Annoying coworkers: we all have them.  I just want to be clear – I am not talking about being an annoying person in general.  Just about the things that people can do in an office/lab/shared space setting that are really fucking annoying, even though the people themselves are awesome.  Examples include:

  1. Whistling while walking down the hallway (here’s a rule of thumb: if it’s not appropriate to sing in the hallway, it’s not appropriate to whistle)
  2. Loud talking right outside someone’s office
  3. Playing music or talk shows sans headphones
  4. Random comments on the social habits of others (“Hey! Why didn’t you go to the pancake breakfast this morning?”)
  5. Inability to stop talking after a purely social “How are you?”

The list goes on. Indeed, I’m sure that it could be much, much longer.  Many of these annoying habits I’ve listed relate to noise.  Oddly, that’s because I work in a very quite building right now, so these noises stick out a lot more and are more distracting.  I used to work in an open lab with a minimum of seven other people and all the associated lab equipment (our desks were in there, too), so chatter in the background wasn’t really that noticeable.

Now, the items above could be avoided if people were aware of them (probably), but there are also inadvertent annoyances that can’t really be blamed on anyone.  Examples include:

  1. The loud sneezer (like a scream-level)
  2. The constant throat-clearer (assuming that this is due to allergies or something similar, not just a personal habit)
  3. The squeaky shoe or clicking shoe (<- this is totally me)
  4. The piercing laugh (<- also totally me)
  5. Using a really loud mouse/keyboard/printer in a shared office

Now, as annoying as these conscious and unconscious habits can be, the worst thing about them is when I realize that I’m committing them.  I once actually apologized to my lab group because I was wearing the squeakiest orthotics know to humans.  Those things were loud and I couldn’t stop them from squeaking no matter what I did.  (Incidentally, I really did need to wear these to recover from a painful running injury.)  I think that I recognize these annoying things on an occasional basis and try to stop them, but I know I have annoying habits all the same.

Do you think you have an annoying work-place habit?  Do you try to stop them or just go with it as your contribution to office annoyance levels?

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