Confronting a coworker – aftermath?

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  • This topic has 1 reply, 1 voice, and was last updated 5 years ago by CJ.
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  • #1010091 Reply

      I was just moved into an open concept office and I don’t mind it for the most part except one big problem: I discovered that my colleague chews crunchy pillow ice for 5+ hours a day. She rattles the ice in a large metal Nalgene (sometimes tapping it on our shared desk, causing my computer to shake) and crunching every 30 seconds or so (refilling when needed). I have found that my anxiety has built and built to the point that I think about it even when I’m not at work and dread going into the office in the mornings. I think it’s just because of how long it goes on for. I can put up with people eating meals, chips, apples, and, yes, even ice if it’s brief (an hour at most) BUT not incessantly for multiple hours a day several times a week.

      I tried noise canceling headphones, but I found that wearing them and being completely oblivious to ANY office sounds/discussion made it hard for me to do my job well (phone ringing, boss asking me a question from across the room, etc.). Also it made me feel pretty anti-social.

      I think the longer you have to bear the unpleasant sounds the worse the anxiety/anger towards it gets. It’s like an anaphylaxis reaction – the more times you are exposed to the allergen the more allergic you get to it (fun fact). Anyway – the sound of the ice got to the point where I felt like I was going to have a panic attack – heart rate spiked and I constantly felt hot. I decided to address the issue with her – before having a big freak-out/melt-down (pun intended). She seems kind of taken aback by the request but agreed. Now I feel guilty about being so bothered by her habit and don’t want to get in trouble for being confrontational at work.

      Have any of you all had to do this?
      Did it make your work-life after awkward?
      Did you get in trouble?

      Ps. can who ever invented / thought open concept offices were a good idea be given a major wedgie?! Please! 🙂

      #1010116 Reply

        I’d use one of the following options:

        Have your mouth open in an aghast manner when she’s doing it until she looks at you and acknowledges you have noticed the unacceptable behaviour.

        Have a big sign stating no Ice Crunching.

        Do a pantomime booo when she does it.

        I found the last suggestion to be the most successful.

        #1010963 Reply
        Grumpy Hobit

          I have the same issue, pretty much.
          My office mate likes to bring her drink from breakfast and lunch back to finish. Once done she rattles the ice and eats it. I don’t hear the ‘crunch crunch’ but I do hear the ‘rattle rattle’ every 30 seconds for about two hours (she orders extra ice). It’s starting to drive me insane. I am so glad to find I am not alone.

          I have started putting one ear bud in my ear on that side and turning on easy listening music on youtube. Still sometimes I hear it. In that case I turn on a small desk fan for the white noise.

          I know (or hope) it isn’t malicious on her part. But I’m about to go nuts!

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