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What should I do: Annoying co-worker disrupts productivity

A TechRepublic member writes in about an annoying co-worker who is so bad he's causing those around him to lose productivity. Read his horror story and advise him on what he can do to remedy it.

A TechRepublic member writes in about an annoying co-worker who is so bad he's causing those around him to lose productivity. Read his horror story and advise him on what he can do to remedy it.

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This week's What should I do? blog is inspired by those annoying co-workers who cause distress and distractions to everyone within earshot of them. A TechRepublic member writes in about one of his co-workers who is seriously driving him crazy. Because the e-mail was so entertaining, I present it in its entirety:

"I've been with this company almost 12 years. I am currently in a situation (for going on 7 months now) where a co-worker has become such a distraction that it has significantly impacted my ability to get work done. I haven't missed any deadlines yet, but I should be much further ahead on this project than I am.

Myself and others within earshot of this employee can tell you who calls him, and who he calls, at what time the calls occur, day in and day out. We have to listen to him blurt the F'bomb to his mother every day between 11:15 am and 11:30. We can tell you that he eats two apples per day because we have to listen to 20 minutes (each time) of excessively loud crunching, then (the most annoying noise) the sucking sound of him sucking the pieces of apple out from between his teeth. Then sporadically throughout the day, we get to listen to him laughing out loud at some website or email that he obviously finds amusing. This isn't just a quiet giggle, it's LOUD laughter. Apparently he isn't aware of how loud because he is usually wearing headphones as he's laughing.

Try performing complex job tasks (as I often have to do, as do others who sit around me) when your concentration is constantly being shattered!

Oh yes, as I'm typing this email, I'm reminded of yet another annoyance...whistling! I said WHISTLING! I can't fathom who in their right mind would think it is ok to sit there and WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK in an office for crying out loud. I'm sure he must have heard the song 'Whistle While You Work,' but IT'S A SONG! They didn't mean for you to literally whistle while you work, especially in an office setting! Over-the-road truckers, go ahead, whistle while you work, but office workers everywhere, I have a message for all of you: 'DON'T YOU DARE WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK!' It's annoying!

And I haven't even mentioned the pointless conversations that we're inflicted with. Anything from how much he likes chocolate, to explaining to his son (who is ready to graduate high school mind you) how to properly do laundry. Everything from which spin cycle to use to how to properly add the detergent to the washing machine. This kid isn't mentally handicapped! But yet he is told how to park his SUV at school (next to the curb and by the light pole so that nobody puts a ding in the doors), how fast to drive, how to clean the windshield, and oh yeah, he must call good ol' dad when he leaves school, when he arrives at Starbucks, explain what he's getting at Starbucks, call when he leaves Starbucks, and don't forget to call when you get home. Just yesterday, we had the pleasure of hearing a riveting conversation on black olives.

After about the 3rd month of being annoyed, I really honestly took a step back and looked at myself. I asked myself whether or not I might be being oversensitive, whether or not these activities are truly annoying. 'Is it just me?' I asked myself. The answer is to a certain degree, yes. It's just me and the others who sit around this buffoon who are annoyed. I will say this: I require a work atmosphere that is relatively quiet and without major distractions. Apparently, others who sit around me do as well, as they are just as annoyed as I.

Things were quiet here before this person was moved into the cubicle next to me. More work got done. It was enjoyable to come in, sit down, and do my work. Now, it is a struggle to complete tasks that should not take near the time nor energy to complete. I've recently asked to be moved. Of course, my bosses asked why. As annoyed as I am, I really tried not to throw anyone under the bus. I simply told them that my work atmosphere is no longer conducive to getting things done and that my productivity is being affected due to the current seating arrangements. They know what's going on, as I've heard complaints from those who used to sit by this person. Strange too...this person has been with the company somewhere around 20 years. I couldn't imagine being anywhere near sane after 20 years of this...."

Boy, do we feel your pain! Let's help this poor guy out and offer some advice for dealing with this co-worker from Hell.

