Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: Pet peeves

Riding the Metro, I hate sitting near people whose iPods "leak" sound so I hear their loud music or who talk on cell phones about personal problems. I have tried dirty looks but get angry looks back in return. Of course, these are strangers. I wonder what would happen if I told people in the office about something that annoyed me?

According to a Harris survey, gossip is the biggest annoyance at work. Organizing home life in personal phone calls or surfing the Internet during work time are a close second when it comes to biggest pet peeves in the office.

Messiness in communal spaces, such as unwashed dishes in the kitchen sinks, was next on the list, followed by smells like perfume, food or smoke. Next were noises such as speaker phones, loud talking and loud phone ring tones.

These offenses are exacerbated by open office spaces -- cubes without doors -- where smells and sounds are more apparent.

Use of electronic devices in meetings and misuse of e-mail, especially “reply all” and blind copying of emails (bcc) rounded out the list of seven pet peeves.

Despite the annoyance, few people will try to stop an offense. Fewer than half of the survey respondents said they would say something directly to a person about being too loud. Only a third would raise any concerns about gossiping. Even fewer would address a person directly about misuse of e-mail.

What is your pet peeve at work? What do you do about it? Post a comment (registration required) or send an e-mail to (subject: Pet peeves) and we will post it for you.

Posted by Judith Welles on Jan 08, 2008 at 12:13 PM


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