I share a cubicle wall with the most annoying person on earth. He leaves his cell phone on and it rings all day. He smells funny and eats smelly food at his desk. His voice is loud and he talks about personal things at full volume. When he’s not talking, he’s humming or singing under his breath. He also clicks his pen constantly. I might kill him.
I think I know this guy. It’s possible I used to work with him; it’s also possible that there is an exact clone of this guy at every company across the country. I understand the homicidal urges, but here are some better solutions.
1. Be aggressive. Act like you’re speaking to a naughty two-year-old or a bad puppy, and every time he does something that bugs you, pop your head up over the cubicle wall and loudly say, “Stop that. Now.” Shake your finger at him if you want.
2. Be passive. Accept your fate. Weep silently at your desk, complain about him to your mother, and lie in bed at night dreading the sunrise and the fact that you have to spend another day listening to Clicky McSmellerton.
3. Be passive-aggressive. Leave Post-It notes on his computer screen, telephone, and lunch bag. Write them as if the object itself is speaking, i.e., “I’m a nasty, smelly lunch. Please eat me at home instead of in the office where my fishy odor will offend your colleagues.” If you’d like you can underline the word “please” about eight times and put a smiley face at the end.
4. Have a conversation. Pick the worst thing he does and address it kindly, in private. “Hey, Cubicle Guy, I’m sure you’re not even aware of this, but I can hear you over the wall. I’m sure you didn’t mean for me to overhear that you threw up on a stripper this weekend, so you might want to keep your voice down.” If he has half a brain he’ll mute the whole operation; if he doesn’t, and it’s really not something you can live wtih, talk to someone in human resources and have them address it.