This better be important
August 18, 2005 5:30 PM Subscribe
Anyone have any experience with (or innovative solutions for) dealing with chronic workplace interruptions?
posted by yalestar to grab bag (25 answers total)
Hoo-eee! I work with a guy who —I shit you not— cannot go ten minutes without interrupting somebody, and it's usually me. He comes over to my cubicle and just parks, apparently oblivious to the fact that I might be in the middle of something. I don't know if he's just lonely or what, but it's making me crazy. The twist is that sometimes it's actually work-related and pertinent, and I often benefit from his expertise, but 95% of the time, it's him coming over and saying something like, "Uh, just as an FYI, you'll have trouble if you try to export from Lotus Notes into RTF" and then use that to segue into some other bullshit. It's truly boggling that someone would be either so desperate to talk to somebody, or so clueless to social cues!
I've recently begun forcing myself to not acknowledge him with eye contact during these interruptions, and that helps shorten the unwanted visits slightly, but not the frequency. I've also tried actively wrapping up the exchange with, "Well, good. Alright." and then turning around purposefully to my computer, but again, it's pretty useless. Yesterday, ten seconds into one of his visits, I got up, exited the cubicle and walked to the printer, and the mofo FOLLOWED ME.
I'm a code jockey, and I need to get in the zone in order to be any good, and every time I have to stop for some impertinent anecdote it costs me at least 20 minutes.
So I'm looking for a tactful and diplomatic, yet effective, way to communicate this need to this person. I'm not a terribly confident or assertive person, so whatever I say is going to require me to muster some courage.