My coworker in the next cubicle is addicted to her cell phone. She brags about being good at multi-tasking, but I’m constantly catching silly mistakes and covering for her. Not only is her voice irritably distracting, but I resent having to clean up her messes. Going to HR is not an option. Our boss stresses team work and refers to us as members of the company team, which means we’re not to complain but have to pick up the slack. Any ideas about how to deal?
–G. T., Providence
Aside from asking to be moved to another space, which may not be possible, another obvious option is to talk to her. Take it outside of the office away from your colleagues. Over coffee say you understand that the need to stay constantly in touch with her circle of friends is perfectly normal, and then ask her this, “Tell me, how you get your work done when you’re always on your ear pods talking to your friends and your mom? I can’t help overhearing your half of every conversation and I’m curious as to how we can work to turn the volume down and limit the chatter.” If you are brave, you will cite a couple of her silly mistakes and incidents where you’ve had to cover for her. Do it by texting. That might really catch her attention.
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Accepting A Compliment