Got a career scenario of your own? E-mail it to us here. We'll post it anonymously, and see what kind of feedback your peers have to offer.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

54 comments
XnavyDK
XnavyDK

A sea story. when you are on deployment, you have no where to go, and you cannot get away, no matter how you try. It serves to be tactful in situations where otherwise you would find yourself able to walk away. I my case I have a pet peeve. Slurping noise when you drink. yes i know , now you are all walking around making slurping noises just because you know it annoys me now. Well that's what I get for bringing it up to my cohort in crime. So from then on, for quite some time, people would see me walk in and go out of their way to slurp away, extra loudly like it was the funniest thing in the world. then we had the guy that would cropdust our office on a daily basis, oh it was funny the first time, butt every day? CMON!. then there is the guy that tells you the same story over and over, lets call him Cliff( oops that's his name) He used to tell us that the Masons were really in charge of the world. On daily or weekly basis. And thats not all, there were about 10 or 12 different stories that he would tell, depending on the questions you asked him. Of course I found it fun to get him started when the day was dragging on. "So, Cliff, how long has your phone been bugged" and let the journey begin. Everyone else would just sigh and look at me with the question "why do you do that?!" Yes I was also the annoying co-worker. We can all be annoying.

lexys
lexys

I'm just wondering if there is a much bigger issue going on underneath that we can't see, maybe you don't even realise yourself. I once worked in a factory where we were building and testing HF and VHF radios, a very noisy environment, day in and day out. The supervisor also had a commercial radio constantly playing at her desk, and her mobile phone going off several times a day and also would proceed to have loud conversations right there in front of us. HOWEVER, she made it quite clear that she had a problem with MY noise level and that my noise/conversations etc distracted her. i have never had a problem of being the "noisy one" in a workplace before, so I found this quite surprising, especially since she made so much noise herself. After delving further into the problem (by consulting all my co-workers, and other supervisors) we found that there was quite a few underlying problems and they were: 1) She was an old jealous b*tch and my standard of work was far better than hers 2) I had a vibrant, helpful personality and colleagues would come to my desk for help with anything 3) I got along well with everybody, people did not get along with her 4) she was guilty of making a lot of noise, personal calls etc so needed to deflect the attention away from what she was doing. So, in a nutshell, this supervisor had many issues with me that she could not address so accusing me of being noisy and distracting was the only way to tear me down. I quite often used to think, "Is this really the worst thing I can do?" as her reaction towards me was really out of proportion to the problem. But after I stepped back and realised what was really going on, it all made sense. So, is there another some other issue with this "noisy" person?

oceandreams1979
oceandreams1979

I HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE SAME THING WHERE I WORK. DUMB PEOPLE THAT CAN'T SPEAK WITHOUT SWEARING, WHISTEL, TAPE THEIR FEET, DO ALL KINDS OF ANNOYING THINGS AND WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR HEADPHONES. I HAVE TRIED EAR PLUGS, BUT THEY GIVE ME A HEADACHE, IVE TRIED TO GET MY DESK MOVED, THEY WILL NOT, IVE ASKED HIM TO STOP AND HE SAYS I AM TOO SENSITIVE AND SHOUD SEE A SHRINK, I HAVE FOUND ONE SOLUTION.. SUGGESTION... USE THIS AS SIGN TO PUSH FORWARD TO A BETTER JOB WHERE HE WILL NOT BE. SOMETIMES NEGATIVE THINGS PUSH YOU HARDER TO ADVANCE TO BETTER PLACES. THAT IS WHAT I AM DOING TO DEAL WITH THIS. WORK ON GETTING OUT OF A JOB THAT HOUSES IDDIOTS. IF ANYONE WANTS TO EMAIL ME TO VENT ABOUT THEIR DIP S**T (ANNOYING COWORKERS) EMAIL ME WITH ** ANNOYING COWORKERS ** AS THE SUBJECT OCEANDREAMS1979@YAHOO.COM - SHANNON 29 NY

