when your coworker is driving you nuts

I was on public radio’s Marketplace this weekend, talking about quitting your job, including:

  • how to deal with noise in an open office space
  • how to deal with a coworker whose chronic cough is driving you crazy
  • is there a magic solution where you can get your coworker to stop doing an annoying thing without having to talk to them about it?
  • what to do if you worry that you’re the annoying coworker

The segment is eight minutes and you can listen here:

{ 86 comments… read them below }

    1. Incantanto*

      The woman I shared a two person office with did this.
      She also used to tidy my desk.
      Hatred is high.

      1. London Calling*

        I used to work with one who every morning listened to all her messages on speakerphone. Loudly. Until I did what I do with loud mobile speakers on the train – walk over and point out that their conversations – or in this case messages – are only fascinating to them and not the people around them. It helped that she was irritating the shit out of everyone else as well, including her managers.

    2. LSP*

      I work in an open area of my office, and have a LOT of conference calls, and I never use speaker phone. Our IT director has an actual office, with a door, a couple doors down the hall from the open area, and he takes EVERY, SINGLE CALL on speaker phone, and NEVER CLOSES HIS DOOR.

      This is especially distracting for me when he and I are on the same call, and I hear an echo of not just him, but everyone else on the line.

      1. designbot*

        Does he have an extra chair in his office? If you’re on the same call, go knock on his door a minute early and ask if you can just both take the call on speaker together to make it easier for everyone.

    3. Snarkus Aurelius*

      Here’s a very specific reason:

      My coworker lived in a constant state of paranoia that she was going to be laid off or fired or deemed irrelevant. So she took every damn call on speaker phone so she could prove how hardworking and relevant she was. (I have no idea what her actual work performance was like.)

      The irony is that she was moved around the building so much because no one got along with her in close quarters. She sat in my department, which meant she was literally surrounded by people who never worked with her and didn’t know what she did.

      I came in one day to get something when everyone else was at a conference and she was on speakerphone the whole time. Way to demonstrate your value to no one!

    4. Far Northerner*

      I do that sometimes but I have my own office and can close the door. I wouldn’t do it if others could hear. I have two reasons for doing this. Sometimes I don’t want to hold the phone while I go through what might be a lot of messages. But the other reason is that I get anxious that there might be bad news and start dreading them. Listening on speakerphone somehow seems less personal and it’s easier to make myself listen to them. Similarly, sometimes if I get an email from a name I recognize and I don’t want to read the email I will print it off and then read it. In both cases, it just seems a bit less personal and therefore easier to deal with. I know that other people do this for the same reason and I have shared this method with people who have told me they hate listening to their voicemail and they have later told me that it helped them stop procrastinating and actually liestn to the message and respond.

  1. Environmental Gone Public Health*

    Needed this today. BossLady started the day off by asking me if I’m anorexic (I have lost maybe 12 lbs since starting a dance/yoga class series about 4 months ago, and am by no means not curvy), then blasted music all morning while randomly bursting into my office to ask something unrelated to work, and forgetting to close my door on the way out.

    1. AnitaJ*

      I’m SO sorry that happened to you. That is insanely inappropriate, not to mention horribly rude. BossLady sounds awful. She can go kick rocks!

      1. Environmental Gone Public Health*

        I didn’t even have a response because I was so taken aback. I’ve never personally struggled with an eating disorder, but can you imagine if she had said this to someone who had?? I can understand being concerned about your co-workers/employees and gently asking if everything’s okay, but the keyword there is “gently”.

        She’s not the most….socially adept of people at best. Just adding to a long list of reasons why I’m leaving the job at this point.

        1. nnn*

          We need to introduce her to the “at least you don’t have an eating disorder” co-worker from a few days ago. They’ll either become fast friends or get stuck in a recursive loop.

          1. Environmental Gone Public Health*

            Knowing my boss….it’d be the recursive loop, which would quickly become a black hole of social ineptness and other related shenanigans.

      1. B*

        Darn! The only way for me to listen now is at my desk but I can’t put in headphones (not allowed in my role) and I will not be that person who plays something others can hear.

  2. SheLooksFamiliar*

    I can address three of today’s topics with one story!

