Lily Garcia: Thank you for joining our conversation today. I look forward to answering your career- and workplace-related questions. Let's begin.
Kansas City, Kan.: This seems like such a small issue, but I'm afraid it's one that's going to build and build until I shoot poisoned darts at my co-workers.
For three years, I worked on second shift in a call center. Just recently, I got bumped, involuntarily, to a third shift position. I had to relocate my desk to another area, an area that's situated in the corner of the building. It would be great (I'm closer to the bathroom and break room), except that the corner I'm in moves. Easily. A lot. Brisk wind can cause us to sway a little (and I'm only in a 3-story building!). So does the motion of people walking. Even the smallest of my co-workers can set the floor to vibrate, and the majority of my co-workers are not of the small variety (nor am I), and it doesn't take much to make the floor move. It makes me slightly motion sick, and it's very disorienting when my water starts sloshing in the bottle, and my arms (resting on my desk) move. Here's the specific issue I'm having: there is a gentleman on my shift who jiggles his leg/foot, causing the aforementioned swaying. I understand that people need to walk, and there's not a lot that can be done to prevent the swaying under those circumstances. HOWEVER, I feel like I'm going to snap every time he starts with the jiggling. This isn't something I can really complain about to a supervisor; it would sound too much like, "Mom! Bobby touched me again!" It's unlikely that there's anything she could do anyway (supervisor, not Mom). As I see it, if I can't deal with it, it's left to me to say something to The Jiggler, but how exactly do I approach him? I've considered sighing loudly and saying, "I hate when I accidentally start jiggling my foot! It makes everything on my desk move!" But that strikes me as too passive-aggressive. Additionally, we have a very small group on this shift, and I'm the newcomer, so I don't want to make waves (including the kind that ripple through my water bottle). Any advice? If you suggest dropping it, I will, but I can't guarantee that this frustration won't keep going until I throw my stress ball at his head. I thought it might be best to get an idea now on how to handle this. Thanks!
Lily Garcia: If your work environment truly is as you describe it, then I am surprised that the stress balls are not already flying room all directions. Good grief! The problem with telling your co-worker to stop jiggling his leg is that you have no idea why he does it. It could just be a nervous tick, our it could be a symptom of a health issue over which he has little control. Even if you did get him to stop, you would still be left to deal with the underlying problems of your work area. Today you are aggravated by a jiggler; tomorrow, it will be a "hard walker" or some other type who puts you over the edge. I would suggest to you and your coworkers in the corner work area that you approach management together to request that they address the motion issue. I have a hard time believing that others are not being similarly impacted by this problem.