Jeremy Bullmore: Feeling exposed?

I have no privacy in the office.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 29 Jul 2011

I have recently started a training contract at a large City law firm, where I'm very happy, but for one small bugbear: my desk is in a position where my boss and three of my colleagues can see what I am doing at all times. I know it sounds petty, and it's not as if I'm doing anything I shouldn't be, but it feels like a constant invasion of my privacy. Can I ask to be moved or should I keep quiet?

A: I think you're quite entitled to ask to be moved - but how you go about it will be important. If you wait too long, and think about it too intently, when you finally get around to making your request you'll probably sound as if it's become a really big issue for you. And that in turn might indeed make you seem a bit petty - or even slightly paranoid. So the sooner you do something, and the lower key that something is, the better all round.

Have a word with your line manager (or whoever you report to) with a sort of informal three-month-in feedback. Say how very happy you are and how delighted you are with the work. The chances are, you'll be asked if there's anything that you're at all unhappy about. One small thing, you should say. At home and at college, you've been used to working in more secluded spots; it's how you learned to concentrate. If your desk could possibly be moved, your one small niggle would be miraculously removed.

I'd be fairly certain that should work - and no one will give it another thought.

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