    A long-ago employer had an open office plan. My team’s assigned area was kind of in the back 40 and pretty quiet. Our team was friendly and chatted during the day, so we didn’t mind an open office plan. However, one of my co-workers used speakerphone to check voicemail, and also for fairly long discussions. He had a loud, deep voice, and kept his speaker volume LOUD. Yeah, he was pretty disruptive and annoying. We nicely asked him to stop with the speakerphone, multiple times, and he just shrugged…

    …and a conspiracy was born. The rest of us decided to bring in desk radios set on various stations, and waited for him to use his speakerphone. In unison, we all turned our volume controls to 11. It took a couple of days, but he finally stopped. He also gave us the stink eye for a while and wouldn’t go to lunch with us, so he clearly thought WE were the annoying co-workers. He got over it.

    1. Ingray*

      I have neve understood the checking voicemail on speaker thing, I have worked in several settings where people did this!

      1. the gold digger*

        When I had to use an actual phone, I used speakerphone as much as possible I could so I could take notes more easily. Even notes on paper with a pen, which require only one hand, are tough with the other hand holding the phone. Now that I take my notes in confluence or wherever, I really need both hands.

        However, when I didn’t have a door, I would keep the volume very low so I didn’t, you know – disturb other people.

        1. I'll come up with a clever name later.*

          I love my headset for this reason. The coworker who sits behind me refuses to use the headset and only uses the handset. She complains each and every time she takes a call AND I swear the woman couldn’t hang up a phone on the first time to save her life. It takes her about 10 seconds to put the phone in its cradle. She rubs the handset across the desk and actual phone with every call. It’s so weird.

      2. SheLooksFamiliar*

        Likewise. This was 20-ish years ago and headsets weren’t standard equipment, but this guy didn’t get so many voicemails that writing and hold a phone would be a hardship.

      3. Grant Us Eyes*

        An immediate family member “checks” the house voicemail on speaker. By which I mean he hits play then leaves, not actually hearing any of it.

      4. nerdyone*

        I do it to annoy my coworkers who stand directly behind me in my open office area visiting loudly about their weekends, grandchildren, and the color folders they have chosen for their kid’s upcoming school project.
        It usually gets them to move to their private offices to continue their visiting.

      5. Windchime*

        I used to work with a guy who would dial up his voicemail on speakerphone, and then switch to the handset to listen. I never really understood why he thought the entire office would love to hear the loud dial tone, his beep beep beep, the ringing, etc. We didn’t have to listen to the call or message, but we had to listen to the pre-game show.

    2. Catabodua*

      Oh this brings back a funny memory. Not a work one, but years ago there was a group of us who played trivia as a team at a bar and one teammate always took calls, put them on speaker, and then loudly spoke to the caller as well as continually shouting “I can’t really hear you!” to the other party.

      We decided to make it impossible for him to do this by yelling “I can’t really hear you!” repetitively the moment his phone started to ring so that he got annoyed and went outside. The first time we did it he came back in furious and yelling at us and we all laughed and laughed. He stormed out and didn’t come back for a few weeks. Eventually he did come back, and he stopped taking calls. We assume that he must have been complaining about us to other friends and family and they all thought he was the one being a jerk.

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        You and your friends sound awesome. You’re trivia buffs, and you made your point beautifully. Salute!

    3. Wanna-Alp*

      Oh, one of those people who thinks that just because they aren’t troubled by the activity being done to them, then if they do it to you, it can’t possibly bother you. Very bad logic! In particular, it so does not work when you have booming/bass/outside voices involved.

      In that case, making them aware of what disruption they are really causing, by doing it back to them, is a great way to address it. Bravo, radio wielders!

      I have occasionally tried it with whistling – if someone is whistling in the office, whistling right back at them usually gets them to stop (assuming no headphones are involved!)

  3. Starzanne Stripes*

    I can deal with chronic throat-clearers or people who do just a normal cough when they cough, but my office has about six people in it who, every time they cough, it sounds like they’re choking to death. They do this multiple times throughout the day. It startles me every single time.

    1. Madge*

      This is my husband for sure. He’s lucky he works from home now. Loads of his coworkers would complain to him, or to his boss, or his boss’s boss about his constantly sniffing and coughing. He has major allergies which are chronic, not seasonal, the kind Zyrtec or Claratin, or Advil, or Mucinex barely touch. Nothing he can do.

    2. I Like Pie*

      I have one coworker who, when she sneezes, prefaces it with what is basically a scream. The “Ah” before the choo is more like, “AAAHHHH!!!..CHOO” with the “Choo” being really short. And she thinks it’s hysterical, because everyone else always makes a comment about it. If we have a visitor in office they almost always jump. I tend to do a series of short burst sneezes, trying to keep it quiet, but sometimes I’ll end up sounding like I’m coughing or choking. But I never startle people with mine.

