Great "do not disturb" status message

An unidentified person -- possibly an art student, based on the title -- has come up with a pretty seriously worded note to other people in the computer lab in order to remain uninterrupted while working on a deadline.

Art School gets busy sometimes (via Geeks Are Sexy)


  1. This Guy’s Future: A Play in One Act

    *tap tap tap*
    “Dude, that is HILARIOUS.”
    “…Thank you.”
    “No, seriously. The dolphin thing? I died. How’d you come up with that?”
    *dude puts headphones back on*
    *a crowd gathers*
    *tap tap tap*

    1. Except that upon the next tap tap tap, he produces a 9mm pistol and shoots the interrupter dead.

        1. That would be the “Stand your ground” law we’ve got. It’s really good for Starbucks lines too. And also in mosh pits.

    2. I was going to tell him the project was cancelled but he didn’t want me to disturb him.

      1. Definitely either design or illustration. But then it puzzles me why he would need the sign at all.

        Maybe he has to share the lab with other departments. That’s the only explanation.

  2. Dolphin sleep is cooler than you might think. They can sleep one hemisphere at a time, so their left hemisphere will be asleep but their right hemisphere will be swimming, and then vice versa in shifts.

          1. We know that hobbits are obsessed with mushrooms. Eru only knows what Elrond puts in Miruvor.

  3. Pretty standard conversation in the hospital.
    “May I ask you something?”
    “Is anyone going to die if I say no?”

  4. So happy that I’m self employed these days. Too many people at my last place of employment thought ‘busily working on computer while wearing headphones’ was the signal that I wanted to chat.

    1.  I will have my headphones on, while eating, and a work experience guy will come up and start asking me random questions. I’ve had to be really harsh sometimes to get him to learn to leave me alone when I’m doing that.

  5. Alternately, the student could get his/her own computer and work at home, undisturbed.

    It’s what got me to fork over two months salary for a Apple ][ clone (I was poor, man, and couldn’t afford the real deal) and a modem, and to plow through a 3,200 page termcap manual so I could dial in to the CDC Cyber at Concordia U. 

    1. A minimal mac mini, a cintiq and a copy of illustrator (CS 6 design standard student license)  would be … $600 + $2300 + $450 = $3350 , plus mouse and keyboard. Probably doable, but not cheap. I can understand coming to school and taking a few extra measures instead. Besides, we don’t know how often this is a problem for him. :)

      1. Not often enough to have the sign laminated or to sew velcro tabs on the back of all of his t-shirts.

  6. It is a funny note, but this kind of preciousness doesn’t fly in an office environment. Yes, dude. I get it. You’re busy. You have a job to do. We’re ALL busy and we ALL have jobs to do. Part of my job may be to obtain information from you, and in order to do that I have to communicate with you. If working as part of a team is really such a huge deal for you, maybe some kind of self-employment is in order.

    1.  It’s a fair point, but I’ve seen even more precious things in offices I’ve worked at.  In one, a stressed employee walled off the door to her cube with cardboard boxes, and her manager commented about how she knew she had to get things done.  Granted, I suspect that she spent more time fiddling with the box-wall than she would have spent talking to the occasional coworker…

      1. Yes, but the box wall happened at one time in a controlled manner.  In some jobs – those where “flow” is important – this really matters.  (Any programmer can tell you that a 2-minute interruption costs you some amount of time between 2 and 45 minutes, depending on when you were interrupted.  Which is why cubicle farms are bad for programmers.)

    2. So send an email, and the person can check it when they’re ready to do communication tasks.  
      If you need to know your information RIGHT NOW without having made prior arrangements you didn’t plan appropriately.

      1. That displays an almost total lack of knowledge about the reality of software development. Sometimes urgent situations arise and answers are needed right away. And some people are as good at avoiding emails as they are at avoiding face-to-face communication. 

        Like I said, if you can’t work in a team, find a job that suits you. Your time is not more important than everybody else’s time.

        1.  I’m the senior of two IT guys for a large High School, often my time Is more important than his, or of the people who come in to ask questions. When I’m solving problems that affect the entire site (1300+ students, 120+ staff) and then someone comes in saying that one particular printer is offline, is my time more important, or theirs? Or my junior co-worker, who can handle that problem while I solve the bigger one?

          tl;dnr: I believe your premise is incorrect

          1. Sure, that might be true. So your junior colleague doesn’t have the same expectation to the right to work uninterrupted as you do. So not everybody has this right. And who gets to decide who has the right? 

          2.  Me, my boss the ICT HoD, his boss the Deputy Principal and his boss the School Principal. I have more training, more experience, more years on the job, and a higher IQ. So when I’m buried in a problem, the other people in the workshop take care of the more day to day tasks, in this situation it is an obvious better use of my time and skills compared to resetting passwords or explaining how to turn a laptop’s wireless on. This isn’t rocket science or programming in Silicon Valley, this is client-facing technical support, some problems really are bigger than others.

          3. to ocker3: Yup. Your boss gets to decide how tasks are allocated and then presumably communicates the information through a more efficient and less passive-aggressive medium. So you and your giant IQ can cogitate uninterrupted while your slavey is run off his feet, your clients know who to go to to get a polite and speedy response, and everybody’s happy.