megabaum
megabaum

Hi, You're being a little critical don't you think? Many of us have to deal with the same thing, but don't be as lame as to go to HR to tattle tale on this guy. Especially, when you haven't even talked to him about the issue. A meeting with HR would be not only lame, it would be a stab in the back. Talk to him first. I'm sure it IS very annoying to you and you are frustrated, but you have to accept some responsiblity as well and you might have to put up with some loud laughter, whisteling and/or conversations... So some people are just loud, verbal and passionate about life... however it's no excuse to go around ridiculing his coversations with his son - or gossip endlessly behind his back. Consider some of these options =). 1) First and foremost, buy an Ipod and earphones, so you can put them on "any" time you are distracted. 2) When he swears or laughs too loud - look over at him and say "Hey some of us are trying to get some work done" and SMILE. Sometimes your can get your point accross with humor. It's again, much better than being "ticked-off" all day and surpressing your feelings. 3) I assume there are conference rooms, meeting rooms, or a lunch room where you work. Schedule some time away from your desk, to work in another location. You'll get a little break from it all and also get more work done. I too have worked in MANY envrionments, that are loud and had a hard time listening to everyones coversations all of the time. Finally, I and another co-worker decided to schedule "work sessions" in conference rooms, so we could get more work done. 4) Pull him aside and talk to him. You are an adult right? Deal with the problem, let him know you don't appreciate hearing the "F-bomb" every day and ask him if he can tone it down a little. =)

wtan
wtan

Well, I???m confused with your story. First you were working in that company for 12 years. Then you mentioned "I am currently in a situation (for going on 7 months now) where a co-worker has become such a distraction that it has significantly impacted my ability to get work done." And then you mentioned ???After about the 3rd month of being annoyed, I really honestly took a step back and looked at myself.??? How far did you step back? Now, can you see yourself with a binocular? I guess not, because you end up being here. So, what your friend afraid of? Getting fired? Or being beat up? Shy? Being nice? Or he is just another gossip monger out there trying to get everyone attention?

njtech2
njtech2

I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she's filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I'm collating....

TtFH
TtFH

Wearing some headphones yourself? Works well, and doesn't offend anybody. I'm in a noisy cubicle farm, and we wear headphones to block out our annoying co-workers. When we're annoying, they wear their headphones, easy, and no-one has to run like a big cry baby to HR. Of course, you could always talk to the "offender". That works, too.

public
public

Find a company where management has enough sense to give workers like you offices. Haven't you read the Joel Test?

Flyers70
Flyers70

Headphones work for me when a loud person is getting on a roll. I am one of the few people in my office that doesn't watch "Lost", so when the conversation turned to that show, I simply put my headphones on with some music and was able to concentrate. I've been on the other side of this as well; I've been accused of a loud inside voice by friends, so I've taken to going outside for personal calls or if I'm having a conversation by my cubicle, I'll take it someplace else if I can.

suzanne.ogden
suzanne.ogden

Don't say "Your activities annoy me" or "you annoy me" say instead "I have a problem working effectively when there are noisy activities going on around me". Better yet, get a group of you together and take the same approach. Be specific about what is annoying and offer remedial suggestions, like eating his apple in the break room (if you have one), suggesting he make his personal calls outside of your area on his cell phone, and that his whistling within earshot of his fellows is very distracting. Ask if he has problems with any of your habits and be prepared to listen and act on what he says. (I'm assuming the annoying co-worker is a guy in an area with a bunch of other guys.) If none of that works, go to your boss and tell him about it and what steps you've taken to alert the offender. Just because he's been there for 20 years doesn't mean that he's been a valued employee all that time. Maybe he just gets moved around a lot because he's so annoying.

SaraVN
SaraVN

I've often wondered how to let a person know that they are loud without personal opinion being involved. Reading this,I think I though of an answer... a decibel meter. Posting one the the person's cube, near his line of sight, would be a way to let him know exactly how loud he is.

clare.smith
clare.smith

I work as a system/business/data analyst/trainer/project manager for a small company. The building is a cinder-block gas station that was converted to office space sometime in the 1960's. We have a cube farm that was installed (I'm told) in the 1980's. Most of the time the accounting folk I sit next to are a quiet hard working bunch and it's easy to keep my train of thought while writing and researching. However, since they hired a new network guy that sits in our area, it's become almost impossible to work when he's in the office. The guy insists on talking sports, all sports, any sport, it doesn't matter. People try to ignore him, but he will pointedly demand answers to his inane questions to disrupt work! I've tried wearing headphones to block him out -- all that does is hurt my ears. I've complained to my manager and twice this worker has been "spoken to" but it's not sinking in. I've ask my manager to move me to a vacate office. We have one available, if all the senior accounting folk can have private offices, why not the IT folk? But was told the office is being turning into storage. Hmm, my sanity or a storage closet...