        1. Betsy*

          Yeah, I get so much suspicion and judgment due to having asthma.

          When you have a coughing fit, you get some people looking alarmed like they’re afraid it might be contagious and others looking at you like you’re rude and you should just control yourself better.

    3. Goya de la Mancha*

      We used to have a sneezer like this. It wasn’t very often, but I dropped my cup a few times because it was so jarring.

  4. Elmyra Duff*

    Okay, but what about a guy who won’t stop singing/humming/chuckling/generally making noises because he’s afraid of silence and also wants attention, because I’m about to lose my GD mind.

    1. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

      Ugh. I work from home and dislike it when my spouse does too because he talks to himself a lot; sometimes he’ll talk to me in the same tone and I’m never sure if I should pay attention or not. I just put on headphones with white noise playing and figure if he needs to address me directly, he can get my attention.

    2. Allison*

      I have a coworker like this. Every thought comes out of her mouth, and a lot of those thoughts are super whiny and negative, and she expects everyone to agree with her. No Brenda, I’m not upset that it’s Monday, I’d love a longer standard weekend but two days is fine, Friday will come when it comes, so will five o’clock, I know your job is frustrating and I’m sorry your miserable but I’m not going to whine with you, so stop it.

  5. Fergus Formerly Known as the Artist Fergus*

    I am the annoying co-worker that instead of using the bathroom, I just use an empty gatorade bottle. My boss says my productivity is way up.

    1. Stinky McStinkface*

      For higher productivity, try bringing one of those big white paint cans to work. Not only does it cut down on bathroom trips, but you’ll be interrupted less often.

    2. I'll come up with a clever name later.*

      This cracked me up and made me think of that 30 Rock episode with Frank and Two-fer peeing in the bottles and watering the garden. LOL!

  6. Eye of Sauron*

    I mentioned this in an open thread. My office is on a wall with 3 other offices. I’m number 2, in this configuration > 1234.

    The walls aren’t thick or sound proof, and I’m the only one who shuts the door for conference calls. The people in offices 1, 3, and 4 all get on a weekly conference call, from their desks, with their doors open. Did you know there’s a delay in conference calls? So I essentially hear guy in 1 or 3 talking and the delayed echo from the other phones. It’s maddening!

    1. Grant Us Eyes*

      I might be misunderstanding, but I don’t understand why people take conference calls on speaker anyway. Everyone I know in my department does it. I just pick up the phone as I should for a normal conversation.

      1. Amtelope*

        I don’t have a headset, so when I’m working from home, I put the phone on speaker so that I can type while I’m on the call. But I don’t do that in the office, because who does that in the office, seriously.

      2. Eye of Sauron*

        To clarify they all have office doors.

        Depends on how long the meeting is. I’m fine with conference call meetings on speaker. I’m not fine with the echo that happens because 3 people in the same location sitting within 30 feet of each other with their doors open are on the same call which causes a delay and echo affect. It’s fun when they cause feedback to each other too.

        If they all went into one office or the conference room then the problem would be solved. I’d only hear 1 call.

  7. ContentWrangler*

    My office has a phone pacer. He has an office, but often takes calls on his headset or cell and walks around the open office plan. Even when he’s in his office, he’s a very loud talker. My desk neighbor sometimes pretends as if he’s responding along to phone guy’s conversation (phone guy has yet to notice).

    The worst part is I wear headphones most of the time and am great at tuning things out…unless they are pointed out to me. Now I can’t help but notice it when phone guy gets yet another call.

  8. Dubious Penguin*

    I type really fast and I noticed someone was asking for a transcript, so I did one quickly. If this is not okay, please delete it!

    Lizzie O’Leary: We’ve all been there: someone takes your lunch from the work fridge, uses all the printer paper and doesn’t replace it, talks on the phone so loudly that noise-canceling headphones don’t stand a chance. Yes, annoying co-workers and office etiquette. But also how to cope with all that stuff before you lose your mind. Alison Green from Ask A Manager joins us every month to guide us through life at work. Welcome back.

    Alison Green: Thanks for having me.

    Lizzie: All right, so look. Even in the best offices, where everybody likes each other, you know, there’s just this problem where people get under one another’s skin. It’s sort of a risk of the job. What are some of the main things that you hear about?

