- Lisa Dubino
Boundary breakers at work
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
Don't mind me: The way the desks are arranged I’m in the path of conversation. People regularly and literally talk over me.
Has no inner voice: The person in front of me will just blurt out her question for anyone at any time.
Get to the point: My neighbor can’t tell a short story. And then she’ll repeat the whole thing for the next person.
The chewer: Two cubicles away is a gum chewer. I have to get up and go for a walk when he starts in on his lunch.
Do you have a minute?: Polite intro, yes. But a time suck nonetheless. Just email me.
Pass around the phone call: God forbid you get the wrong salesperson. It can take up to three tries before you find the right one. And then we all get to participate!
Morning Update: Sometimes it can last up to twenty minutes. I’m not one for small talk.
Chip and Dale: Every morning I get to hear my neighbors decide whose turn it is to make the coffee. “Oh why thank you!” and “You’re welcome!” As if it’s different on any given day.
Meeting Overview: Even though we just discussed it in a meeting, even though it’s in a shared document, it’s guaranteed someone will ask to the group what‘s going on.
Whispering: As if no one can hear. By virtue of the fact that you’re talking in a whisper we can't help but to eavesdrop. It’s an automatic response.
I’m as guilty as the next person and I violate other people’s space in the office (OPS) all the time. What can I do to be more respectful? Not eat at my desk. Don’t gossip. Stop what I’m doing to listen or explain that I’m in the middle of something or ask the person to email me. Don’t tell personal stories at work. Point out that it would be preferable to not have the conversation over my head.
The real solution? Get my own office.