DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in an office with a lot of young people who are pretty rambunctious and loud. I hate sounding like an old lady, but it is hard for me to get my work done because they are either gossiping with each other, looking at videos online or otherwise talking. I don’t understand how they do it. Some of our work requires focus and quiet in order to get done. I don’t want to turn into one of those old farts who is always complaining about the young ones, but I can’t concentrate. Can I ask them to tone it down or go to another room when they need to talk a lot? We have a room just for that purpose, but they don’t use it. -- Needing Silence, Washington, D.C.
DEAR NEEDING SILENCE: Since the group of young folks do not use the break room, can you use it? It will be hard for you to corral a whole group of noisy people and get them to be still. It’s far more efficient for you to find a way to isolate yourself. In this way, you get to do your work in peace, and they get the freedom to work the way that makes them feel at ease.
By the way, what may seem like fun to you, such as watching videos, could actually be looking at material for work. These days, everything is online. Don’t judge them; find yourself a quiet place to work. And hang out with them sometimes, too. It will teach you how they think and keep you young!