    Alison: One of the biggest that I hear about all the time, probably every day, is noise. Noise of all sorts. So taking too many calls on speakerphone or the person who keeps bursting into loud, raucous laughter while you’re trying to concentrate, or the person who sits a couple feet away from you and is just humming nonstop all day. It’s stuff that sounds small when you complain about it to someone outside of your office, but when you are stuck in close proximity to it all day it can get really aggravating. The other category I hear a lot about is intrusive coworkers – the people who comment on everything that you eat, or demand to know whether and when you plan to have kids, or why you’re not dating right now. And there’s also the opposite of that, which is the co-worker who overshares way more than you want to know about their own dating life or their diet or their health. I could go on and on [chuckles] but those are the categories I hear about pretty regularly.

    Lizzie: OK, so what do you recommend for someone who is upset? Do you bring this up with the person directly or kind of go to HR and hope they can help you?

    Alison: So in most of these cases it’s stuff that you want to try to address directly with the person. If you go to HR or your manager with kind of interpersonal issues, they’re likely to tell you to go back and talk to the person directly anyway. And you risk looking like you can’t manage your own work relationships. So you want to try to address it yourself in most cases. I think it’s pretty common for people to be hesitant to do it, though, because they don’t want to cause tension in the relationship.

    Lizzie: Yeah, people don’t like conflict.

    Alison: Yeah. And I think… you know, I get so many letters on these topics where I think people are hoping for some kind of magic solution where they can get the person to stop doing the annoying thing without actually having to talk to them. But if you want it to stop, you do have to speak up, you do have to have the potentially awkward conversation. And the thing to remember, I think, is that most people do want to know if they’re doing something that is getting on your last nerve. And most people will be reasonable if you approach them about it politely. And also people will generally take their cues from you. So if you’re direct and matter-of-fact and you approach it the way you would any other work-related problem, instead of oozing awkwardness and discomfort when you raise it, it’s probably going to go over okay.

    Lizzie: There are sort of this rule of thumb that people use for interpersonal issues, which is, “I feel X.” Or “My experience is X,” rather than “You do X, Alison, and it drives me crazy.” Is that helpful in this scenario, to help people feel less defensive?

    Alison: I think one thing that can work really well is to make it about you, rather than about them. So kind of like what you were saying. You could say, “I am just bizarrely sensitive to sound. So I don’t want to tell you not to chew gum all day, but for some reason I just have a really weird thing about it. I’m so sorry to ask, but do you think you could rein it in?” Then you’re making it about you. You’re not telling them that they’re a rude monster. You’re approaching it from a standpoint that maybe will make them a little less defensive about it.

    Lizzie: So you mention noise as one that comes up a lot. We had a listener that wrote to us about noise in his office. I’m not going to use his name, but here is his comment: “My question is, we are in an open floor plan with 20-foot ceilings and cubicles that are just tall enough that it’s kind of hard to see over them. I sit towards the middle of the space. I have good hearing and hear conversations that take place within about 60 feet of me. Some coworkers are just naturally loud, especially on the phone, or have a tendency to use the speakerphone functionality when on conference calls. While I have noise-canceling headphones that I use to listen to music, I can still hear people talking. It’s especially bad with the coworker sitting at the desk behind me, who mutters, or with people who have conversations near my desk, which is across the door to the copy room. Aside from going to HR with my concerns, which I don’t think will be all that effective, how do I tell my coworkers to be more respectful of noise levels?”

    Alison: So, most people don’t realize when they’re making a noise that’s bothering you, and most people are going to be receptive to a polite request to stop. So for the guy who mutters, you could say something like, “I’m sure you don’t realize this, but when you talk to yourself while you’re working it can be pretty distracting. Any chance you could try to be aware of it and rein it in?” And with the people who are having conversations in the copy room, that’s trickier. Because it’s probably different people each time. But you can pop in there and say, “So sorry to ask, but voices really travel here. Can I ask you to keep it down, since I’m right across the way and trying to focus?” But when you’re in an open floor plan office like that, there is going to be noise. It can be a really tough environment to work in if you’re someone who needs quiet in order to focus. That office sounds like they need a rule about not taking calls on speakerphone and being aware of noise in the copy room, and maybe that’s something that the caller could suggest. Because I bet he’s not the only one who’s annoyed by it.

    Lizzie: We have another noise question. This one’s a little more complicated. Our listener wrote, “I’d like some guidance on a coworker who coughs. Not just when he has a cold, but every 10 minutes. He doesn’t notice he’s doing it, and because we share a thin office wall, I hear him every hour of every day. He’s senior to me, so I can’t just walk into his office and confront him. Would it be too passive-aggressive to leave a bag of cough drops on his desk or a note suggesting he needs to see his doctor?” Alison?

