Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Working Conditions Inconsiderate Actions Listening

One of the ladies I work with is a sweet, cheerful person, and I really like her. However, she is always singing or humming in a high-pitched voice and it drives me nuts! I don't know how to tactfully ask her to stop. I have told both my supervisor and the office manager that it is annoying, but they seem to feel it is a small matter.

Since your associate's singing is not exactly music to your ears, you should meet with her to talk about it. Going to the source is an important step in this type of situation.

Obviously, you should not criticize her singing, even if it is causing the paint to peel off your walls. Rather, tell her that you need her help. Since she is a sweet and cheerful person, this should not be a great problem. Let her know that her singing is causing specific difficulties in your area, such as interfering with your concentration, interrupting phone calls, or making conversations more difficult. Politely ask her if there is a way she can help you by turning her volume way down.

If she either refuses to do so, or agrees and then makes no adjustment, then you should go back to your supervisor or office manager. Tell these individuals that your co-worker's behavior is interfering with productivity, performance, and, ironically, harmony in the department. By letting the department leaders see or hear the specific costs of your co-worker's behavior, they may start singing an entirely different tune.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!