RogieM
RogieM

I've been in this type of position and worse, my neighbor was nosy as well, so he would pass by my desk and try to see what was on my screen! Why? I have no idea, it was work for pity's sake. Finally I had to get over my upbringing and be rude, but I did it in a polite way. I told him to pipe down when I need some silence. I started this when I was on the phone, I always followed it my thanking him when he did and apologized for having to be rude. At worst he wasn't going to like me anymore and think I was a really rude person. YAY!!!!! He never really stopped, but he was the one apologizing when I had to remind him.

naeemahsan
naeemahsan

There are a few things you can do 1. If the person is friendly and good natured then talk to him. He might not have realised what he is doing and change. 2. If you do not have a silence sign have HR put one up. Or something to that effect. Something that he is sure to read. 3. 20 years means he might have some good friends in the company. If you know them try to get word to him through them.

sonicgirl99
sonicgirl99

I have a co-worker who is sitting in the next cubicle next to me. He plays in a band and we all suspect that he has lost most of his hearing. Whenever he listens to his iPod, I can technically hear every note in that song he is listening to. After a few attempts to quiet him down didn't work, I resorted to concentrate on my thoughts when he started his daily digest of rock songs. And funnily enough, now I can barely hear his songs. Other colleagues walk by and ask me isn't that annoying me, but I have just learnt to phase them out. It works well for me...

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

Two words... horse laxatives. Just kidding. I see this kind situation as an opportunity to learn to work with ALL types. To be honest, how many of us that are chimming in do one of the things that the writer of this article found annoying. I had to put notes around my desk to remind me to to sing to myself under my breath.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Ok, don't do that. What you need to do it talk to him and explain how annoying he is. If that doesn't work, hit up his boss. If that doesn't work hit up HR. If THAT doesn't work, hit up your co-workers to talk to his boss (as a team) and explain his behavior is reducing productivity.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

My work area was just outside a training room. Sometimes a couple dozen people would congregate just outside before and after class and it would get quite loud. I simply told my supervisor that I need a quieter place to work. He investigated, discovered the problem, and dealt with it. First, by installing sound absorbing materials in my area, and second, by posting "QUIET!" signs in the offending area.

BBPellet
BBPellet

I'd just throw crumpled paper balls at him each time he does an annoying act...eventually he will not want them thrown at him. Better yet, have everyone who is annoyed by him throw paper balls at him at the same time....trust me 2 times and he'll get the hint!

freaknout
freaknout

I know exactly who your talking about. This is war You think Ive been annoying? You don't know the definition. The gas problem Ive bben keeping the wraps on, well lets just say all corks are off!

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Some of these issues, you may not want to address with management; assuming you get to that point. For example, mentioning the apples may result in no one being able to eat or drink at their cube. Also, I'd steer clear of mentioning the types of calls (personal), lest everyone's private calls be held to scrutiny. If the other people impacted were up to it, I don't see any problem in calling an informal meeting between the group of you, and someone from HR to get an idea of how to handle it. No names need to be mentioned (make sure this is clear to the group that approaches HR), and it may result in a generic message out to the firm reminding people of appropriate behavior. If the behavior persists, a more formal meeting with HR, the impacted group (it needs to be clear this is a workplace issue, and not a 'your personal space/feelings' issue), the person, and a manager (HR should make clear what possible next steps are in the informal chat). Best of luck! I've been where you're at, and it wasn't pleasant.

GSG
GSG

When he gets loud, or whistles, say something like, "You probably don't realize how loud you're being since you have headphones on, could you keep it down?" The next time, "Hey, you need to tone it down. We require quiet to concentrate in this section." Third time, report him to HR for using the F-Bomb. I'm sure your company has a policy against profanity and a hostile work environment. If they won't get him for loudness, get him for that word. Use of it where others can hear could also technically be used as a sexual harassment claim if all the planets are in alignment and if HR wants to make a case out of it. My guess is that HR is well acquainted with this guy and he got moved to your area because the last group of people threatened to quit en masse if we wasn't moved.