    Alison: So, this one is tough for everyone. I would not leave the cough drops or the note. When someone has a chronic cough like that, they’re generally acutely aware of it. He’s probably tried cough drops, and chances are pretty good he’s seen a doctor. So with this one, your best bet is to make it become background noise for yourself or see if you can block it with headphones or even something like white noise. I know that’s easier said than done, but it might help to keep in mind that he is probably equally frustrated, if not more so.

    Lizzie: All right, what if you secretly suspect you’re the annoying colleague? Maybe it’s, you think, “Ooh, I shouldn’t have told that story about that bad date,” or “I babble too much,” or “Maybe that candle on my desk is kinda stinky.” What do you do?

    Alison: [chuckles] I think we all probably do have habits that annoy other people. We’ve all probably been somebody else’s annoying coworker at some point. I think, remember that we’re all stuck sharing space with each other, whether we want to be or not. And just make a point about being thoughtful about how you’re impacting that space. What sounds or what smells you’re making, or how much of people’s time you’re taking up. What kind of energy you’re bringing into the space. That doesn’t mean you have to make yourself as small and unnoticeable as possible. But just be thoughtful. And especially if you’re in an open office plan with little privacy, or you’re in very cramped quarters, it can be good to just talk with people occasionally about how things are going. You know, is this space sharing working for everyone, or are there things that any of you could be doing differently. The more open you seem to that kind of conversation, the more likely it is that people will feel comfortable approaching you if in fact you are driving them crazy in some way.

    Lizzie: Alison Green, who runs the blog Ask A Manager. Thank you so much.

    Alison: Thank you.

    Lizzie: You can find Alison’s past advice on how to quit gracefully, appropriate office attire, and dealing with kids in the workplace. Just go to Marketplace.org and look for Weekend’s Ask A Manager.

    1. Dinosaur*

      I going to transcribe this to take a break from actual transcribing work but you got there first! Thanks for doing this for folks who wanted it!

  9. ArtsNerd*

    THANK YOU for standing up for chronic coughers. It could be asthma or Tourette’s.

    My asthma is now mostly medication controlled but it really disrupted so much of my life before we got to this point. It was awful. I missed out on so many experiences, shows, classes, and events because I was either hyper-focused on suppressing my cough or had to leave to avoid disrupting things for everyone else. My options were participate and cough, or leave and cough. Not-coughing wasn’t on the menu, and dear lord how much I wish it were.

    The disgusted looks I’d get were really awesome, too. If it’s chronic, it’s not contagious, y’all. Please, don’t be an ass about it. It’s distracting; I get it. But be kind.

    1. Betsy*

      And thanks for your comment too, ArtsNerd. I’ve never met other asthmatics who have had quite the same issues with chronic cough before. This pretty much describes my life exactly, although my asthma’s at a good point right now.

      I’m not happy that you’ve had to experience this, but I’m somehow really pleased that someone else understands.

  10. Kat*

    I completely understand that people can’t help coughing. We’ve all had a cough one time or another, I’m sure. But my office is open plan and small and we aren’t allowed any headphones or music or background noise. I know nothing can be done about my colleague who coughs, and I know it isn’t her fault, but unfortunately it is, at the moment, very annoying and distracts me from my work. I think in these situations it would be best to allow headphones, but our company won’t allow it. Surely this just leads to more annoyance than necessary (or fair).

    1. ArtsNerd*

      I’m pretty sure that banning headphones in an open plan office is illegal and creates a hostile work environment.

      (Do they ban ear plugs? Because if not…)

      1. AcademiaNut*

        No, unless they ban headphones for one protected class but not another. So if only men are allowed headphones (or earplugs) it’s illegal. Requiring you to work in full auditory range of an open office full of noisy coworkers is entirely legal.

        But on the larger point – it strikes me that a lot of the noise issues are the direct result of open office plans. If you have individual or small offices, you’re exposed to fewer people’s noise, and it’s easier to move people around if there’s a problem. With an open office plan, you’re exposed to more people’s random noise, the chances of one of them being annoying is a lot higher, and there’s nowhere to move someone who can’t help the noise.

  11. Gina Linetti*

    I once had a boss who used to announce – LOUDLY! – “I have to pee!” as she stomped down the hallway to the office restroom. And would stand outside tapping her foot if someone was already in there.

