Question: At work we sit in cubicles that don't have doors, so you can hear everything people are saying, even private conversations on the phone. There's this one coworker of mine who's always listening in to what other people are talking about and it's so annoying. Besides smacking her with a stapler, what can I do?
Answer: While whacking her with office supplies may seem like the most effective method of dealing with this nosy coworker, it's likely going to get you in more trouble than you'd like.
That said, you can do either of two things: 1) Confront your coworker and tell her that you don't appreciate her unnecessary — and rude — eavesdropping, or 2) stop discussing your personal life within earshot of everyone in your office.
The first is difficult. I'm not a big fan of confrontation — ask my boyfriend — so I wouldn't know how to tell someone to butt out in a nice way. I don't think I could even send her an e-mail. But it gets the job done, though it might be awkward for awhile.
The second approach, to me, seems like the best solution. I rarely chat on my cell phone at work and I hardly ever make personal calls from my office phone. If I need to talk to my mom or boyfriend, I'll step outside. It's courtesy for the people around me who probably don't want to hear me talk about the color of my phlegm or what I'm making for dinner tonight.
I'm not saying what your coworker is doing is OK. Not by any means. But we can't control what other people will do. We can only control what we do — and that might be the only way to get a handle on this situation. Thanks for the question!
Anyone else got a thought or suggestion?
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