Let’s be real–working with others can be challenging at times.
In some cases, you’re asked to work closely for 8 hours a day (if not longer) with people who you normally wouldn’t be caught dead with outside of work for 8 minutes.
Sad, but in some cases, it’s very true.
It’s even harder for you if your coworkers are one of the “Unfortunate 13” that will be mentioned in this post. It would be even worse if you happened to be one of those undesirable coworkers yourself.
I’m going to challenge you to read this post and then honestly answer the following question:
Are you currently one of the “Unfortunate 13”?
In fact, here’s the deal: If you engage in any of the following behaviors, even one of them, then you failed the test.
You need a perfect score, people.
Anything less than that and it’s very possible that your coworkers are dreading the sight of you when you stroll into the office.
Let’s see how well you do.
1. The Bad Hygiene Coworker (BHC)
Being forced to spend 8 hours in close proximity with a person who has made it a daily practice to assault your nasal passages with unspeakable bodily funk, is definitely a challenge you don’t want to deal with.
And just to be clear, I’m not talking about people who have legitimate medical issues and cannot control their odor for whatever reason. This is about the people who flat-out don’t care to make any effort about their hygiene.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
A coworker whose breath is so hot that a breath mint would likely explode on contact with his tongue.
A coworker who considers deodorant, soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper as unnecessary luxuries that only “those weird germophobes” tend to use.
A coworker who liberally applies cologne as if the waters of the fountain of youth are contained in each drop.
I’ll be honest–I’m at a loss for how to deal with a coworker who falls into this category.
Is the subtle approach best (hey BHC, would you like to try out these new mints? They are sooooo good!) or is the direct approach the best route (BHC, you seriously have to lay off the cologne a little bit. I seriously get a migraine when you’re within 30 yards of me)?
Honestly, I don’t know.
Either way, I can confidently say that you’re going to have to do something if you can’t avoid working near the BHC.
The only other option is to plan on breathing through your mouth for the rest of your career, and we both know that’s not a good look.
2. The Inappropriate Bodily Noises Coworker (IBNC)
This person is hard to figure out. Is he blissfully unaware of his behavior, or does he simply not care?
It really doesn’t matter either way–the point is that their behavior is just plain nasty. For the IBNC, the world is his private living room and he has no shame whatsoever.
It is not an uncommon practice for this guy to be sitting in his cubicle and loudly release an asscheek-clapping fart, a wet belch, or (my personal least favorite sound in the universe) forcefully snort up snot, chew it up like a piece of Wrigley’s, and then happily swallow it like it was some foreign delicacy.
It’s safe to say that the less-than-wonderful sounds of the IBNC can be pretty disturbing, especially if you’re forced to sit next to this dude for 8 hours each day, 40 hours a week, 300 days a year…you get what I’m saying.
It’s amazing to me that working with an IBNC doesn’t reduce normally sane people into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers, at the mere sound of someone passing gas.
3. The Fish Microwaving Coworker (FMC)
There’s no need for this to be on this list, right? I mean everyone should know that microwaving fish leftovers in a shared microwave at work is the worst idea ever, right?
We all know the answer to this question, so I’ll continue.
For reasons that I’ll never understand, the FMC is completely unaware that the smell of microwaved fish lingers for a long time, and it stinks.
For at least 20 minutes or so, anything that goes into the microwave after the fish will end up smelling like fish, and that’s extremely annoying–especially if you don’t like fish (like me). There are tons of other food choices, so why choose something that will drive your other coworkers insane?
Also, dishonorable mention goes anyone who likes to make (and burn) microwave popcorn at work too.
This is more common than you think. While it’s true that all forms of workplace theft aren’t cool, this type of theft is just plain sinister. Let’s set the scene:
You just finished a tough morning of fielding customer calls in the Call Center.
Maybe there was a full moon last night, because all of the horrifically awful customers seemed to have a direct line to your phone this morning. In the span of 4 hours, you were screamed at, cursed at, and one customer even said that she wanted to find out where you worked so she could fight you! Pure craziness, right?
The only thing that kept you going through all of those calls was thought of eating your mom’s special baked ziti and her sweet potato casserole that she dropped off at your apartment over the weekend.
No matter what those customers threw at you this morning, there’s no doubt that an hour of peace & quiet munching on some home-cooked goodness would make everything right in a hurry.
You just logged-off of your phone because lunchtime is finally here! You instantly morph into Usain Bolt, sprint into the break room, open the refrigerator, and rip open your lunch bag…only to find that the FSC is also a big fan your mom’s home-cooked grub too.
You blankly look into your lunch bag and notice that all that the FSC left behind for you was your plastic fork and knife.
I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever been the victim of the FSC’s shadiness, but I have, and I can safely say that it can inspire homicidal thoughts.
If a FSC is reading this, I’d suggest that you knock it off because there are people that will go to extreme lengths to exact their revenge on your cheap, shady ass.
