The Sassy Scientist – Difficult Coexistence

The Sassy Scientist – Difficult Coexistence

Picture yourself in the office. You are finally cracking on that paper you have been meaning to read for a long time. Here comes that one paragraph upon which the understanding of the whole paper hinges. You are almost grasping it, when the smell of soup hits your nostrils, warning you that it is lunch time for your office mate. You know, the one that slurps when they eat. And obviously they think you should be fully aware of all that goes on in their mouth during lunch. Your focus is gone and so is your hope to understand the aforementioned paper, at least till lunch time is over. It can be hard dealing with loud office mates, and Claudia needs some pointers as she wonders:

How can I tell my office mates to stop breathing/chewing/existing so loudly?

Dear Claudia,

In my experience, there are different ways of dealing with loud office mates:

        • The confrontational: some would say an open and honest relationship is always the best way forward. Confront your office mate. Tell them that it would be nice if they could eat their lunch somewhere else, or swear less loudly at their code. Rumor has it that some may actually listen.
        • The casual: bide your time. Try to soldier through all the chewing and mumbling in the hope that eventually the topic of noises in the office is brought up in conversation with your colleagues. This could happen over lunch, or during a coffee break. Make sure that your loud office mate is present and then casually drop a comment about them and their eating/coughing/mumbling abits. Now they know your opinion about their bodily noises. However, there is a chance that the right occasion will never present itself.
        • The mirror: give them a taste of their own medicine. Start producing exactly the same noises as they are. They are a loud chewer? Be a loud chewer. They talk too much to their codes? Talk to your own code. The ideal outcome is that they start complaining about how loud you are. The correct reaction? A facial expression that says “annoying, innit?”
        • The passive aggressive: for those who wants to avoid any kind of direct confrontation. Every time the cheweing, the mumbling, the loud snorting start, put on your headphones. Feel free to add some light sound effect like a long sigh. The endgame is that your loud office mate will catch on the statistical correlation between their noises and you wearing your headphones. Clearly music is optional: you only want to train your office mate here.
        • The good guy gone evil: my personal favourite. You endure for months, for years! Maybe your office mate even asks you if their noises are annoying you and you are too friendly to tell them the truth. Eventually you snap, and it’s glorious!

Pick the approach that best suits your style. And remember to share the results as a comment to this post: others might benefit from your experience.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: Slurp…slurp…slllluuuuuuuurrrshh….

PS2: Segmentation fault…what the…this stupid code…ah! Now it compiles…what did I change that made it work? Ah! here it is…but what kind of schmuck wrote this code?

PS3: Oh, I am sorry! Am I annoying you?

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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