Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Watch your ways at work
Yuki Noguchi

SAY someone in the next cubicle routinely hawks up phlegm and spits it ceremoniously into the wastebasket. Or hacks a raspy cough, then sneezes with mouth uncovered. Or clips toenails.

Gag. Sometimes you're forced to say to yourself: "If he/she does that one more time, I may get violent."

At what point is being gross unacceptable? What do you do when change is not within your control?

A combination of management and self-management helps, says Miriam Bamberger, a coach on workplace issues:

  • Determine what is bothering you and whether it is controllable. Think about realistic remedies, and choose a course of action.

  • Peer-to-peer issues are often better handled by a manager, who might mediate or relocate the parties.

  • If that fails, self-manage. Ask yourself if you have similar annoying habits that's one way to gin up sympathy for other people.

Instead of telling yourself how annoyed you are, try to focus on the task before you. "Put a new mental tape in," Bamberger recommends.

LA Times-Washington Post