When it comes to disruptive environments, I have had few experiences like the one I’ve been dealing with for the last year. Its really amazing how anything gets done around this place, as it really seems to emanate irritatingly loud and unconscionable noises our of every corner of its little universe. As one of the people who has brought a guiding light to knowledge work, Joel Spolsky, has said many a time, Programmers need offices.
Let’s get some etiquette down on digipaper before things get too crazy.
Loud Talking, Speaker Phones or having your phone on anything but silent
This seems to me to be pretty straight forward, and I don’t understand it. Speaker Phones are awkward, loud and disruptive in all circumstances. I was actually walking through school yesterday and I passed a student with his music piping out of his speakerphone and nearly stabbed him as he was walking. His arm cocked at a cool 90-degree angle to keep his phone at an audible level, producing its distorted bass with the shitty speaker that was stuck into his goddamned phone. What the hell is wrong with people, that makes them think that listening to music at 190 db is beneficial to anything other than punching holes in walls or testing sturdiness of satellites?
Few things are more irritating than walking through any of numerous parking garages after some assholes car alarm has been activated. Why did he turn it on? He figured it would protect his car from being stolen. What wasn’t explained is that it only works if either you are within earshot or if people around your car aren’t apathetic to its existence and are willing to give a crap about your cars current or future location. On a similar level is abandoned phones. If you put your phone down and walk away, please put it on vibrate. Otherwise its liable to be stomped into a billion pieces or better yet… lobbed out a window.
Walk in meetings
Meetings are necessary to cooperate on projects, this I understand, but why do you need to have it in the cube next to mine with 4 people all talking with your 25 foot voices? Have some respect for those around you and grab your laptop and notebook and go run your ass into a conference room and get your job done. Talking is one thing but you shouldn’t ever have a 5 person meeting in a cubicle for any real period of time. This seems like it would be beneficial to everyone, just go get some lunch and shoot the shit.
As a side note, I would like to say that I think that there should also be some standards about discussion topics. Hearing the stray “Condom” or “Tampon” or “Herpes” in a club is definitely frowned upon, but it shouldn’t be that hard to at least whisper it. Your life is yours and you can live it your way, but don’t share, unless im getting something out of it or we slept together. Its just not right.
Women, I know your legs look great in heels. I ogle at them more than time to time. I admire every curve, and drool over much that is a woman’s leg. That said, please learn how to walk. I walk with a fairly nice “tap” noise when my heel touches the ground, and I actually notice it and try to let up when im at work, but holy hell. The clomping needs to come to an end. What you see Sarah Jessica Parker doing does not need to be echoed in real life. At your house on your hard wood carpeting, trying to seduce your own Mr. Big, give it a go. Hell ill let you rehearse on me! Just lets lighten things up at work.
And yes, I know you are attractive.
Leaning on walls
Cubicles are built out of the same aluminum siding that was used on the shed you tried to build at 14 for your mom that filleted your hand. Its simple, cheap and very weak, laterally. The pieces are created in two, four and five foot sections, joined together with more aluminum pieces that allow T, X and L connections. They are not meant to support the weight of a 250 pound man, considering the thing is balanced on a two inch round foot, placed every so often.
Leaning on these things causes the person on the inside of that cube to hate you for knocking all of his books down, knocking over his whiteboard, allowing his papers that he has painstakingly pinned into the walls of his cube to fall out or worse, providing the last Newton of force needed to knock a forgotten bottle of water over, only to have it pour into the mans chair. Its really time that you people stopped.
This is nearly comical. What is the purpose of having an argument with someone in a cubical. Philosophical arguments maybe, but only because they are straight forward… If your voices hit the two foot level without a solution in sight its time to start either putting on some boxing gloves or you will need to go grab a conference room. Its really not worth your time to waste mine because if your argument gets too heated, just as with gasses, I will add my own energy into the mix and then everyone will be angry and We’ll be back at the LA Riots.
So there. I have said my piece. I hope you all learn something from this because I am not going to be as friendly about it any time soon.