    I suppose we should have all been grateful she didn’t announce it every time she had to poop, too.

  12. nnn*

    Do cough drops actually stop people from coughing? Despite the name, I’ve always felt like they soothe a sore throat temporarily, but have no impact on the actual cough.

    1. Betsy*

      I’m going to stop going on about asthma in all the comments soon, but they’re counterindicated for most people with lung diseases because if they’re suppressing people from coughing stuff up, all the phlegm just stays there and could cause further breathing problems.

  13. Amy*

    Thank you for sticking up for the coughers! I have a chronic cough due to Cystic Fibrosis and while it’s better sometimes, there are other times when it’s pretty deep and loud. It’s never going away and I’m sure I’ve annoyed coworkers with it. As Alison said, I am acutely aware. I see a doctor at least every 3 months for it. I can’t suppress it because the junk that’s in there needs to be coughed up – if I don’t cough and it stays in there, I could get a lung infection that could land me in the hospital (no joke). If sometime left cough drops or a passive aggressive note on my desk I would be mortified.

    I really empathize with how much it sucks to listen to someone coughing, especially if it’s a nasty cough. Ironically I get annoyed too, when the roles are reversed. But be kind – there’s really nothing they can do about it.

  14. Nacho*

    I sit in front of a heavy smoker. Every half an hour or so, she starts hacking up a lung. Seriously breaks my concentration.

  15. JustShutUpAlready*

    I sit six feet away from one of the most obnoxious divas I have ever met. In a profession where politeness and discretion are expected, this woman has the manners of a truck driver. Loud, sassy and thinks her attitude is cute. Personal conversations all the time, and they go from standard loud to whispering with bursts of cackles thrown in. Her boss is even worse. Beam me up. Seriously, beam me up.

  16. Kent*

    This female coworker 20 years older than me won’t stop worrying about me. I just quit this job because it was a toxic work environment. The female coworker looked up my address on the internet and sent me a letter saying that she’s my friend and doesn’t want to lose contact with me. I was a bit friendly with her at work but nothing on the level of a close friendship.

    She started bothering me at work the last 6 months after I noticed her envying me and other. I took an ancestry DNA test after she was talking about it with me at work. She got bothered because I had an ancestry she wanted. When talking about another coworker she likes she was envying him because his mother left him a mobile home to live in. She’s always loudly saying “I don’t have…” in regards to something someone else has, even small things.

    The final straw for me was when I mentioned to her that I had requested special accommodations for my disability from the employer. She said “Don’t make any career decisions without consulting me first next time”. I’m 36 years old and I don’t need her telling me what to do. I just ignored her comment and walked away. Just because she’s around 55 years old and a coworker doesn’t give her the right to mother me. She’s acting the same way towards another coworker I know who’s almost her age.

    Then she keep telling lies. I had another coworker who got fired for not showing up to work when scheduled. She told me he got fired because of his disability, but I remember he was fired for not showing up to work. Then she lied to me after contacting me after I quit my job. She said this old manager we had who got back in was a “consultant” and is sticking to the lie after I told her that I was told by another coworker that he’s the new manager.

    Sadly this was the most friend person I found in that toxic work environment. She seems to want to sabotage me since I left and won’t stop worrying about me. If anything I think she needs to worry about herself. I’m going to have to get tough with her and cut off all her email access and completely ignore her. If she’s psycho enough to show up to my house I’m going to tell her to leave and were not friends. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

  17. Alexandra*

    Radio Freak
    I have been working in a opne air office for 10 months. The colleagues are nice and we manage the work well. The work language is english, but among themselves they speak Dutch. During the last 10 months, my spot/desk is just right in front of the desk where an old radio is. This radio apparently has been there almost forever, even before most of them started working and it has always been on. The thing is that I have always been a person who is completely unable to concentrate/studying/reading with music. There sis this colleague in particular, who also apparently cannot be one single day without listening to music the whole day at the office. From the moment she steps-in she puts this radio on, loudly (since from where she seats, she still has to able to hear it – the same station every single day-). She seats in front of me, on the other side of the big table we alll share. We are only divided by the computer screens. I have tried the first months, to put the volume lower, politely, sometimes asking her, sometimes when she goes to the toilet or to the kitchen. BUt this only lasts that day. The following day, the volume is again loud, since she is usually the first one arriving in the morning. Furthermore, sometimes she sings.
    What should I do????

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