Anna's Office Peeves & Faux Pas

(the faux pas addition wasn’t really necessary, I just like that word)

There’s something about an office setting that makes normal human behavior become amplified into the most annoying crap no one should ever have to put up with. Before I get in to all that, what is it about sitting in a cubicle with walls about an inch above our heads, that makes us think we’re in sound proof panic room?

“Barb, not only can I hear you dress down your husband through gritted teeth on the phone, I can hear you breathing. Pipe down!”  

I remember when the “cubicle effect” first happened to me. I was in my early twenties and I became good friends with someone who shared the cubicle with me. The guys who normally shared our space were on a call, so naturally we thought we had the whole building to ourselves. After diving into lengthy conversations about the flow and intensity of our periods (“You use regulars on your heaviest day?! Ugh, you’re SO lucky!”), shared deeply personal information about our physical insecurities (“My boobs shouldn’t be down to my knees at 23, what kind of future will I have?”), and confirmed that douches are completely unnecessary because our vaginas are “self-cleaning ovens” (“Sure, you’re spring fresh, but at what cost?”) - a sales person, who we naturally didn’t know existed because we couldn’t see her, stood up on the other side of the cubicle and practically hovered over us. We all briefly made awkward three-way eye contact, before she grabbed her briefcase and scuttled away.

We shrugged it off - who cares what this broad thinks? Until it was announced the next day that she was promoted to our manager.

We never spoke of it, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Whether we’re talking like we’re the only ones in the room, or just trying to clear our sinuses, nowhere other than the office can human-beings doing completely normal things be so shockingly annoying. I asked some friends to give me their list and I’ve gathered it here so that you may commiserate.

Thinking Out Loud, To No One

There is a woman, somewhere in the office, who talks out loud to no one. I don’t know what she looks like, I don’t know her name, but she is my nemesis. As I’m minding my own beezwax, type, type, typing away .... “HA!” Hmm. That was weird. I heard a loud laugh, but no one’s laughing with her ...

“Whaaaaaat? That’s crazy!” There she is again.

**Typing noises**

“Hahahahaha!! WOW!” Should I ask her what she’s looking at? No, no - that will just give her what she wants. Ignore it - get her out of her mind.

Back to work ... “It comes from the tax payers, you idiot.”

OK, THAT IS QUITE ENOUGH! Freaking-A woman! I’m trying to type in peace! I didn’t say it, but I thought it so loudly I’m pretty sure she heard it.

Runny Nose

Got a cold at the office? I don’t know what’s worse - your suffering with a stuffy nose or the thoughts your co-workers are having about you.

I know you can’t help blowing your nose every two minutes. It’s runny - what are you supposed to do? It’s not that it’s your fault - its just that, well - OMG, AGAIN!?! FOR THE SWEET LOVE OF EVERYTHING! GO OUTSIDE AND DO THAT NONSENSE!!

Also, if you’re constantly sniffling without blowing your nose, that is equally horrifying to everyone around you. I know, you can’t win. I’m sorry. Oh, and by the way, are you touching things? Seriously, stop touching things in the office!

Burnt Popcorn

Who burnt the popcorn? Who did it? Deb, was it you? Debbie ... DEBBIE!!! Was that you who burnt the popcorn? Well then who was it?!

You always know who burnt the popcorn because they’re the one working away diligently, eyes on the computer, not making a fuss about the putrid burnt popcorn smell.

I know, I know. The office microwave is a piece of crap and you only have a 2 second window between a half-popped bag of popcorn and putting everyone through burnt popcorn hell. But you know what? It’s not about you. It’s about us. We would all rather be home with our families, but now we’re here with our eyes burning because you got greedy. Think about THAT next time, mmkay?

Boisterous Laughter

Oh, sounds like a few of you are having a really good time. Something must REALLY be funny! Ha ha ha ha - STOP LAUGHING! Either include me or go outside, but no more of this "in-between" crap!

Ok, let me be real. It’s me. I have an unbelievably loud laugh. Generally, it’s endearing and makes others laugh, but in the office setting, not to so much. All I can say is that I’m working on it. And yes, it really is that funny.

Any Noise Anyone Else Makes, Really

*Got a frog in your throat? That sucks. But seriously, clear it one more time and I’m leaving an annoyed, vague status update on Facebook.

*You must be REALLY thinking with all that pen tapping!!

*Another personal call? Are things ok at home? Your mom sounds like she’s doing well ... oh she is? Good, now get off the freaking phone!


Well there you have it - a poorly laid out compilation of perfectly normal behavior amplified to horrifyingly annoying behavior at the office. If you can’t relate, then I must check your pulse. Got anything to add to the list? Share it in the comments!

Post was originally published September 13, 2012