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How to Deal with a Difficult Cubicle Mate

Like a bad roommate, a bad cube mate can make your life miserable. But there are ways to deal with the jerk next door.


  • Step 1: Block them out Block out a noisy cubicle mate's personal phone conversation, annoying gum snapping, or obnoxious eating sounds with earplugs or earphones for listening to soothing music.
  • Step 2: Take it outside Take your work to a meeting room whenever possible, or read in the cafeteria or lounge to escape from a cubicle mate's annoying habits or excessive noise.
  • TIP: If your manager asks why you're not at your desk, simply say it's too noisy.
  • Step 3: Focus on yourself Focus on yourself and your own work if you find yourself obsessing over how much your cube mate spends surfing the web, making personal calls, or other frustratingly inappropriate behavior.
  • Step 4: Bring it up with them Bring up issues with your cube mate as politely and tactfully as possible. Give them a chance to respond. Chances are, they know exactly what they're doing. But it's always good to clear the air.
  • Step 5: Bring it up with the boss Bring it up with the boss at an appropriate time if the mate is still driving you crazy. Avoid looking like a petty whiner by providing examples of how their behavior is negatively affecting your productivity.
  • FACT: One survey found that half of advertising and marketing executives said they were victims of backstabbing colleagues, but only 10 percent said the best response was to contact management.

You Will Need

  • Earplugs or earphones
  • Room
  • Inner focus
  • Talk with your cube mate
  • Talk with your boss

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