My current office layout is totally open concept – no cubes or privacy, just desks sitting next to each other. Normally this doesn’t bother me, I can ignore just about anything anymore. Most people are considerate, keeping noise to a minimum. Headphones are prevalent, listening to your own tunes is more appealing than the general office noises, such as coughing, keys clicking, phones ringing, etc.

We recently added a new staffer, a programmer. This young man eagerly embraced the headphone culture and brought in a nice pair of headphones. He is a huge fan of thrash metal music. I know this because he plays it loud enough for me to hear it on the other side of the building, over my own headphones. Does anyone need to listen to music that loud? What’s the point?

The question is, how do I handle this? He’s in a different department and his supervisor is well aware of the situation. The people who sit closest to him have repeatedly asked him to turn the music down. What’s the proper office etiquette in this situation? The thing is, I don’t want to be subjected to thrash metal music, it’s not my groove.

Or, am I just getting old and should let things like this go? I’m genuinely concerned for his hearing, as well as the overall office vibe. Ideas? Suggestions? Is encasing his headphones in jello going too far?

Photo “Jello Stapler” via Emily

UPDATE: He’s now decided that every phone call he takes must be done on speakerphone. WHY? It’s bad enough I have to listen to his music, but now I have to listen to his doctor share his medical information. Boundaries are there for a reason!