Cubicle courtesy needed!

I am going crazy over the behavior of a co-worker. He puts his feet on the wall between our work spaces and taps them, making noise and causing the divider to almost vibrate, talks loudly on the phone, throws paper airplanes over the wall into my workspace when he’s on the phone, hums when he’s not on the phone (which my clients can hear when I am on the phone) and eats incessantly, talking with food in his mouth (which I can hear when he is talking to clients). I’d rather not quit my job, but I don’t see any other way to get away from him. Is there anything I can do?

 You can start by standing up, going around the wall to his space, and asking him if he has a few minutes to talk. You then tell him how his behaviors are making it difficult for you to talk to your clients, how his tapping, eating noisily and talking loudly interfere with your productivity, and how your clients are questioning the professionalism of your organization because of his interference. You ask him if he can stop the things that are making you the most crazy, and that if he can’t, you have no choice but to speak to management. If he is unresponsive, then you go to your supervisor and explain the situation, asking for a resolution. You will have given your co-worker fair warning so he won’t be blindsided if he is called in to discuss these issues.

 I have been invited to an engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelorette party for my cousin, and will be invited to the wedding. Does this require four gifts?

No, gifts are not taken to an engagement party unless it is a very small, family party when most family members would give a gift. Otherwise, assuming a larger party, if you want to give an engagement gift, which is not at all obligatory, you would give it at another time. A gift is essential for a bridal shower, but is not taken to a bachelorette party. A wedding gift is always sent or given.

 Is it okay, when clearing the table, to stack plates to carry them to the kitchen?

No, You never stack used plates, for two reasons. First, there often is still food on some plates, and flatware, so stacked plates aren’t level and can tip, wobble or slide off and break. Second, good china often must be hand washed, so when you put the bottom of a plate on a plate that has food residue on it, more laborious hand-washing has to be done to make sure the bottom of the plate is as clean as the top. This does require more trips from the dining room to the kitchen, with only one plate in each hand, but it is the correct way to clear. Also, never “help” a server in a restaurant by stacking plates on your table.

 Questions for Catherine? Send them to [email protected]

 

 

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