Just Ask Robin: What Kind of Workplace Behaviour By Co-workers Is Too Weird to Tolerate?

Just Ask Robin-01-Small.pngDear Robin:   I have a co-worker who sits in the next cubicle to mine whose habits and general weird behaviour drive me absolutely batty. He chews gum loudly and taps his teeth with a pencil.

I’ve discussed his habits with other employees and we all agree that they are distracting and disgusting and that he should be asked to stop for the good of everyone around him. What would be the best way to ask him to stop?   Stacey

Answer:  Really, Stacey? He chews gum and taps his teeth? And, as his next-door cube-neighbour, you find this beyond your tolerance to bear? And you’ve also taken the time to discuss what you consider as quirky and annoying behaviour with other employees, your mutual colleagues, and conspired to the point where they’ve agreed that he is a social outlier and, as such, he should be centred out and censored for what your group has decided is unacceptable.  How very progressive and tolerant of you all.

Have you ever considered that perhaps he gets some small pleasure out of chewing gum?  Have you ever considered that perhaps he taps his teeth with a pencil because it’s a way to help him concentrate when he’s tackling a challenging work problem and he does these things unconsciously to distract himself from being forced by proximity to listen to or observe your little personal quirks and habits, whatever they may be?

Unless I had the opportunity to measure the ambient noise-level of your cube-neighbour’s gum chewing and tooth-tapping with a decibel metre, I wouldn’t presume to give you advice on solving what sounds to me (on the face of it) like an insignificant problem in a much larger and longer list of things that are wrong with the world.

Perhaps what he is doing is excessively loud; perhaps it is just that you consider it so. What I will say is this: tolerance is a word that many people feel free in demanding from others but often fall short of practicing themselves. I would begin with some self-examination.   Puck

Teenage Tibetan Geek Discovers Bolivian Coffee Crop Failure Linked To Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

Jupiter Great Red Spot-FNT-Small.pngLHASA – A teenage computer enthusiast, Takoda Passang, who lives on Gurla Mandhata with his family, has made a startling discovery that has the world’s astronomy experts all agog. The 15-year-old high-school student has linked the 1979 failure of the Bolivian coffee crop to a particular nasty bit of turbulence in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot almost forty years ago.

On Earth, Coffee plants generally grow in what has been termed the bean belt, a relatively narrow region on the globe between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

After the flyby of Jupiter by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1979, the first detailed images transmitted to Earth from 9.2 million kilometres above the huge gas planet, showed the Great Red Spot to closely resemble a giant coffee bean.

Tibet, sometimes called “Earth’s roof” happens to be perfectly aligned at an angle of 22° with the persistent high pressure anticyclonic storm on Jupiter that is thought to have existed for 350 years.

The images from Voyager 1 show that the equators of Earth and Jupiter were in perfect alignment during the 1979 coffee-growing season.

Theories in the scientific community differ as how a Tibetan high-school student might have solved a complex mystery that has puzzled agricultural researchers around the world for more than thirty years. That is: Why did the coffee crop in Bolivia uniformly fail to mature in 1979, coincident with the Voyager 1 flyby of Jupiter?

But Takoda Passang believes that it was simply a matter of his being in the right place at the right time and being able to draw on the awesome power of current technology.

“It was simple, really,” he said modestly. “I was able to retroactively sense a subtle change in the high pressure zone of the big red area south of Jupiter’s equator with an app on my smartphone. Anyone could have done it.”   Source: FNT Staff  

Photo credit: Original images at: WikipediaCBS News