Chet0729
Chet0729

Make a formal complaint to HR. If it is just annoying that is one thing but if it is impacting your ability to get work done that is a different matter all together. We had a similar issue here with some people and speaker phones. They were warned and told they would loose the phones if not used responsibly

XnavyDK
XnavyDK

Is also rather annoying, thank you. But thanks you for your opinion anyway :-). and just for fun (I always post links to crazy web pages I find, un-related to the post. http://www.misternicehands.com/

lockerridge
lockerridge

I am not trying to cause a bad attitude by this reply to your answer for this really nice gentleman who asked this question, but this kind of thing you have just put on this poor guy is simply one of the reasons most people just put up with a guy like this. You put this man on the defensive by picking the one part of this guys story that YOU can't understand. I understand his timeline perfectly. He has been employed by the same company for 12 years. Until approx. 7 months ago his job was an enjoyable day for him. Then this man was moved from where he was stationed at in the company to the cubicle beside this gentleman. He was to the point of complete lack of concentration 3 months into the man being moved beside him.. as were the rest of the people in his part of the company work place. But not wanting to upset anyone, even the fellow who is being disruptive, or being seen as a whiner who runs to his supervisor .. he and the others put up with him disrupting their day. The fact of does this guy know he is being loud and disruptive and basically taking up all the air space for himself is neither here nor there. The fact remains the guy is causing problems and if he has many other people who are in departments that complain about his behavior.. then I think perhaps the management already knows about him and moved him into this gentlemans department because basically they know they will not complain about him. wtang.. there is your long drawn out explaination of this fellows timeline and about stepping back and the binocular thing.. that is something I don't understand at all.. what is your advice to help him? Where is the text that says plainly.. "Sir what you should do is...." I don't see where you helped this fellow out at all. You tried though and for that you get an E for effort at least. Now for the gentleman's problem and what I think would solve it without any animosity or having to report it to the HR or your supervisor as a complaint about him. The next time he starts having a personal phone call and is very vocal about it.. or he starts laughing over a website with his earphones on.. simply.. reach over and take his earphones off. And say quietly and calmly, will you please stop being so loud with your personal phone calls and your laughter, I am unable to work like this friend! Your going to have to quiet down or I am going to have to go to the boss about it.. but man I don't want to.. Then do the one thing to guarantee you that he is listening to you. Ask the man if he realizes how loud he is when he talks or laughs? Make him answer you. If he says I don't know.. then give him an example of it, by saying ... okay.. the next time you are quiet and working on something I will show you how it disrupts a persons concentration.. especially when you whistle. The next time he talks for ten minutes about black olives.. buy a jar and give them to him, with a note saying you are well aware of how he loves to eat them .. and include some of those dental floss pic things with a note on the bag that says for use in removing the apple from your teeth.. you sound gross when you suck your teeth. To sum this up.. speak up and tell the idiot what you need from him. If he is so dense he can't comply.. then give him a couple months with everyone on his case about his problems.. and if he can't change.. then go straight to the supervisor and tell him .. the man has got to go!

vtassone
vtassone

If the company can't get rid of him, get him promoted. A nice office of his own would get him out of everybodies hair.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

if you have headphones on, you may THINK you are singing under your breath... You may also THINK you can carry a tune.... (or... "Hey Bud, I used to wish I could sing. Now I wish YOU could!") :)

seanferd
seanferd

Dude, everything you do is LOUD. Could ya bring it in a little? Just be friendly about it. If it doesn't work, take the same attitude to HR. Be light-hearted about it, "I just don't think he gets it, but everything he does is LOUD."

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

be careful that he doesn't have some condition that would allow him to file an ADA grievance against you (if you are in the USA) The loud speaking could be as a result of hearing or another condition. Be very very careful.

clrod1967
clrod1967

Good points, however, this person may be so ignorant to his annoyance that a general meeting may not help. Although I do say approach with caution, this person needs to be told what is going on and then if this does not work,go ahead and have your meeting.

Tink!
Tink!

I think you should go to HR, however use the points that could be construed as truly hostile or against company policy. Like the swearing. I would suggest bringing in a small tape recorder, but that could be turned on you as an intrusion as well. I think saigman has given the good suggestions. :)

llaunders
llaunders

First off, THANK YOU for putting up a post to suggests the rare idea of taking the issue into your own hands and handling it with tact, discretion and diplomacy. YES...there are nice ways to bring up sore subjects. In some cases, even prefacing with "you may not want to hear this, but..." can work. And surprisingly, the offending person may not know how disruptive they are being, and their reactions of course can range from "OMG I'm sorry" to "Take me as you find me" types. Still...it amazes me that throughout the brief perusal of comments to this article that virtually none other brought up the idea that you could just try up and telling this person, saving going to HR, a manager, or some other escalation that should be saved for AFTER asking the offending person nicely. After all, if they don't know a problem exists, they can't do much to fix it now can they?

