For the past 2+ years, I've been with the same company. They brought me through college, and essentially trained me.
My time with them began with a summer internship. During my time there, the company hired another intern, (we'll call them "Pat") who had (has) a coughing problem. When I say "problem", I mean it's so bad that I timed it once: Pat coughed once every 12 seconds on average.
To be clear, this is not a petite "ahem hem hem", but a hacking, raucous, gasping, wheezing cough. To belabor the point, early on, after a fit of coughing, I would ask Pat if they were alright out of genuine concern for their well-being.
At the end of the summer, despite being offered continued employment through the school year, Pat declined. I however, accepted and was quite relieved to be rid of the incessant coughing.
Fast forward 2 years, to my senior year. Pat has somehow managed to find their way to my senior project's team, bringing the coughing with them. "Ok" I think to myself, "Just another year.. I can wait Pat out".
Or so I thought. Pat applied to, and was hired on at the same company I had devoted my college career to. Not only that, but Pat was placed in the cubicle right next to me.
To compound the coughing issue, Pat's manager holds 20-minute-plus meetings on a seemingly weekly (or more often) basis at Pat's cubicle. These often involve 3 or more people.
To block out the noise, I wear noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs (32dB) all day, everyday. I've noticed other coworkers do the same.
I would rather not have to do so.
There is an employee leaving at the end of the week (12/4). Their cubicle is about 3 cubicles down from where I am, and is comparable in terms of traffic/window-access, but is slightly larger. This cubicle was occupied by someone with more than 10 years at the company.
Given my situation, my question is multifaceted:
- Does requesting a cubicle change mark me as a "problem"?
- If not, is it appropriate to request reassignment to the departing employee's cubicle on these bases?
- If it is appropriate, how long after the employee departs would it be appropriate to ask for their cubicle?