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Making A Lot Of Noise Over A Little Noise

| Working | January 30, 2014

(I have repeatedly asked my coworker to turn the volume off on his computer or use headphones. I show him how to mute his sounds and where the headphones jack is on his computer. Despite these requests, I come into work every day to find that he has turned the volume on his computer back to max, leaving me and other coworkers hearing a loud ‘ping’ every time he gets an email until he gets in, usually three to four hours after I do. One day, when he finally comes in:)

Me: “[Coworker], can you please mute your computer? The alerts are really disruptive when I’m trying to work.”

Coworker: “You’ve asked me to do this a million times, and I just don’t know why you care. How am I supposed to know when I get an email if the computer doesn’t alert me?”

Me: “Your computer shows an icon when you get an email, and you could always wear headphones so you could hear the alerts if you really need the audio alert. You’ll notice that I, and everyone else in this area, have headphones hooked up to our computers for when we need audio. Really, I think it’s common courtesy to not make your coworkers listen to your computer pings.”

Coworker: “Well, aren’t you all just special. I have important things that come through email, and I can’t just ignore them. I NEED to know when I get an email.”

Me: “Really? Even when you’re not here? We were listening to your email ping for the last three hours while we were here and you weren’t. I am asking for basic courtesy, and, like I said, you could hear the alerts through headphones.”

Coworker: “I am sick of being persecuted. I am going to talk to [Boss].” *storms off*

(Little does Coworker know, I have found the work-around to permanently disable the speakers in our computers. While they can be disabled by anyone, leaving headphones as the only option for audio, they can only be re-engaged by someone with higher system privileges on our network. This can only be done when the computer is unlocked by its user. Unfortunately for him he storms off with his computer unlocked.)

Me: *to other coworkers* “Finally… Keep quiet. I’m going to shut his speakers down.”

Other Coworker: “We’ll keep watch, but don’t you think he’ll figure it out?”

Me: “C’mon… Someone who can’t reliably mute his sound? He will think he has a virus.”

(Coworker stomps back after a few minutes, muttering about how his boss will support his need to do his job. He doesn’t notice the lack of sounds until he has numerous emails piled up.)

Coworker: “F***! What happened to my alerts? I missed all these emails! Ugh, something is wrong with my computer!”

(I sneak over to another coworker’s desk away from him and call the IT shop while he’s calling in. I explain what I’ve done and why, and ask them to play along and NOT enable his sound again. They agree to do so and to bring him headphones. A little while later:)

IT: “Sorry that we can’t figure out why your speakers went on the fritz, but these headphones will give you all your alerts. We’ll keep working to fix it. In the meantime, just wear these and you’ll hear your alerts like always.”

(Funny– they never found a ‘fix,’ and our office is blissfully quiet.)

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