Dear CV – How do I stop multimodal coworker stalking?

Dear CV,
How do you juggle IM, email calls and a visit on foot ALL from the same colleague? HELP!

Dear 30s

Ah a classic case coworkers stalking you electronically.  Let me guess:

A colleague calling you and getting your voicemail and says: Hi 30s, I emailed and IM’d you, did you get my message? Oh, no? OK I’ll just come by your desk. Thanks I’ll see you in a few minutes.
Then upon arriving: Did you get my messages?

You: Umm no I’m busy, haven’t looked at email.

Coworker: Oh, OK I’ll just wait.

You: You know I’m pretty busy I’ll get back…

Coworker (interrupts): Well I really need it now (tilts head, hands on hips, angry look).

Is that pretty much on? Seen it countless times. George does this often.

Tough dilemma. Think you have two choices.

1) Tell the CW to get the hell out of your cube and to leave you alone as the CW isn’t your boss.
Not necessarily a bad choice, although if you do it how I probably would, odds are HR will be paying you a visit. Is it worth it? Depends on a lot of factors-your boss’ attitude, the CWs power, etc. only you know your specifics.
If it’s George…totally worth it as HR just rolls their eyes.


2) Tell the CW, “You know what I have a very important deadline that my boss gave me. And, a ton of other priorities that are already set. Once they’re done I’ll gladly see how I can help you.”

They’ll no doubt object. At which point you give them the old “talk to the hand” and tell them sternly, yet politely, that your boss sets the priorities not them.

While they may still be pissy, the reality is you have something to stand on here. Your boss can’t object as you are supporting him/her. And, the CW can’t go running off to HR saying you aren’t a team player, because you are 1) supporting the boss first and 2) said you’d get to the CW’s thing when hell freezes over eventually.

I’ve gone with both strategies, but which I choose depends on the situation.
However, the beauty is which both, the odds are great that whatever it was they needed will be resolved by the time it were to come back to you!

P.S. A word of caution. If the Stalking Coworker is your boss…skip #1 and 2 above. In that case, do whatever it is their asking for, but suggest that when he/she has something hot, to just come by and tell you. If you or they are not in the office a call to your cell is the next best thing. But, suggest that your email and text are overloaded so it may get lost in the electronic piles.

Bossman/lady trumps all, but you can still learn how to manage them!

Got a burning question? Need some advice? Never fear…CV is here! Shoot it over to me at


About CubicleViews

Observations, thoughts & random bitching about cube life, food, beer, wine, whiskey and sometimes politics. Living the dream in a 6×8 doorless polyester walled cell.
This entry was posted in Dear CV and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Dear CV – How do I stop multimodal coworker stalking?

  1. 30s Girl says:

    Great response! I like your blogging style. You offer an unrealistic solution (unless you’re looking to get axed) which keeps the reader amused and then you give a more reasonable solution, all the while remaining witty. I will continue to ask you questions regarding nuisances in the workplace. Thanks CV!

  2. Teresa Cleveland Wendel says:

    never worked in a cubicle. sounds like fun.

  3. 30s Girl says:

    Dear CV,

    I’m in another dilemma! A colleague an I are traveling today. We are meting with a board of directors in the morning. My colleague dresses a bit risqué at the office. I have been assigned the unpleasant task of making sure she dresses appropriately? Help!

    30s Girl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s