<p>I just got a job on campus and today was my third day of work. My coworker, Squilliam*, is a nice guy but tends to drone on about his boring life. Today he spoke for 7 mins 16 secs straight about the nutritional content in Wrigley's gum vs Big Red (I timed him on my phone) and if I try to insert a comment he talks over it. Squilliam and I sit side by side at an isolated desk. We work in a residence hall and over the summer it's nearly empty, so there's barely any work to do - other than the occasional photocopy or fax, we spend 6 hours/day sitting there not doing much (in 3 weeks there will be more work once residents move in).</p>
<p>He tends to repeat the same things over and over (not sure if he realizes it) and it takes him forever to make a simple point. It's hard for me to get a comment in but when I do, he just changes the subject back to him.</p>
<p>To be clear, he is a perfectly nice guy. I would hate for him to think I'm rude. He is just terribly stale and drones about boring things in his monotone voice and it makes me sleepy at work. Tomorrow I think I'll bring a book, but I can't read at work all day obviously. Any tips for dealing with people like this?</p>
<p>*Squilliam is not his real name. Changed it in case he reads CC.</p>
<p>I would advise making it clear that you are not interested in the small-talk. Just do not exhibit anything that could be interpreted as a sign of interest, and throw out some signals that indicate he is being awkward. Humans are facile creatures and thus easily manipulable.</p>
<p>I haven't shown any interest, but I've been polite. He is awkward and not good at picking up on social cues. He interacts similarly with our supervisor. We literally have like no work to do and must sit together 30 hours a week.
Typically he asks a question, I briefly answer, and then he drones on and on and one with his own answer. This is an example:</p>
<p>Him: How many library books have you taken out at once?
Me: hmm, don't know, maybe 3?
Him: Well when I was an undergrad at Albany we were limited to 200 at a time, I believe. Yes, it was 200, not that anyone ever took out that many at once. And you could only borrow them for 2 months at a time. Well unless you were a faculty member, meaning professor, TA or research assistant. My last 3 semesters there I was an undergraduate research assistant, you know. For Professor ___ in the Politics department. I had to do quite a bit of reading. I generally took out 12 books per week! For my undergraduate research thesis. I was a research assistant, see. In the Politics department.
Him: Of course we were limited to only 2 months at a time. It's different here, isn't it? There's a 4 month book policy. But maybe that's only for graduate students. But yes, back in Albany we had a 2 month policy. Unless someone recalled a book from you! In that case you had to return it within a week. That was the worst, when someone recalled it from you. Well I was an Undergrad Research Assistant my last 3 semesters, then I got special privileges. I could loan books for the whole semester if I wanted. Actually I got a special card for that...</p>
<p>And he kept droning on about his college's library loan policy vs our college's loan policy forever! :(</p>
<p>Sounds better than my work situation. I work at a food place off campus, and a few of my co-workers do hardly any work, and text on their phones right in front of customers, ignoring them. Often I end up helping customers with little to no help from the others scheduled on my shift, causing me to become irritated that I'm working for 2-3 people's paychecks and only getting one.</p>
<p>I'd take long pointless, repeated stories any day so long as the guy did the work he was there to do.</p>
<p>One word responses, or no response. But I suppose not talking to him would be more boring than talking to him, and I doubt anything you do will make him more interesting. Of all the problems to have with a co worker, that isn't bad at all. It's not like they text you in the morning while you are sleeping to ask you work related questions, or make lewd comments or whatnot.</p>