Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cubicle Life: Defense Tactics

I know I suck... its been a while since I've written anything. Whatever, get over it.

Work isn't always fun and games. Sometimes its annoying. Here are some techniques I've learned, developed and employed thus far to avoid the annoying coworkers.

This is your number one defense mechanism. There is a balance that must be maintained here; If you always wear your headphones, they become less effective. However, if you don't over-do it, headphones are a sign that you're "in the zone," and you should be left alone.

Hands-free Headset
This one is difficult. It works for me though because it seems like one of my projects is always having all-day telecons to fix problems. That means I can pop in and out during the day when needed to block unwanted coworker conversation starters. "Oh... sorry, I've got to dial in to this meeting... sorry."

Empty Coffee Mug
This is actually a fairly advanced technique, but once set up, this play can be run against a hurry-up offensive. Required tools: Two identical coffee mugs. Thats is. If you catch someone that is enroute to annoy and distract you... grab an empty coffee cup and stand up like you're going to get something to drink. Why do they have to be identical? It just seems to throw people off more.

Preemptive Strike
If you go to someone else's desk to BS, you're in control... you can leave whenever you please (this is also useful to know if you're going to break up with your girlfriend... go to her house). Once every 3 hours or so, make a round through the office saying "whats up" to everyone that might annoy you later. Make sure to keep the conversation light. And for God's sake... don't talk about their kids; they'll ramble for hours.

Work From Home
You'll notice that you get a lot more done when you work from home (actually work... not just answer emails and do laundry). This disadvantage for this one is that you'll miss the free food from meetings, and the people you actually like in your office.

Hostile Personality
This isn't one I've done... but I've seen it work quite effectively. Be an asshole. Nobody talks to that guy.

Be Annoying
If you ramble on for hours about your kids, or complain about "management" all of the time... rest assured, very few people are going to want to come talk to you.

(To be fair... pretty much everyone in my office is cool. I'm just really irritable.)


Anonymous said...

Absolutely BRILLIANT. I have to be honest, having worked for Boeing as long as I have (I started in 1986 as a technical designer on the 747-400), I've learned a number of these techniques by virtue of my own creativity and necessaity. Kudos to you for exploring the many ways of retaining your sanity amid life in the cubicle.

Funny but true: I've complained for forever about the noise where I work, a bunch of finance people yakking about whose kids are in jail, on drugs or getting divorced, etc., and I finally got a nice quiet space in a new building. Now I sit in this corner cubicle with NO ONE ELSE AROUND ME FOR OVER 20 FEET! So YEAH I've got my iPod cranking, but I feel like I'm on an island. Check it out

Any chance you've discovered a technique for getting people to come and bug you when you're actually WANTING company?

Oh yeah, and I totally have two coffee mugs, I'll have to work that one some time. ;)

Illegitimus non carborundum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Illegitimus non carborundum said...

You might want to acquire some cubes

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kenn... brilliant. And just for fun - when you want to really mess with those who bug you - put caffinated coffee in the decaf pot. Ha! Quite amusing.

Anonymous said...

Loved this. And I especially love that I'm commenting on it months after it's been posted. I'm a huge fan of the earphones, or, if I'm being honest, the cell phone. When I see someone approaching, I pretend I hear my phone and then pick it up, shrug at the annoying person walking my way ("what can you do?") and then do a lot of "I understands" and head bobbing while I walk away. Wow. It feels good to share that.

Anonymous said...

Why do you have only two coffee mugs?