Author Topic: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.  (Read 6314 times)

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snugasabug

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Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« on: December 03, 2012, 10:38:55 PM »
Today was day 1 in my new position. I now share an office with 8 people.  Our job is such that we are not always in the office at set times.  The office is our home base....but we are pretty busy for most of the day, from what I can tell, we should be away from the desk more than at the desk.

It seems there really is one in every crowd.  There is a person, who sits at the other end of the office from me, who listens in on conversations, phone conversations, and comments about everything! It's really obnoxious. I noticed it for sure when I was training...and today it was even more noticeable. I reacted by not acknowledging what she was saying, especially when I was having a phone conversation.   Day one she (yes she) told me that she farts a lot. That she believes in letting gas go as needed. :o  Very awkward and unexpected to hear someone say this, let alone a lady in a professional setting.

And oddly enough, this very same person is thermostat controller. Her desired temperature?  78.  78 degrees.  It feels like we are in the tropics, for goodness sake.   She also has yet to leave the office. She certainly seems like the office busy body and the general PITA. 

I don't want to start off on the wrong foot, or overstep my boundaries. Looking for advice on how to maintain etiquette and manners in the office.  I have never worked in an office environment before. I have to say that I am thankful that I can leave my office for most of the day.

doodlemor

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 10:47:59 PM »
Would it be too snarky to say.......Thank you for sharing that with me...... when she tells you inappropriate information?  This should be said with a bemused smile.

As for the thermostat, I'm surprised that those above her don't take charge of this, since heat is a costly item in most places.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 11:55:38 PM by doodlemor »

Kaypeep

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 10:53:39 PM »
I always try to head of trouble with humor.  I'd say something like:

"Is this some kind of hazing thing?  Like, try to scare the new guy with freaky and disgusting facts?  Because seriously, you're sharing way too much personal information here.  How about we limit our conversations to "work-only" topics, OK?  Otherwise, if you feel compelled to discuss such matters, I suggest you save it for your doctor."

Audrey Quest

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 01:55:44 AM »
"The sharing light is off."

DaDancingPsych

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 09:17:56 AM »
The good news is that you are now aware that she is listening to your conversations. I would avoid any personal calls (if you are allowed to make them) in the office, specifically those that you don't care for her to comment on. Otherwise, I would continue ignoring her commentary for the time being, although a good e-Hell approved phrase may be good.

As for the temperature, I might try to get a feel for what your coworkers are feeling. "Gee Dale, is it me or is it quite warm in here?" If you find that the majority are not comfortable with the temperature, then you may be able to rally the troops and come up with a compromise.

BarensMom

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 10:30:38 AM »
OP, as the new kid in town, will have to tread carefully for several weeks/months before tackling the PITA. In the meantime, OP, keep your phone and other conversations short and business-like, and act like you're in a room of snakes - tread carefully.

Edited to say:  And wear your summer clothes.

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 11:38:06 AM »
Oh wow, I would DIE in that kind of heat!!    Get a small fan and put it on your desk.  I have a nice little USB fan that is kept in the drawer and works very nicely, but at least my office isn't set to Tropical.
For the rest, I unfortunately agree. You're new.  Keep your head down and establish your roots first before trying to change things.
And wear your summer clothes. 

Kari

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 11:46:54 AM »
When my company moved from single offices to cubicles it was a HUGE adjustment for many people. Three coworkers (that I knew of) couldn't handle it and quit. The lack of privacy was very jarring, and it became a busybody's paradise. I learnt very quickly not to take private cell phone calls at my desk lest I wanted to be grilled on the conversation. My business calls are not necessarily confidential, but I still have people who sit several cubicles away coming up to me, asking "Oh my goodness, what did that customer say to you? That sounded awful!" despite my speaking as low as I can. The work atmosphere has relaxed a bit -- and I suppose I have too since I am used to it all now and roll with it (still taking my private calls out to the stairwell) -- but perhaps we are too relaxed, etiquette-wise. Everyone interrupts everyone else and jumps into conversations.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that our dress code also relaxed after the office-to-cubicle change. We typically wore business suits, blouses, and nice slacks to work in our offices. Now, pushed together in cubicles, we wear jeans and t-shirts. My theory is that there's something about the cubicle that compels a causal attitude towards life.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 03:48:29 PM »
OP, I think you should tread lightly as the new person, as others have said.  If the PITA starts interrupting your phone call/training you could say something like "I'm sorry, I need to concentrate on this.  Could we talk when I'm finished?".  She has probably gotten into the habit of doing this to other or is trying to show how much she knows.

As far as the heat?  Oy, I feel your pain.  I had an office mate who thought 78 was too cold.  Her preferred temp was 82.  :P  Check with others to see if it bothers them and keep a desktop fan at the ready.  If it bothers others you can suggest to management that a "regulated" temp be established.

bopper

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 05:39:07 PM »
Talking while you are on the phone:  Go to her and say, "Cow-irker, if you have a question or comment for me could you wait until I am done talking with a client? I cannot listen to you both and I hate to make the client repeat what they have said.  If you want, you could shoot me an email and I can look at it later."

Thermostat:  Do you have a office manager or boss?  Mention that the temperature is very hot which is not only uncomfortable but surely is very expensive? Is there a preferred range that it should be in?

Farting: Get some kind of air purifier or something. I would not bring this up at this point.

DavidH

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2012, 04:02:57 PM »
For the temperature, a small fan and the odd comment about how warm it is sounds fine to me.  If everyone else comments how comfortable it is, then you're stuck, but they might be needing an opening to comment too.

For the other comment, maybe "wow, that's great, I always have a high fiber breakfast and wondered what to do".  It's probably over the top to suggest a competition.....and almost certainly rude. 

cheyne

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2012, 10:39:06 PM »
For the temperature, a small fan and the odd comment about how warm it is sounds fine to me.  If everyone else comments how comfortable it is, then you're stuck, but they might be needing an opening to comment too.

For the other comment, maybe "wow, that's great, I always have a high fiber breakfast and wondered what to do".  It's probably over the top to suggest a competition.....and almost certainly rude.

DavidH wins the interwebs today.

Rosewater

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 08:41:10 AM »
If you know she listens in on your conversations I think I would be attempted to make some random not real phone calls, like discussing where or the best way to get rid of the body, what the aliens are planning or what the CIA just told you.  Just done randomly, nothing to take away from the work at hand, but over a few weeks it will be interesting to hear what crazy stuff she repeats to others.  Will driver her nuts and make her look crazy to boot when she starts nattering on to others about your "conversations".  You are legally entitled to breaks by law and phone calls made on that time on your phone are no one's business.

Of course you won't have a clue as to what she's going on about and can just gape at her in amazement.  If you are going to make the choice to blatantly eavesdrop on others then you hear what you hear.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

Annoyed in America

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2013, 08:53:48 AM »
OP, as the new kid in town, will have to tread carefully for several weeks/months before tackling the PITA. In the meantime, OP, keep your phone and other conversations short and business-like, and act like you're in a room of snakes - tread carefully.

Edited to say:  And wear your summer clothes.

Wear layers or a summer top with a jacket you can remove while in the office.  And don't have personal conversations in her presence.  If you are noticing stuff like this on your first day, there will be more.  Tip of the iceberg.

Tia2

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Re: Stop listening. Stop Commenting. I'm melting.
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2013, 09:02:50 AM »
I don't think you should do anything except making personal accommodations (the fan, layered clothes, no personal calls) for several months.

If she is getting away with this sort of behaviour, there is a good chance she has support from management and it is never a good idea to argue with the boss's pet - you'll lose.