Subtle isn’t working.

My cubicle is at the south west corner of two very busy corridors, and the south east corner is the doorway to a large conference room. So I get a lot of people passing by, but I also get a lot of “encounter at the corner” meetings happening right outside my cube, but worst of all I get all the pre-meeting and post-meeting mini-meetings happening right outside my cube. Worse still, I hung some pictures on the partition wall. So all these bozos stand just outside my cube having loud conversations, but also bouncing off the wall of my cube, causing my pictures to bounce alarmingly.

I’ve tried to be subtle. Thanks to Rone, I have two pictures made at’s sign customization site, one showing a person with ear defenders saying “Shhh! I can’t hear you”, and another showing a person with his fingers in his ears saying “Danger: This is not a conference room.” But this afternoon I was treated to a good 10 minutes of people leaning against my cube wall and bouncing my pictures. I put on Flogging Molly quite loud so I don’t know what they were talking about. I tried pushing back on the wall a few times, but they didn’t get the hint.

I think my next attempt at being subtle will be a “Wet Paint” sign.

5 thoughts on “Subtle isn’t working.”

  1. You could try

    “Shut the fuck up, this isn’t a fucking conference room or your fucking cubicle, and I’m fucking trying to get some fucking work done, so just SHUT THE FUCKING FUCK UP!”

    OK, put some little symbols like &*^%$!. Your employer is sensitive that way.

  2. Wow, that must suck.

    I used to have a perimeter of upside-down drawing pins on my desk to stop idiots sitting on it when they were talking to the guy next to me. I’m sure with a little ingenuity this could be applied to partition walls somehow.

    It’s an obvious-but-probably-stupid suggestion, but why can’t you move cubicles?

  3. Its not the BOFH way, but you could start documenting the amount of your time which is being wasted by the interruptions of these meetings and the punt it up the management chain. Perhaps that will do something as people tend to ignore random signs around the place IME.

    Naturally the BOFH way is to arrange for a cable short so that the partition wall becomes live when people lean against it.

    The other option is to wait until you get the conjunction of a critical problem and annoying people outside of your cubical… and talk to the people yakking away about the amount of money they are costing the company by distrubing you from your work to fix the problem. This probably works better for critical infrastructure systems like file servers or networks whose outage would affect lots of people.

  4. I had the exact problem a few years back. My cube was directly across from a conference room.

    There isn’t much you can do, because chances are it’s not the same group of people every time. But you can do some things to make yourself feel better.

    What I did was wheel my chair out into the hall and sit in on their post-meeting meeting. I put a nice neutral/pleasant expression on my face, and looked attentively at whoever was speaking. I think it took three people before the speaker noticed me and kinda went “uhhh… are we disturbing you?” and herded everyone off.

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