    3.  Oh, yes, because my coworkers never come talk to me about non-pressing matters when I’m seriously crunched for time.

      This sign is a more wordy version of how I intend to still be able to get things done when they move us to an “open” floorplan so we can “communicate more effectively.”  I have a difficult time getting focused so once I am, it’s not to be squandered by a 20 minute conversation with my boss about all the things I have to do in the next month.  I’ve gotten good at asking “Can this wait?” and if the answer is yes telling the person I’ll come find them in an hour, a few hours or tomorrow.  Sometimes, it’ll be next week.  If the answer is no, well then.  I guess I’m dropping everything and working on this thing you’ve just dumped on my desk.  And that does happen, but it means that I’m going to spend an hour later trying to figure out where I was on what I was working on before.

      I do my best work when either no one else is in the office or no one else knows that I’m in the office.  Sadly, option 2 is going away soon.

      1. If you have problems focusing, that’s not really your coworkers’ a) fault, and b) problem. 

        I just hate the assumption that this guy’s time is so much more important than everybody else’s that his need to work undisturbed automatically trumps everybody else’s need to have issues/concerns/questions addressed. It’s arrogant.

        1.  1. He’s a student, working on his thesis, according to his classmate in the Reddit thread this came from.

          2. Why, in an office environment, would other people’s time *necessarily* be more important than his time? Sometimes people feel an urgency to get a question answered that isn’t warranted. I’m not sure why this offends you – it’s just as arrogant to assume your questions always trump whatever your coworkers have going on. A sign like this might stop a few unnecessary questions in a workplace but not actual urgent ones. He’s being proactive in making himself productive.

          1. Read the first comment, where I say that it wouldn’t fly “in an office environment”, thus indicating my awareness that this is, in fact not actually an office enviroment. Or don’t, I don’t care.

          2. But this is your comment that Delaney Dave was responding to:

            I just hate the assumption that this guy’s time is so much more important than everybody else’s that his need to work undisturbed automatically trumps everybody else’s need to have issues/concerns/questions addressed.

          3. I can see how it might be unclear if you’re just reading the end of the thread, but “this guy” = “the guy in an office environment wearing this sign or a reasonable facsimile thereof”.

        2. And maybe he’s finally curing cancer through a good 8-hour stretch of uninterrupted cartooning. Without further evidence it’s hard to say.

          Oh, and if I’m interrupted, the fault is in the interrupter – unless they’re asking me about something I should have told them before. It might still be the right thing to do, sure – but it’s not my fault if someone else makes me drop what I’m doing.

          Besides, it’s in the best interest of us both to interrupt each other as little as possible: Productivity is seriously damaged by it. (It apparently takes 10-15 minutes to get back to producing code after a 1-minute interruption, and that’s not limited to bad programmers.)

          1. Like I said above, I know that this is just a student, but everyone else is drawing parallels with office environments (generally software dev by the looks of it), so my comments are predicated on that.

            Sure, I’ll leave you alone a) if you reply to emails in a time-appropriate fashion; and b) unless it’s urgent or important, bearing in mind that what I consider urgent or important you may not agree with, but as a “big picture guy” (as someone put it below) I have a better idea of project priorities than you.

          2.  Fair enough. This kind of protectiveness is mostly aimed at co-workers and not bosses, anyway.

  7. It’s not about my time being more important than yours. It’s about you knocking down the house of cards I spent four hours building for you. It’s about you coming into the cockpit while I’m landing the plane and both of us dying in a fiery crash. Bad things happen that affect you, but you don’t understand that, because you’re a big-picture guy and you can’t be bothered with the details.

    I wonder why that word isn’t spelled “firey.” It should be.

    1. No, it’s about an attitude which can be summed up as “I am a great genius and I need total, uninterrupted silence to craft my code, regardless of the fact that this is a courtesy which none of my colleagues either expect or are granted, especially by me”.

      How about you trust me to only interrupt the great genius with questions that are important and/or urgent, and I’ll try to attribute your desire for alone time to a genuine need for concentration rather than a primadonna hissyfit.

      Edited to add: You should be glad someone is looking after the big picture, because damn if anything would get done otherwise.

      1. No, it’s about an attitude which can be summed up as “I am a great genius and I need total, uninterrupted silence to craft my code, regardless of the fact that this is a courtesy which none of my colleagues either expect or are granted, especially by me”.

        That is entirely your projection. Your narcissistic assumption that everyone else’s brain works the way that yours does. Some people find it very hard to work with noise and interruptions. Apparently, you feel that they are inferior to you and need to work the way that you do or they shouldn’t have a job.

        And yet, you try to portray yourself as a team player. I suspect that most people in your work environment don’t appreciate you nearly so much as you appreciate yourself.

  8. dolphins don’t actually sleep.  they are conscious breathers and if they slept like we do, they’d die.  they do rest half of their brain at a time, tho- but never are they unconscious.

  9. Back in the day when I was a student, I was so easily distracted that I would go and find the most hidden little desk in the library stacks. Then I’d make contracts with myself to work for 15 minutes straight without distraction just to get through a page in an essay.

    Now at my job, even on a deadline I try to make time for everyone. Even if they want to chat about nothing. It’s good to have good relationships with co-workers, and I seem to get it done despite the interruptions.

    Cute sign. I’d totally want to interrupt him and talk about it.

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