What a wonderful day that would be if you could make it through one entire workday without the temptation to strangle the guy [or girl] in the next cubicle, right? If it’s not Prasoon who clears his throat every 14 seconds, it’s your colleague Bipasha in the pantry area reheating her smelly fish for lunch and stinking up the whole office. Again.
How can you go on working with these people who drive you batty on a daily basis? Luckily for you, I have all the answers to help you regain your sanity and leave the anxiety for the significantly smaller irritants in life. Like commuter traffic.
The Loud Talker
This is the guy who can’t keep his voice down whether he yaks on the phone with his proctologist or blows your hair back from point-blank range as he blusters on about his weekend at the lake on his friend’s gold-plated yacht. The solution to this one is easy. Bring a gong to office. Every time that hot airbag opens his mouth, bang that gong until he goes away.
Okay seriously, headphones should do the trick. For you, not him. [If you gave that guy headphones, his decibel level would hit the red zone.]
This also goes for the hummer, the whistler, the throat clearer, the sniffler, the mumbler, the heavy sigher, the tongue clicker and the coffee slurper. The first time the offender offends, scream, “OMG! You scared me!” The second time it happens, yell out and slap a hammer down hard on your desk. Say, “Holy Moly, that startled me!” Keep this up until the offender stops or asks to be moved elsewhere. Or, you could try headphones again, it’s purely up to you.
The Fish Monger
Nothing stinks up the kitchen and the office like a reheated seafood buffet. Should any clueless coworker [like the aforementioned Bipasha] have the audacity to bring in such a noxious lunch, say something like, “Holy Mackerel! Who farted? Did someone fart?” Trust me, you’ll be the hero of the office for simply expressing what everyone else is thinking but doesn’t have the nerve to say.
This is the lazy woman, probably the freckled sandal-wearer in Human Resources, who leaves one square of toilet paper on the roll instead of replacing it. She is the same person who leaves two sips of coffee in the pot and doesn’t make more. She undoubtedly does this at home. Therefore, the answer to this problem is to call her husband and inquire as to what he does to put a stop to such selfish behaviour.
The Chronic Farter or Burper
So, Ratish is a nice guy and all, but he’s really let himself go in his later years and he really lets “it” go in the office. All day long. It’s a daily thunderstorm that stinks so bad it keeps the bugs away, which might be a good thing, but if you can’t see your own computer screen through the tears and the fog, how are you expected to get any work done? Well, let me just save you a lot of time right now.
Recent studies show that men fart way more than women in the office. It would behoove you to surround yourself with women when you are first assigned your desk. If you didn’t think of this and you are stuck sitting next to Ratish and his storm-clouded cubicle, try screaming, “Holy Gaspipe! Did someone cook fish? Is someone cooking fish? Bipasha, is that you?”
The truth is, your proximity to Ratish is your own fault, and unless you’re willing to take him to the doctor for a prescription or get the guy to lay off wada pav and chole bhature for a while, get a desk fan.
This is the guy [why am I picking on guys so much? Because they are gross when it comes to hygiene]… anyway, this is the guy who pulls off his shoes and socks, and clips his toenails right there at his desk. [See? I told you they were gross.] You’re having a pleasant day at work so far, only to be interrupted by the high-pitched clipping of human talons, which are most likely flying across the aisle onto your desk and landing like rice grains on your resignation letter to the boss.
Don’t let this nasty man drive you out of a job. Fight back. Bring in one of those air guns they have at sporting events where they shoot T-shirts into the crowd. Start with shooting a handful of worms in his direction and go from there. Build up in size and grossness until you find something that gets his attention. It might take all day, but it will be worth it.
What is it with people ejecting or flicking small bits from their body onto your desk or in your hair? I’m even willing to assign this example to a woman because, gender equality. Now, if Tanya flosses at her desk, I have two words for you: mosquito netting.
However, if Tanya flosses over your shoulder—which has happened to someone I know, and the offender was a guy—actually, now that I think of it, the same two words apply.
Now for the real solution to the above problems
In all due seriousness, let’s consider the fact that many governments don’t have the resources to feed and shelter these mentally ill people; they are left in the cruel harsh world to fend for themselves and they are trying, God bless ‘em, at least they have jobs.
For your own sanity and wellbeing, you must find a way to relieve your stress over the toenail clipper and the coffee sipper and the let-it-ripper. Especially if it’s the same person. Campaign with your boss to move desks. Campaign to work from home. Get your boss to sympathise by campaigning to switch desks with him or her personally. This will put your boss in your shoes for a second, maybe enough so that he will try to help you, after a quick gag reflex because he has his own issues with tooth crevice jam.
So take a deep breath and remember that your annoying coworkers are not as evolved or self-aware as you are. Have some compassion for our less fortunate brethren [and sistren] who can’t help themselves.
Treat your work relationships like a marriage, where you are stuck with these nose-picking, space-invading people for the unforeseeable future. Find ways to cope, whether it’s wearing headphones or purging on Facebook.
You can’t control the behaviour of your coworkers, but you can choose how you respond to it. Writing it down can heal your pain or at least get it off your chest and make you feel better. Why does all this stuff get on your last nerve, anyway? It’s not like you’re so flawless either, you know. Maybe you’re the one with the problem, complaining all the time, did you ever think of that?
This was first published in the April 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
Spot an error in this article? A typo may be? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!