Maybe they’ll go old-school and lace their lunch with Ex-Lax, or maybe they’ll get super-creative and get even like this.
5. The Credit Stealing Coworker (CSC)
This is a different type of low-life thievin’ coworker, and she needs her own specific category for her awfulness. Instead of stealing food, she’s constantly stealing your ideas and the credit that should be given to your work.
Let’s say that you were paired up with a coworker to research how to reduce the billing errors in your organization. You’re extremely familiar with the billing issues plaguing your organization, so it was decided that you would be the one who did the research, compiled the data, (etc) and since your coworker is an excellent speaker, she would be the one who would present it at the all-staff meeting when you were done.
A match made in heaven, right?
After 3 months of hard work and late nights, you hand off your detailed research to your coworker who then put your hard work into a PowerPoint presentation to present at the all-staff meeting.
Unfortunately for you, you’re completely blindsided when you realize during the presentation that your coworker is really a CSC in disguise.
She doesn’t even make a mention of your name, your research, or any of your hard work. In fact, after she was done presenting your work, she fielded questions and answered them as if she did all of the research herself. Infuriating, no?
Dealing with CSCs can be really challenging, but this is behavior that can’t be ignored. Believe me, it will happen again if you do nothing. As I love to say, what you allow is what will continue, right?
If nothing else, put the CSC on notice by calmly, professionally, and directly stating your disappointment to her. Maybe it was an oversight, but either way, your goal is ensure that the CSC doesn’t dull your shine like that ever again in the future.
6. The Rule-Breaking Coworker (RBC)
This guy believes that following rules are for punks. Yes, coworkers like this really do exist.
Does the RBC ever show up to work on time? Being timely is for punks–no one is going to box this guy in.
Does he adhere to the dress code? Please, the RBC believes that only punks are told how to dress.
Does the RBC ever offer quality customer service to his customers? Maybe. It all depends on if he’s feelin’ it that day.
The good news for you is that if your boss is worth a damn, the RBC will soon be SOL and looking for another job if he keeps up his “rebel without a cause” routine.
Little does the RBC know that the biggest punk of all is the one staring back at him in the mirror each morning.
Emotionally Unstable Coworkers
7. The Drama Queen Coworker (DQC)
For most people, drama is draining, unproductive, and something to be avoided at all costs.
Most people, that is.
The DQC absolutely loves drama, even if she acts like she doesn’t. She needs drama in her world like a fish needs water to survive.
The DQC is type of person who posts annoying, cryptic Facebook status updates like, “Ugh, he did it AGAIN.” in hopes that you (or some other sucker) will curiously ask her who “he” is and what did he do again?
Please stop feeding the DQC’s desperate need for you to be involved in her insanity.
If you’re forced to work in close proximity to a DQC, there’s no doubt that you unwillingly know all about her daily boyfriend drama (or no-boyfriend drama), her latest drama in her session with her therapist, the drama with her drug-addicted roommate, and how taking senna tea is finally helping the DQC to have regular bowel movements.
The DQC has absolutely no boundaries and she thinks that everyone cares as much about her craziness as she does.
If you consider the DQC to be a friend of yours and you enjoy the drama, then please be my guest and continue to feed off of each other’s insanity.
But if you’re allergic to drama like I am, then for your sanity’s sake, please don’t get sucked into her bizarro world.
The next time that you hear her break down crying in the cubicle next to you after having a loud yelling match with her boyfriend on her cell phone, you can ask, “what he did he do this time?” or you can keep working.
8. The Moody Coworker (MC)
This guy is very different from the DQC mentioned above. Unlike the DQC, you never know what you’re going to get at any given moment with this dude.
For example, when you saw him earlier in the morning, he was giving you fist bumps, calling you “bro-seph,” and bragging about how his fantasy football team is in 1st place. An hour later, you see him at the copier and try to engage him in conversation, but all you get in return was an angry glare as he sulked back to his cubicle. A couple of hours later at lunch time, he’s happily emailing you to find out what the plan for lunch is going to be.
If you’re forced to work with a MC, I don’t have much to say besides “good luck” because you’ll need it to stay sane when dealing with his roulette wheel of emotions on a daily basis.
9. The Woe is Me Coworker (WIMC)
My mom would always say that there are two types of people in this world: the ones who make you feel great as soon as they walk into a room, and the ones who make you feel great as soon as they walk out.
The WIMC definitely falls into the latter category.
I used to work with a woman who could bring down the energy of any room instantaneously. If it wasn’t such a horribly useless talent, I would be completely astonished at how amazing she was at it. I swear, if there was an Olympic event for negativity, complaining, and sharing misery with others, there’s no doubt that Michael Phelps’ all-time medals record would be shattered in less than one work week–guaranteed.
As miserable as she was, I know that she’s not a rare breed.
