The Dysfunction of Running Teams Where Everyone Has a Voice...
Age Bias and the PricewaterhouseCoopers Case...

My Best Snoring at Work Story...

Tim Sackett hates people who snore on planes.  He's right.  He also thinks it's a form of dramatic low self awareness that shows you shouldn't hire that person.  He's right there, too.

Let's face it, the guy/gal (I've sat next to both on planes!) who dozes off and snores at 5 decibels has given up on life.  They know they snore because they've been told that at home, yet here they go.

They've given up at work.  They are on the active roster, yet semi-retired in the role they are in. Snorers

Here's my best snoring at work story:

The year is 1994.  I'm an assistant basketball coach at UAB, fresh out of college.  In college sports, you have roomies on the road.  I bunked in the same room as another assistant who was a snorer.  

The first year on the road (think 15 road trips) was incredible hard, I didn't sleep much.  I was young, so I survived.  Then I learned the secret.

What you have to do to a heavy snorer you are sleeping near is interrupt the pattern, take them out of Stage 4 REM sleep.  If you go over to the other bed and shake them, well, they know you've woke them up and then you have to deal with the why.  The tenured assistant in question was kind of my boss, so I had to find another way.

1994 was a different time.  There wasn't as much ink on domestic violence and violence in general.  Good thing for me, because my solution could have been misinterpreted as a distress signal.

Here's what I did to the assistant in question.  I would yell - not as loud as I could but at 60% of my volume - for 2 seconds.

The quick yell broke up his REM pattern.  I learned I had 10 minutes to get to sleep before he would be back to the heavy snoring.  As you know, the hardest thing to do is sleep when you're focused on the fact you have to get to sleep.  Thus, my average was 2.4 yells per night on the road to get to sleep.  Once I was asleep, I was good.  He never knew.

Security never came to our room.  Your boy's gotta get his rest.

KD out.



A. McIlvaine

Your suggestion that people who snore would make bad hires is wrongheaded and offensive. There could be medical issues causing someone to snore, like sleep apnea. People who are otherwise healthy may suffer from this condition, and even if they aren't, so what? Someone who snores could be just as likely to be a hardworking and dedicated employee as someone who doesn't. Shame on you.


Since people don't sleep at work, whether or not they snore is -- normally -- not the employer's business. If an employee IS sleeping at work -- unless that's somehow included in their job duties -- that's another story. They may be suffering from narcolepsy or sleep apnea -- both of which are legally-accepted disabilities -- or experiencing the side effects of medication, all of which may trigger the need for a reasonable accommodation analysis or drug-testing, etc. Or, they may be sleep deprived, which may -- or may not -- suggest that the employee may need to take a look at their work-life balance. Obviously, if the employee recently became the parent of newborn triplets, this, too, shall pass. If the job involves long hours, unpredictable schedules, shift changes, etc., job restructuring may be an option. There are actually some employers now allowing naps at the workplace. It's my understanding that the Huffington Post actually encourages nap breaks.


I have to agree with the two comments above. Sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders, are well recognized. The person has a cyclical issue that results from sleeping, but waking repeatedly during the night (several times per hour) because of a blocked airway, which can be caused by a number physiological reasons! They also usually snore loudly as a result of this and waken gasping for air. The next day, they are exhausted and felt like they haven't slept, with excessive daytime sleepiness. Once this condition is corrected, they feel much better and aren't so sleepy. But it is difficult to get it right. AND, few people are willing to carry a CPAP machine on a bus or airplane with them (even if they had an expensive portable one), AND no one likes the embarrassment of snoring in public. Have some understanding. It has NOTHING to do with one's ability to perform on the job.

Sorry, this is a loser article.


This is the worst, most offensive, and insensitive piece of writing I have encountered since #45s latest Tweet. Was there a point to this?

There are serious health consquences related to sleep. Maybe if you focused more on suggesting solutions to your travel mate - and less on yourself - maybe you could have been of help.

Anita Chase

I have to agree with all of the comments above. You should not judge a person on whether or not they snore! What is wrong with you>

Don Johnson

I agree with most of these comments and snoring is not the issue; the sleeping at work is the issue. What should be done is a candid conversation with the employee, at the first opportunity, to attempt to surface issues that may exist. Is it a behavioral, emotional or physiological problem, having to do with sleep issues, life balance issues (like do they stay up late partying) or whatever?
Perhaps we can expose the root cause of the issue but maybe not. If we can, the next step is to deal with the issue as best we can. If we can't we come back to the same scenario as if we did realize the cause, to have the conversation that the observed behavior is not okay and something needs to change. Partner with the person to find a solution so they don't feel attacked and resent the conversation.


This is obnoxious. having traveled back and forth between the coasts for work roughly every 3 weeks for over a year, you better believe I slept on a plane. and I probably snored cause that happens and it is often uncontrollable. The alternative was to take 2 days to adjust to a new time zone after taking a redeye.
So yeah, I hadn't given up on life... wasn't dodging work (in fact just the opposite, was trying to make sure I was functional as soon as possible after a cross country flight). This article is completely off base and offensive.


Why in the world would a professional organization like Human Capital Media send this article to their distribution list? I'm absolutely appalled.
I checked my calendar to make sure it was still March and not April 1. This is horrendous.


Hi Friends -

So there's been a fair amount of outrage about this, so I wanted to chime in here with some reaction to your comments.

First up, referring to the Tim Sackett article about snoring on planes... If you're a heavy snorer and you sleep on planes, I don't know what to tell you - people don't like it and if you don't care that they don't like it, then you have a disregard for others. That's OK, but that's real talk.

Sleep disorders, etc. OK, I also understand that. But I don't know many high performers who allow themselves to sleep in work situations (I'm including business travel as work), snore loudly and are well regarded by those around them. If you're the exception, that's cool - you're obviously good at what you do. So good, that the people around you don't care about it.

The negative comments here are acting like I can't share a story about snoring from an earlier point in my career. For everyone who is offended, there's literally 1,000 people (maybe 10,000) who agree with me.

We have lost our minds in a sea of political correctness. Loud snoring is actually funny - until you get to the 5 min mark and then it's just annoying. As for where this post got shared, welcome to the Internet - I don't control that.



By the way, my favorite comment of this bunch is the one comparing me to Trump's tweets.

Yeah - KD on snoring = Trump tweets. Great connection, insightful.


The comments to this entry are closed.