Posted by: unlikelygrad | September 21, 2010

I don’t know what the polite response is

One of my current officemates is married to a man who’s jobless (though he’s currently applying to grad school at MyU). Since he currently has nothing better to do with his time, he spends it all in my office. Sometimes he’s there chattering with his wife (in Chinese, no less) but most of the time he’s there by himself. All day, from about 9 am to past 9:30 pm. (I rarely stay later than this so I have no idea when he leaves.)

I am trying to write up a fellowship proposal right now, and I am having trouble concentrating when he’s around. He isn’t usually very loud–usually he’s surfing the web, watching videos (with headphones) on his wife’s laptop, or working through his English lessons-on-CD. But he makes just enough noise (laughing, muttering to himself, etc.), just frequently enough, to break my concentration.

Am I being overly sensitive? I had even more annoying officemates before, and I dealt with them. I think the thing that really gets to me this time is that he doesn’t belong here.

Don’t get me wrong–my husband has visited my office before. When he came for a visit in February, he came down to use my computer for an hour or so since he didn’t have internet access back at the house. He’s dropped in to pick things up for me or to print stuff out (when our printer wasn’t working). I imagine that later this year, when I give my seminar, my husband and older sons will be with me in the lecture hall upstairs as I give my seminar, but my younger sons will be here in my office, playing games on my computer for one hour. I don’t think one’s family should be excluded from one’s office on any account.

On the other hand, I don’t believe this grants me the right to let my family use my office all day, every day. Am I wrong? And, if not, what is the polite way to tell my officemate that this is just unacceptable?

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Responses

  1. (I’m a GradCafe’er from a few years back as well!)

    I don’t have much to offer in the way of advice, just sympathy. We have a huge group office. It is a disaster. I think the fact that he is constantly there IS a problem. Unfortunately for you, it sounds like he actually is trying to be quiet, and he’s just not succeeding. The only way to get him out of there is probably to bring it up with your office mate and hope it doesn’t end too terribly awkwardly. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this situation resolves itself!


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