Most WIMCs that I’ve worked with believe that their crappy attitudes are solely due to the negative stuff that happens to them at work, but in reality, what they fail to understand is that the negative stuff that happens to them at work is due in large part to their crappy attitudes.
If you’re up for it, you can try to explain to the WIMC the absolute uselessness of chronic complaining, but if she’s not receptive to that kind of tough love, then I highly suggest that for your sanity’s sake, you avoid her as much as humanly possible.
There was a time when employees who showed up to work sick were considered team players, tough-minded, and admirable for putting their work above their health.
Does anyone still feel that way?
Nowadays, the words that are used to describe the SC are stupid, irresponsible, and selfish.
If you’re a boss that expects your people to show up to work even when they’re horribly sick, then all of those words used to describe the SC are directed squarely at you.
Three years ago, a former coworker thought that it would be a brilliant idea to show up to work with the flu and she ended up infecting the entire office. Of course I became ridiculously sick, but that wasn’t even close to being the worst part.
I brought that flu home to my then-9 month old daughter. Worse than that? Once she was running a 104 fever, the doctor then confirmed our worst fears: this wasn’t any average flu–it was the H1N1 flu (aka, the Swine Flu).
So yeah, the SC who showed up to work because she needed to “finish up a project” almost ended up killing my kid.
If you’re sick, please stay at home and keep your germs to yourself.
11. The Lazy Coworker (LC)
Imagine this–the end of the fiscal year is approaching and the stress level in the office is at an all-time high. Everyone is running around like squirrels strung out on meth trying to finish their projects, except for one guy–the LC.
The LC is the worst kind of slacker because he doesn’t value the importance of time, which means that he has no problem wasting yours.
He’s known for hanging out in your cubicle and talking about complete nonsense while you’re trying to work.
Usually when you try to drop subtle hints like, “is there anything that you need?” he cluelessly responds, “nah, I’m just chillin'” as he continues to distract you.
When the LC isn’t busy wasting your time, he is hard at work finding ways to skip out on pulling his weight.
Some of these examples include, but are not limited to, taking extended lunches, constantly making personal calls while the rest of the team is forced to cover for him, and even taking the infamous “crap nap” (aka, pretending to go to the bathroom, but in reality, he’s falling asleep in the stall for a couple of hours).
Unfortunately, LCs are in every single workplace in the world. However, similar to the RBC mentioned under #6 above, if your boss is paying any kind of attention, the LC’s days of freeloading can’t last forever.
12. The Line-Crossing Coworker (LCC)
Here are some common LCC nuggets of wisdom that he isn’t afraid to share with you at the office:
“So, have you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart as your lord and savior? I hope so, or else you’ll be consumed in the fires of hell and endure infinite damnation and unspeakable suffering for all eternity. Just sayin’.”
“Who are you voting for in the election? Hopefully it’s not that idiot (insert last name of candidate who he hates).”
“Have you heard the joke about the Mexican, the black dude, and the Jew with Down’s Syndrome? It’s hilarious.”
“Hey, you have to check out this awesome Multi-Level Marketing program! We can make millions if we can recruit 20 people into our downline. Can you give me the phone number of your friends and family? Like, all of them. I’m serious.”
“Suzy, your ass looks like two volleyballs in those tight pants. I hope that you won’t be offended if I told you that your pooper looks really super, baby.”
Is there really any surprise that the LCC is every HR professional’s worst nightmare?
Please for the love of all things holy, if you’re even slightly thinking about being THAT guy, just don’t do it.
Worst Coworker of All
It’s no secret that bullies are my least favorite type of human beings to deal with in the workplace–in fact, I dedicated an entire post to ridding workplaces of these characters once and for all.
Unfortunately though, BCs are wreaking havoc on the sanity of employees all over the world at this very moment, and it has to stop.
BCs are the ones who are gossiping and spreading false rumors about unsuspecting employees at work.
BCs are emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes even physically tormenting employees who simply are trying to do their jobs.
BCs are creating hostile work environments for our wives, husbands, sons, daughters, and other loved ones each and every day.
Like I said, this insanity has to stop.
At the moment that you’re reading this, someone is crying him/herself to sleep based solely on the pain of being a victim of workplace bullying.
BCs, please know this: I’m dedicating my life to eradicating workplace bullying.
Enjoy your short-lived run bullies, because trust me–it’s going to end soon.
Innocent or Guilty?
Be real with me–how did you do?
Perfect score? You are making the working world a better place based on your presence–nice!
Less than a perfect score? It’s all good–at least you know what to fix now, right?
Do you know of anyone who may be a member of the “Unfortunate 13?”
If so, do them a favor and send them this post.
Who knows, maybe they’ll change.
Your sanity at work may depend on it.
Are you tired of dealing with the bullies and jerks at your job, and ready to join the new workplace positivity movement? That’s good, because change is coming, my friend. If you’re ready to join the movement to change how we treat each other at work, reserve your copy of Making Work Work, today! Order link on Amazon.com