It’s not a stretch to say that we can spend more waking hours with our coworkers than anyone else during the workweek, including our family. For this reason, it’s good to like your coworkers, and it’s great if they reciprocate. Our actions have a direct impact on our likeability.
We all have bad days. Nobody is perfect and when you spend 40+ hours with the same people every day, you may find that familiarity breeds contempt.
Several years ago, I wrote an article titled, “15 Ways You’re the Coworker from Hell.” It was a lighthearted, yet truthful, look at the simple things we do that can drive our coworker bonkers. The article resonated with many people and they started to share their own coworker horror stories. Since then, I have continued to add to this list.
So here is a look at the habits that can make us a bad coworker. How many do you recognize? Have a funny coworker story that you’d care to share?
23 Times You’re Not the Best Coworker
- When you complain – about everything. If you’re given a free lunch, you don’t like the food. Or you seem to have developed some allergy to the food. (What do you mean you have a dairy allergy? I saw you eating ice cream yesterday!)
- When you say “It’s not my job.” You also like to say, “It’s not my problem.” Teamwork matters.
- When you make excuses. You have an excuse for everything and you like to place blame on everyone else without taking any of your share of the blame.
- When you have little enthusiasm and take no initiative. That’s probably because (see point two) “it’s not your problem.”
- When you’re rude to your coworkers, customers, and clients. If you are frequently unhappy, that comes out through conversation and communication.
- When you spread gossip and you’re skilled at the art of the “hit and run.” That’s where you can spread malicious opinions and rumors in less than two seconds by way of “hall talk” and “water cooler chat.”
- When you hijack meetings and stir the pot behind the scenes so you can sit back and watch the fireworks.
- When you like to sabotage the efforts of others and take credit for their work.
- When change throws you for a loop. Inflexibility guarantees ultimate failure and you don’t want to go down alone. You want to take your coworkers with you.
- When you dump your work on others. You always need help with your work or you like to dump your work on coworkers at the last minute. When you go on vacation, you never attempt to finish projects because you know someone else will finish it for you.
- When you talk incessantly about your personal life.
- When you are in a constant state of being offended. You’ve never heard the term “pick and choose your battles” because everything is a battle.
- When you’re a neat freak about your private workspace but you never clean up after yourself in the common areas or kitchen.
- When you wear too much cologne or perfume. When we know you are in the office before we see you, you’re wearing too much perfume or cologne. Best not to wear it at all. If you do, just a little squirt. That’s enough.
- When your email etiquette is lacking. Are you constantly hitting “reply all” or “cc-ing” everyone on an email? Or, maybe you never bother to respond to an email. Email is the normal mode of communication and your etiquette shouldn’t be horrible.
- When you’re condescending. Being competent in what you are talking about is great. But know-it-alls don’t win friends. You end up alienating the people you need most.
- When you eat smelly food for lunch. Enough said.
- When you’re too loud. Many organizations have open office spaces so you can’t be oblivious to your noise level.
- When you are “Let’s wait another five minutes to start the meeting because Bob hasn’t arrived yet.”
- When you don’t wash your hands when you leave the bathroom. Yep, everyone notices. This is just wrong on so many levels. That’s why we don’t eat your food on a food day.
- When you’re a buttinski. You just jump right in when people are having a private conversation. Don’t be the office interrupter. This is followed by never letting people finish a sentence without interrupting.
- When you eat someone else’s lunch that you happen to find in the fridge. This happens. Why? I’ll never understand this.
- When you always have to be the one-upper. Why can’t we just tell a story without you always having to top it?
Moral of the story? Don’t be the coworker from hell. Everyone has bad days. But habits turn into your professional reputation. If you find your own workplace habits in any of the 23 scenarios, it’s time for a change in behavior.