Well said.

    Mimi: But the noise you endure is closer to music.

  1. I once worked in a cubicle next to a bathroom with a leaking toilet. Until they came & fixed it, it was very Zen, getting to listen to that calming trickle of water all day.
    I hear you on work freak outs. My problem is that I want to freak out on the patrons of our library, not my coworkers. Don't even get me STARTED on the f*cking idiotic & inconsiderate behavior people display in a library!