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There is a co-worker who has this annoying ringtone of "In the end - Linkin park" and gets about 10 to 15 calls every day. Every time his phone rings I get really annoyed. I feel like I should tell him to keep his phone on vibrate mode but he is new and employed via a third party recruiter. Should I tell him his song or whatever he has set it is disturbing and annoying?

I am not sure how should I ask him since he is very new and other people don't seem to have any issues with it so far and he is employee of a third party working at our office for a project. I am not sure how long he is going to be here.

Not a dupe of the question as Mr. mcknz have suggested. Since this is about annoying ringtone and not loud person.

  • 4
    How do others do it? Do they have their phone on vibrate, or did they just pick a less annoying ringtone? – nvoigt Apr 19 at 7:21
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    I know a ringtone might be annoying, but in the end, does it even matter? – MikeTheLiar Apr 19 at 14:47
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    Yeah, I tried so hard and got so far but in the end couldn't get over it. – noob Apr 19 at 14:49
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    Possible duplicate of What can I do about a very loud coworker? – mcknz Apr 21 at 18:19
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    @mcknz the coworker isnt loud it just have annoying ringtone. Two different questions -_- – noob Apr 22 at 3:50
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Should I tell him his song or whatever he has set it is disturbing and annoying?

Yes, you should.

No need to mention anything specific on the choice of song - just mention that the volume of the ringtone is affecting your concentration at work. Ask him gently to use the phone in a way that does not create distraction and annoyance to other co-workers.

  • I am not sure how should I ask him since he is very new[...]

    So help him learn the workplace culture by guiding him to the right path.

  • and other people don't seem to have any issues with it so far [...]

    You got a problem, you speak up, don't expect others to do your job for you.

  • and he is employee of a third party working at our office for a project.

    Non-issue.

  • I am not sure how long he is going to be here.

    Also a non-issue.

Think of it this way, by letting them know what is right / expected of them, you're setting them off in a right path at the beginning of their career. This will help them in future - so you're being and doing good to them.

  • In addition: There is a good chance, that it will be no big deal for him to use vibrate mode or just change the ring tone. I would expect more, that he will be overly sorry for disturbing you and try to avoid annoying you in the future more than needed, so you may phrase it carefully not to scare him that you're about to complain to his boss or similar. – allo Apr 19 at 21:46
33

Ask friendly and non-confrontational.

"Hey, would you mind setting your phone on silent in the office? We all do this so we don't distract other people when we get a call. Thanks much, I appreciate it. "

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    We all don't do this. Some people do not keep their phone on silent. That's the issue so I would have to explicitly ask him to. – noob Apr 19 at 13:54
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    Maybe focus on the fact that he "gets about 10 to 15 calls every day" then (unless that's also common) – A N Apr 19 at 20:50
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    How did you figure that everyone keeps their phone on silent. Is this a norm where you work? OP never mentions anything like that. – pipe Apr 19 at 23:33
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    @pipe If they don't, they should – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 20 at 1:34
  • All places I've worked at for the past 5 years have had a silent (ahem) understanding that everyone keeps their phones on vibrate/mute in the office. But since OP commented here that their office does have people that don't mute their phones, then OP will just have to grit his teeth, as the ringtone is nothing offensive. If it was offensive, then he could have leverage, but otherwise none except for asking politely and hoping for the best. – Juha Untinen Apr 20 at 9:43
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Put the burden on yourself and act as though they're doing you a favor. (At the end of the day, they are. It's not a difficult favor, and one that you'd expect people to be happy to perform, but it's still a favor.)

Hey, I'm sorry but I get easily distracted and irritated at musical ringtones. I'm sorry, but would it be too much trouble for you to swap to a plainer ringtone? I'd be doing me a big favor! Thanks!

This works because it will not put them on the defensive by implying they're doing something wrong, and asking nicely is both easier for you to do, and more likely to get a positive reaction.

EDIT: For clarity, because of comments this generated - when solving interpersonal conflicts:

  1. Accept that it doesn't matter whose right or not, especially when there's no third party arbitrator. They think they're justified. You think you're justified. Nothing will ever change that.

  2. Assume noble intent. Most of the time, most people are trying their best to live their own life as politely and conflict-free as possible. Most people are also oblivious jackasses. (This includes you, the reader, and me, the author) If you just make people away that they're failing in their own pursuit of politeness, they will adjust their behavior accordingly, usually.

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    by implying they're doing something wrong..since when annoying people at workplace s right? – Sourav Ghosh Apr 19 at 15:35
  • Also, a high volume ringtone of a moving train or noisy street will be welcoming? I think not. – Sourav Ghosh Apr 19 at 15:36
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    @SouravGhosh your feelings aside, OP has repeatedly clarified that other people at the same office do not keep their phones on silent/vibrate. For some reason OP is only bothered by this one colleague's phone. This is assuredly not the colleague's problem, it is OP's. – Alex M Apr 19 at 16:41
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    No, it's not a favour. It's basic, decent, common courtesy. Cut out the "sorries" and stand up for yourself. – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 20 at 1:34
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    @AlexM No, it is the colleague's problem. They are the ones causing the annoyance, and with 15 calls a day they surely must know this. – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 20 at 1:35
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Since we already have some excellent practical answers here (all +1'd)...

[The following is satire]

  • When they're not looking change their ring tone to 'It's a Barbie World', or something equally annoying and opposite of Linkin Park.
  • Relocate their phone to one of the restrooms. If that doens't have the desired effect try the break room freezer.
  • Say out loud 'You know, any code written while listening to Linkin Park must look like it was written by a cheetah with ADHD on Meth'
  • You and your buddies get ringtones of Barney (The Big Purple Dinosaur), and play them all at once whenever his ringtone goes off.
  • The next time your company's Fantasy {insert favorite sport here} comes around, participate and name your team 'Linkin Park {insert offensive term(s) here}'.
  • The next time you're at your desk and on a conference call put it on speakerphone. LOUD. Even better if multiple people in the same area are on the same call. Trust me on this one.

Enjoy.

  • Not sure why this was downvoted. Jim mentioned this is satire. – noob Apr 23 at 16:43
  • Indeed. I've noticed a trend on SO where no matter what kind of answer I provide, everything from rock star to simple answer to humor, some moron will always downvote it, complain about it in comments, or both. – Jim Horn Apr 23 at 17:03
  • Nevermind it's just fake internet points. – noob Apr 23 at 17:06
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    @noob When my workmate was out for the afternoon and their mobile rang I put it on silence, and when he came back, I just said to him "Your darn mobile did not stop ringing, and it looked like it was waking up the dead" ;-P True story. – Rui F Ribeiro May 1 at 7:57
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If you don't want to single out this particular co-worker due to his particular ring-tone, address the issue in general form on the team level. You can, for instance, suggest to disallow any (sound-based) ring-tones for (private) phones in general in the office to improve the general work atmosphere with respect to distraction and noise level. In all the offices I've worked so far that rule was already in place explicitly or implicitly. This way, your colleague will not feel singled out for his particular ring-tone and you have a commonly agreed-upon rule you can point out to anyone using distracting ring-tones in the future.

Whether to restrict such a rule to private or also company phones will have to depend on how noisy your office in general is, how well one can rely on vibration alarms and how reachable everyone needs to be.

protected by Monica Cellio Apr 21 at 3:26

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