John_Doe69
John_Doe69

Kill him. Follow him home and kill him.

douglasalt1
douglasalt1

Using HR is likely to confuse the issues, this is an operational management issue, the purpose of HR is to ensure that managers use appropriate policies and fairness.

ITCompGuy
ITCompGuy

I have the answer and it comes from personal experience. Sometimes people are not aware of the things that they do that may offend other people. I have an example that affected me personally because I WAS THE OFFENDER. As a male, I always wanted to smell really nice and would put on really nice cologne after bathing/showering. I did not know (or think) that I was using too much. One day I was invited to a meeting that was on an area outside of my IT responsibility. I was confused as to why I had been invited to this meeting, since the subject matter was not related to anything I was doing. After the meeting, one of the managers asked that I stay behind for a moment. He explained that he was embarrassed to bring this to my attention, but my cologne was bothering several people and was quite frankly, too much. I thanked him for bringing this to my attention. I was personally embarrassed that I was causing someone discomfort, and felt bad that this was going on and I was not aware of it. From that day on, I only wore my deordorant and did not wear cologne while at work. Some may say that I did not have to take it to the extreme by not wearing cologne, but what is too much? I would only put on two squirts. So I figured that I would only wear my cologne on my off time. I think that everyone may do something that annoys someone else, but they are oblivious to it. Like the guy who blows his nose at the table while others are eating, or picks/sucks his teeth after eating lunch in the breakroom. Privately confronting the person in a nice way will allow the person to evaluate what he/she may have done and allow them to make an adjustment. If you approach them correctly (meaning: not in an accusatory way) by letting them know that it is something that others are having a problem with also, then the person will be more likely to accept this courtesy. If this doesn't work, then you take the next step and tell a supervisor or HR. Problem resolution is best when you directly address the person privately and give them an opportunity to correct the issue. Jumping the gun and going to "higher-ups" will leave the person with a feeling that the co-workers are not loyal or harboring some other anomosity against him, because they chose to go somewhere else instead of making him aware of the problem.

Support Slug
Support Slug

If there is one thing more annoying than whistling at work, it's people who sit and silently suffer in the face of adversity. Take my advice. What you SHOULD do is walk up to his desk, put your hands down in the middle of his work, lean in real close so he has to lean back, and with a little snarl say, "SHADDAP! Sheesh, we are trying to work over here and we can't concentrate with you yammering on all the time!" The guy is a passive-aggressive bully and you shouldn't tolerate it or he will keep abusing you. If you are just too timid, then go to your boss and say, "You have to tell this guy to shut up. He is disrupting the whole department and we aren't able to maintain productivity." The boss should immediately pull the guy aside and tell him to shut his yap and turn off the cell phone during work. My office is noisy always since everyone is always on the phone, but there is a point where it is too much and we are not shy about turning around and loudly saying "SHHHHHHHH!!!" And everyone does shhhh if you do that. If none of this works, just wait for him with your knee-capper out in the parking lot after work and put a beatdown on him.

wanttocancel
wanttocancel

Buying and wearing headphones while you work. I do that all the time because the music, podcast, radio or whatever I'm listening to drowns out the world around me and I can concentrate on what I'm doing. If you can't or won't do that I would talk to the fella but after work. I would reach him outside with a couple of other co-workers that have a problem with him and talk to him kindly about what's going on in the workplace. That way it's not in front of the boss and the guy could feel that your little talk will be kept private.

