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Music is piped in.  It is satellite radio so there is no dearth of selection. However, the selection of music is made by what I have coined "an office clique" of untouchables and their choice is hardly what I call neutral.  Instead it is top forty pop, with DJ's, with heavy emphasis on annoying pop music from the 60's on including, on occasion contemporary pop.  And Fridays, are pop country.  The absurd weekly lineup never changes. 

Obviously it does not set well with me nor with the many  of others but there's a resignation to not rocking the boat and complaints go nowhere.  i think it's appropriate music for a garage or warehouse or if you were working at home alone and had those tastes but not for an office with variety of technical, budget-finance, and administrative types....white collar.

ironically the top level managers in the private offices do not have this music.  Since they are of the crowd who purport in stirring statements like - "I would not have you do anything I would not", I am tempted to approach them with...Why don't you try subjecting yourself to this music for a few weeks with no option to turn it down or off and see how you like it?

 I finally dis-armed the speaker above and nearest me and the relative silence had a calming effect near to euphoric.  I expect it to be re-activated any time.

jhbchina's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, what I understand is that you made the unilateral decision to physically disable the speakers nearest to you, without your direct management approval.

That was gutsy and bold, and could lead to serious feedback of an unwanted kind. What if you happened to hurt yourself in the process. Or created a power outage.

In summary, you did not work the system and procedures that the company has in place to escalate you and your peers concerns in a professional manner. It could come back to bite you harder than you expect, with more than the speakers being enabled again.

Think your action through. Wearing ear plugs would have achieved the same result, and there would have been no need for you to physically alter the working environment. It would have sent a more professional message.

JHB  "00"

scm2423's picture

In our buildings the music uses the same public address system that used for emergencies.  If someone were to disable the speaker that would be grounds for termination.  The PA system is considered safety equipment and cannot be touched without prior approval.

When the speaker is fixed I would suggest that you considering bringing something in to create white noise at your workstation.  If that doesn't work then I would escalate it.  That would show that you have tried to tolerate the music, tried to minimize it without affecting others.  With niether of your attempts working you have a stronger ground to request a more appropriate solution.  It also helps your boss go to others, when he can show that you have tried to solve the problem yourself and are requesting help from the rest of the office.

akinsgre's picture

On one hand, I wish people were more willing to disable speakers when they're irritating.. and tear down cube walls.. and otherwise improve their workspace as necessary.  It's a shame that the facilities people have more control over your workspace, than you do.

More pragmatically, try simplynoise.com  it's a streaming whitenoise generator

Tuatara's picture

Erm...couldn't you have just brought in an MP3 player? That way you are not damaging company property and you can listen to what you want without the risk of others not liking your preferences.

Music is a very subjective thing and what you want, may not be what the person in the cubicle (assuming it is a cubicle, but you get my drift) next to you wants. There may be a general consesus amongst some of you that the music is not what you want, but can you then guarantee that you all want the same?

I have my iPod and it is brilliant for listening to what I want without bothering anyone else. Being High C and D, it also means I don't get interrupted for things that are not important as after a few times of seeing me remove one of the earplugs, the other team members soon were able to judge what was worth me removing them and what was not. Everybody wins.

ktnbs's picture

 I recruited a senior techie power person, not to be messed with, in the next cube over as a conspirator  for the speaker disarming and since it is one of dozens of speakers, the announcements  are still audible.

I consider the use of Mp3 or private sound devices to be somewhat un-professional in particular settings....certainly I have one in my drawer but I mostly use it if I am working late.  These can create a disconnecting presence IMO.  

jhbchina's picture

There are reasons that even "senior techie power person" can be messed with. And his power does not "protect" you. He could spill the beans, or worse some one could have witnessed what he did.

IMO your ability to influence a "senior techie power person", takes the case up a notch. What would you ask him to do next?

Time for you to step up and apologize and ask for forgiveness, before something unexpected happens.

I see this as a great lesson.

Any other MT'ers have other comments.

JHB "00"

xcelerator's picture

All previous replies focus on how to block it out or the ethics of your speaker faux pas. What conversation have you had with your manager? You state that complaints go nowhere. Perhaps that is due to the fact it is perceived as a 'complaint', given by one or more 'complainers' . If the music distracts you from doing your job effectively, present that to your boss. Presuming you know your boss's DiSC profile , think about how he / she would be most receptive to your concerns. And don't complain, whine, or state that 'everyone else feels the same way'. Keep it direct and focused on the effect it has on you.

My dark side thoughts ... if your techie accomplice were really useful, he / she would have disabled the satellite radio system. :-)

- Dave

MsManager's picture

I would find the music incredibly distracting, whether it was to my own tastes or someone else's.  I suffer from migraines and having a constant barrage of background noise all day long, without the opportunity to adjust the volume, can be a migraine trigger.  Just using an iPod with earbuds does not deal with the problem as you would have to have the volume sufficiently high to block out the piped in music.  I go to weekend long events held in hotel ballrooms with piped in music and it really bothers me (and I usually end up with a migraine).  In extreme cases, I will use earplugs, but they are very uncomfortable and as I want to be able to hear the people that I am there with when they speak to me, they are not a great solution (they take much longer to put in and out than earbuds).  

Tribble's picture

 I don't get why there is music in the first place in an office where everyone is forced to listen to it. I have to do a lot of writing and it would be distracting and noise just gets on my nerves after awhile plus I wear hearing aids and it would mess with my hearing. I would talk to my manager about having it removed and then HR. I wouldn't disarm or vandalize any company equipment though.