The Sonia Show

Writer. Mocker. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.

Cubicle etiquette


Yeah, so, today I want to talk about something really important: cubicle etiquette.

Someone in the office is playing their music kinda loud. Now, normally I wouldn’t complain if it was something I liked listening to – you know, something cool like one of those “Glee” soundtracks or an “American Idol” compilation. But this coworker is playing some depressing chick singer that I can’t identify. Between the gray weather outside and this downer music … well, it’s just not appropriate for a Friday.

I’d complain to HR, but I’m worried that it’s someone from HR who is playing the music.

Yesterday, two people in this office were speaking to each other on speaker phone. This wouldn’t be a big deal except they don’t sit that far away from each other, so it was like they put their mundane conversation about billing on the intercom. Really? You can’t walk to the 10 feet to your coworker’s cube for this discussion?

The speaker phone incident was almost as annoying as the folks who walk around the office with their little cell phone headset devices on, talking to someone while they are pouring their coffee or – god help me – using the restroom. We are a printing company. We are not saving lives here. Whatever call you are on, I’m pretty sure it can wait until after you’ve emptied your bladder.

I know you can’t tell by reading this, but I actually really like this office. I criticize because I care, people. I’ve got a good job. I’m lucky, and I know it. I had a really great performance review yesterday. Unlike other performance reviews I’ve received in the past (at say a certain daily newspaper in SF that I used to work for a few years ago), this review didn’t end with me storming out of the office angry.

Here’s my impression of my past performance reviews at that newspaper:

The boss: “Sonia, you do a really great job. You work very hard. But, your jokey personality isn’t very professional, and it gives people the impression that you don’t care.”

Me: “This job is really stressful. I find that handling it with a good sense of humor is helpful.”

The boss: “You need to be more professional, and you need to think about long-term goals for the paper.”

Me: “Ummm, I edited content for and designed 22 pages today while everyone else did about three pages. I don’t have time to think about long-term goals for the paper. Can I haz a raise now?”

The boss: “No.”

Me: “Thanks for nothing.”

The boss: “What?”

Me: “[Sigh] Can I go back to my cube now so I can angrily talk shit about you on IM to my coworkers?”

I won’t go into details, but my performance review I got yesterday, but it was a million times better than that. My boss actually treats me respectfully … like a valuable employee. Weird, right?

Now, I just need to school some folks around here about proper cubicle etiquette …


Author: The Sonia Show

I'm a writer/podcaster/mother/goober in San Francisco who likes to drink beer, shop, laugh and make other people laugh, watch old movies, feed my unhealthy obsession with pop culture, kick breast cancer's ass, go on adventures with my mighty, mighty good man David and my awesome autistic son, Calvin, wear orange and root for the San Francisco Giants, participate in general jackass-ery, talk about TV, eavesdrop on strangers' conversations, make nerdy “Star Wars” and “Simpsons” references, and post personal things about myself on the web for all to read, which makes me some sort of literary exhibitionist.

6 thoughts on “Cubicle etiquette

  1. At my last office, everyone was really angry and passive-aggressive all the time, including me. It’s one of the reasons I left. Everyone was full of shit and too busy kissing ass to be honest with one another. After I put in my 2 weeks, I finally grew a pair and started speaking up when people were being assfaces. One dude in particular ALWAYS used to eavesdrop (which, yeah, it’s hard not to do in a cube environment), butt in on conversations and even interrupt my phone conversations with his (irrelevant) input. Finally I just looked at him and said “this doesn’t concern you. I’d appreciate if you’d mind your own business or at least wait until I’m off the phone to start talking to me.” He acted like I’d slapped him in the face but he never did it again (for the, oh, 11 remaining days I worked there).

    I’ve learned there’s no point in tip-toeing around the office for the sake of amicability. I speak up when things annoy me – as politely as I can – and people usually don’t take it personally. I mean, what are they going to do, fire me for being honest? There’s a place I wouldn’t want to work anyway.

  2. I can handle the music situation. I just need to figure out who it is and tell them know it’s a little loud … and depressing. HA! In general, this is actually a really good office.

    But, the other stuff, I don’t feel comfortable telling someone that it’s weird that they talk on the phone in the restroom.

  3. Update: The depressing chick singer is gone and has been replaced with choir music … maybe even religious choir music.

    Music Fail!

  4. I’m kind of sick of your jokey personality too. Little Miss Jokey, you are. Suddenly talking like Yoda, I am …

  5. Current peeve: My cube farm is full of loud eaters. Know how the Simpsons sound when they eat dinner? Just like that, except with smells.

  6. I think you were out the morning that the music coming from That Office was Hoobastank. I very nearly wrote up a complaint.

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