1bn0
1bn0

HR is already doing something about this guy. He got dumped in your area so you can take your turn suffering from his presence and to give the last group a break. If nothing official has been done by now it isn't going to be. BBPellets idea may be effective, if done with a "just treating him like one of the guys" attitude. The tone of the original email however, suggest this is causing a significant amount of stress to the individual and the situation is already beyond this approach. A visit to HR may be effective if you are ready to explain to them that this is an issue of HIS OWN health and well being. A visit to the doctor and a medical recommendation to take some time off of work due to stress may get their attention. Of course that could backfire as well.

clrod1967
clrod1967

During your entire story, I did not hear anything about talking or confronting this person directly. Having yourself moved from the situation only served you. Others like you still have to endure this persons wrath.Believe it or not some people are oblivious to their own annoyance to others.

tbecker
tbecker

I am not sure why you feel you cannot go to this person directly.. Do you think they will go off on you or they will feel offended? You are doing them a favor...If everyone around you feels the same way, this person has probably already lost a few good jobs along the way or been moved out of other areas before they worked with you. Maybe try a light approach first, like "Hey, can it you keep it down a little?" or "Hey, I can't hear myself think." Say it in a nice tone a few times, maybe they will catch on. Most people want to be considerate and if you draw their attention to it, they should respond. If you really feel like you cannot talk to this person directly, maybe send them a nice note... If you can't do that, talk to your boss and let your boss observe the person for a while. (Where is your boss anyway throughout all this? they didn't notice this themselves?) Someone should counsel (mentor) this person.

thdawson
thdawson

Believe me there are people who have been told but their own confidence/arrogance issues preclude them from caring how they affect other people. I work with someone who is a constant talker and questioner- no one wants to share on office with her because it is impossible to have 4 minuted of uninterupted silence. Yeah, in a perfect world you can tell someone and they would try to correct themselves but there are people out there who just don't/won't get it.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...is going to make it tough; which is why I didn't mention talking to him about it (in all that time, I'm sure someone has mentioned it at least once). Assuming that he's been that way for the bulk of his tenure, the company has implicitly OK'd the behavior. The bulk of it will not change, but if it's impacting others, him turning the volume down, at least, isn't out of the question. As for good suggestions, I gotta try and represent the Fox Valley area as best as I can! ;)

eric.gibson
eric.gibson

Really, John_Doe69. I know you're kidding, but that's not funny and it's really inappropriate. MAIM him, perhaps, but isn't death a little extreme?

jimmydigits
jimmydigits

Issue each of the offended parties a large bar of soap and a sturdy men's sock. Each participant drops his bar of soap into his sock and waits in hiding in the company parking lot (preferably after dark). When the offender approaches his car, the party organizer leaps from the shadows and covers the offender with a blanket so as he can't see what's about to happen to him. The rest of the team membes then emerge from hiding, and while pummeling the victim with their makeshift weapons, they demand an end to his annoying behavior, i.e., "Enough of the damned whistling!" or, "We've haard all we need to hear about your pathetic problems at home and for god's sake stop disrespecting your mother by using the F-word in her's and our presence." Then the team scatters, leaving the annoying one alone whimpering in a bruised heap oblivious to the identities of the perpetrators. The entire operation should take less than sixty seconds. This technique has been a training staple for decades, if not for centuries in U.S. Marine Corps circles and has proved effective in virtually all cases. There, now you CAN handle the truth.

straightlineeng
straightlineeng

private solution.. Make an MP3 or wav of the conversation, taking place in the open area. Send it to him, saying you might want to hear this. Because it is in the air for every one to hear, recording should not be a problem.Be sure to capture ALL the offenses. Another solution, no head phones for 2 weeks, the dog ate them.

straightlineeng
straightlineeng

private solution.. Make an MP3 or wav of the conversation, taking place in the open area. Send it to him, saying you might want to hear this. Because it is in the air for every one to hear, recording should not be a problem.Be sure to capture ALL the offenses. Another solution, no head phones for 2 weeks, the dog ate them.

straightlineeng
straightlineeng

private solution.. Make an MP3 or wav of the conversation, taking place in the open area. Send it to him, saying you might want to hear this. Because it is in the air for every one to hear, recording should not be a problem.Be sure to capture ALL the offenses. Another solution, no head phones for 2 weeks, the dog ate them.

clrod1967
clrod1967

Maybe GSG was not clear or did not aproach the situation as someone directly annoyed by this person would be.

rblevitt1
rblevitt1

Personally, bitch-slapping the offender might be more appropriate. Spanking, taking a baseball bat upside the offender's head, or using a hockey stick might be considered as well.