Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary: How do we stop chatty workmen from disturbing us?

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Q. I have been working (from home) for a TV comedy production company for a year. My job is scouting for scripts. In my spare time I have been co-writing a comedy script with a friend. Had I not been its co-author, I would have judged it perfect for the company I work for — but I have only met my bosses in real life once and didn’t pitch it for fear of embarrassing them if they didn’t like it, or making them question my judgment in assessing other scripts for them. Now my co-writer has interest from another production company and I’m worried that if they made a success of it, my bosses would be annoyed that I failed to offer it to them first. Mary, what do I do?
— A.J., London SW8

A. Wait until the rival company makes a definite move. Then run the script past your own company saying that obviously they can have first refusal. Thus you show loyalty while also providing a face-saver if they decide your script is not for them.

Q. My partner and I are working from home and have a problem with very talkative workmen. I have tried to set boundaries by serving tea and coffee and a nice range of biscuits twice a day to signal set chatting times, but one of them still butts in to conversations that do not concern him. He also takes ten minutes to describe an aspect of his work that would take anyone else one minute and has an awful habit of addressing the same topic from several angles. Mary, is there any solution other than finding a different carpenter?
— R.W., Congleton, Cheshire

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