I Work Next to a Loud Talker


I’m a second year at a big firm in NY, and here’s my problem: The guy in the office next to me (who’s a fifth year and really well -regarded) talks really, really loudly.  It’s like he has an audio disorder or something.  Every word out of his mouth is just so LOUD.  Plus, he’s always on the stupid speakerphone!  He’s driving me insane.  I can’t really focus on my own work because I’m too busy focusing on how annoying he is.

Politely, calmly ask him to talk a little softer.  Point out that the walls are paper-thin.  If that doesn’t work and he keeps yelling into the speakerphone like an ass clown, change offices.  If that doesn’t work, quit—or try to get him fired.  Since talking loudly isn’t grounds for termination, you might need to get creative.  Plant some coke in his office… Or maybe a dead hooker.

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Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    October 8, 2008 at 5:30 am

    We had a woman paralegal like that–had a very shrill voice, and was always complaining about everything.  What made it worse was that she would talk about everything at her desk (vacation planning, her sexual prowess (or lack of it) the size of her in-laws’ boobs, and everything else.  We got so sick of it we told our bosses, who didn’t do anything.  So we went to annoyingcoworker.com and started sending out e-mails about her.  That helped a lot, particularly when we threatened to take our case to the Wall Street Journal.

  2. TJW

    October 8, 2008 at 8:27 am

    How does annoyingcoworker.com solve anything?

  3. Al Dickman

    October 8, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Hello, can someone explain why we can’t do anything about a woman who passes so much gas that we can’t stand it?  HR says she’s protected under the ADA; we say this is bunk.

  4. chris

    October 8, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Corporate accounts receiveable, Nina speaking.
    Just a moment…

  5. Pollard

    October 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Man, that’s a tough one.  I experienced the same thing.  I worked next to an douchebag senior associate whose ass, for some unknown reason, everyone kissed.  This buffoon screamed into the phone all effing day long and had the most annoying verbal ticks and nervous laughter you can imagine.  I tried walking over and closing Assclown’s door which had no effect.  Then, I started closing my door with a little authority when Assclown got started with the strange shouting a odd verbal ticks.  Not only did that tactic get no results, I actually got a scolding email from another lawyer who told me that I was being rude by closing my door loudly.  If you’re in one of these bizarro-world firms where social morons rise to the top, just get the hell out.  I stuck around way too long wondering every day if someone had put acid in my coffee and I was just hallucinating the fact that everyone was sucking up to mal-adjusted toolsheds while I, not the coolest guy in the world but no reject either, got continually shit on.  Just get out if you are in a firm like that.

  6. HR Guru

    October 9, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Al, the firm must have received proof from her doctor that an ADA condition existed (i.e. farting syndrome).  You will have to live with it if the firm has said so.  You may be able to get some relief.  To the extent you need fresh air, you may be able to get the firm to reimburse you for an air freshener or some sort of room air machine.  In the worst case, you can purchase a gas mask from the military supply store and put in a reimbursement claim.  That may not look good, tho, with you traipsing around the office looking like an ant-eater.

  7. Paul

    October 9, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Headphones are standard issue on my desk for such loud mouths.

  8. EastCobbCock

    October 12, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    I used to work in a large firm and I had a small machine that generates white noise.  i kept it under my desk and it worked great.  You may want to try that.

  9. Response to No. 6

    October 12, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I would light a candle in your office and in the hallway.  This will burn off the toxic fumes from the gas coming from the bodily flue.

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