Ask Tessie: How do I handle an annoying coworker?
May 14, 2018
I have a really irritating coworker who grates on my nerves every day. She listens to her music loudly in the neighboring cubicle, and her phone voice? Don't even get me started. Some of us are trying to get work done around here. What should I do?
Not Inviting Her To Happy Hour
A new survey of 2,000 employees revealed that 100 percent of people say their coworkers are annoying.
At the top of the list for irritating habits? Loud talking, open-mouth chewing, hitting reply all, using indiscernible acronyms, stinking up the shared bathroom, heating up fish in the microwave, and making garbage coffee, to name a few.
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Gary Killjoy, President of Hire4U and human resource expert, says, "An open-floor plan in offices can make for a loud working environment. That's why we recommend a healthy dose of passive aggressive behavior."
Killjoy says if a coworker is being a windbag, simply go over and shut their office door forcefully without saying anything. If they don't have an office, make a big show of putting on your headphones then loudly type messages with your office buddy about how annoying it is.
Tech-based faux pas also rank high on the list of office irritations, according to the highly-scientific survey.
"We all have that one coworker — multiple if you're really unlucky — who has no consideration for your email inbox," says Killjoy. "They love to unnecessarily hit 'reply all' thus flooding your computer with emails you don't need and definitely don't want. It's a virtual slap in the face if you ask me."
Coworkers who have a fondness for the reply all button are 85 percent more likely to also commit other transgressions such as over-use of emojis or ridiculously long acronyms that send you to Google and in fact take up more of your time. They also are likely to start emails with phrases like "Per my previous email," which is office-speak for "Screw you, you illiterate dumba**."
"To handle behavior like this," says Killjoy, "bottle it up inside until it bubbles over when you get drunk at happy hour and finally confess your hatred of these habits to your coworker."
If a coworker has a pattern of blasting Justin Bieber from their Beats by Dre headphones or eating cans of tuna at their desk, consider making up a fake illness to explain why they need to stop immediately.
"Tell your coworker that you suffer from sporadic projectile vomiting that is triggered by certain sensory experiences," says Killjoy. "This will give you carte blanche to pull the sick card anytime your coworker does anything remotely annoying."
If none of this works, consider setting up an anonymous email account and trolling your coworker until they quit.
"Maddening behavior from your coworkers is unavoidable," says Killjoy. "But remember, you have all the tools to take care of it — and the wiles to get them fired if it doesn't stop."
Tahoe Tessie is a humorous take on the standard advice column. It is produced by the Tribune staff, and it is not meant to be taken literally. Have a question you want to ask Tessie? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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