Grooming in the Open Office
Question: I have a few coworkers that sit around me in an open office that will clip their fingernails at their desk. I am absolutely repulsed by this, but considering it's more than one person, is this not the huge office culture violation I think it is?
Answer: What kind of heathens do you work with? Clipping fingernails at the office is an etiquette violation of the highest magnitude. And here I thought subway nail clipping was as crass is it came.
For the sake of your sanity—and the preservation of all mankind—you must do something. Someone daft enough to think that fingernail clipping outside the bathroom is OK is not going to pick up on subtle throat clearing or stunned staring. You're going to have to ask outright.
You must ask in a way that incriminates you instead of the clipper. As counterintuitive as that might sound, you're more likely to be heard and heeded if you don't offend the actual offender.
The next time it happens, gently saunter over and say, "Billy, this is quite random and embarrassing, but I have a nervous tick that's set off by piercing sounds, like dishes being stacked or nails being clipped. Would you mind doing that outside of my earshot? Weird, I know, but it would really help me out."
Only a mannerless and heartless brute would deny such a plea.