Annoying Coworkers

I have been fortunate in my work career to have mostly affable and supportive coworkers. True, there have been a couple of real negative doozeys, but I outlasted them. I am currently contending with an annoying coworker who really means well, and that is much of my problem with her.

The person in question doesn’t even work in my building, and works 100 miles away, only sometimes coming to my workplace every other month or so. Her job is to make my job easier, but that isn’t how it always turns out. She is to help make sure my testing computers are working appropriately, that the psychological test scoring programs are up to date, and that my testing forms and supplies are ordered as needed. She usually does a great job. She works really fast. She is friendly, competent, and energetic. We communicate most frequently via email and instant messaging.

I guess my main issue with this coworker is the manner she goes about doing things. Every time I encounter her, I have to bite my tongue and not ask her if she took her Ritalin (an ADHD medication) that day. I don’t even know if she has ADHD, but she is very impulsive, doesn’t listen, and can’t read the room, so to speak, on how she is coming across.

Last week she was very involved replacing our three aging testing computers with new computers, and transferring our scoring programs to the new computers. In the process, she managed to erase forever the testing results of hundreds of people we had tested over the years. There are hard copies of the results in client files, but at least we had them stored in the computer in case something happened to our paper files. She didn’t get the new computers hooked up to the correct printers appropriately , and I couldn’t print any interpretive reports, only dozens of pages of gobbledygook. She had already left to go back to Bismarck, so our tech guy had to fix it the next day. He told me he had warned her that what she did with the printer drivers wouldn’t work, but, as usual, she didn’t listen.

One day, after a particularly frustrating back and forth messaging fest over her insistence that a scoring program was installed on one of the computers when it wasn’t, she asked if I would go in to the testing room and take photos of the serial numbers of the computers so that she cold access them remotely to see the situation for herself. I was somewhat appalled that she would even ask me to do that, given how our messaging conversation was going. I guess she couldn’t tell that I was becoming increasingly agitated in my texting, spelling out words in all capitals and ending sentences with multiple exclamation points. I had enough by that time, and curtly refused. She came out the next day and got it all fixed. She apologized for not believing me and offered to buy me some flowers or chocolates. I told her it wasn’t necessary, and that it was enough that she had come out and fixed everything.

Tell about some of your more interesting coworkers. Have you ever felt like murdering someone at work?

73 thoughts on “Annoying Coworkers”

  1. My last-but-one line manager used to measure your worth on hours spent working at home. So if I came home from work and did 5 hours but you only did 3 hours, I would win. Never once did she question the fact that anyone needing to do 5 hours of work AFTER work probably wasn’t being very efficient during the day!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I worked with a Q believer. Q: Hillary Clinton eats baby part pizza. Democrats are pedophiles. Donald Trump is the Savior of the world.
    He believed it all and more. His incessant talking about conspiracies helped me to retire in October, so I missed Crazy Mike’s rigged election rants. My retirement saved his life.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. You know, when I was getting to know Steve, I had this nagging question I didn’t want to ask. Left wing or right wing. He liked Tuba Skinny, and they are LEFT. But I was scared to bring it up. What a relief when he brought it up himself.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t had a co-worker for 25 years but when I did the most annoying ones were always in a supervisory position. In my experience aspiring to be the boss should preclude most individuals from ever being one.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Another way to look at it is that being a supervisor or any sort of a leader is a burden and a responsibility but it’s necessary. Anyone who thinks it’s proof they are a superior being is unfit for the job.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. My wife is a control freak and thinks she’s always right. Paradoxically, she was the best, most loved boss you could wish for, and doesn’t consider herself superior.
          Just always right.

          Liked by 2 people

      1. Have people here heard of the Peter Principle? Popular a few decades ago. Laurence Peter proposed that people naturally climb ladders within any occupational structure until they hit the level at which they are no longer competent. We’ve head of “a bridge too far,” and this is a sort of a “occupational advancement too far.” And there they remain, supervising the misfortunate schlubs who report to them.

        I once interviewed a clever guy who ran a resort in northern Wisconsin. He talked about the frustrations of trying to work with other resort owners. His conclusion was that some occupations naturally attract people who just can’t get along with other people, so they make a living in a field where they don’t have to answer to anyone.

        Since that interview I’ve noticed that the owner (founder, leader, president) of many organizations is best understood if you see him (very rarely her) as someone who desperately needed to be the top dog because he kept scrapping with all the other dogs.

        Bill, if you read this, you might think of the creative guy who once employed you and my erstwife.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. You might expect a creative guy to be inspirational but this one, in my opinion, was suppressive. If you didn’t do things his way, you were wrong.

          Like

        2. I think the problem is more complex than the Peter Principle. Upper management may be competent at their job, but humanely stunted. They often are. The people they promote tend to be like them or at least willing to enable them. Toadies. Potential supervisors with a more evolved approach to managing people may choose to check out before they reach incompetence because they can’t abide the corporate culture.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. I’ve also known senior management people who bounced from high level position to high level position despite being horrible people. I think their previous employers kept giving them good references because that facilitated getting rid of them.

          I worked with a client at B. Dalton, a senior executive, who was horrible like that. She was only there briefly. The next I heard of her, she was spokesperson for Leona Helmsley (remember her?).

          Liked by 2 people

        4. Man, we are in synch today. I agree that the Peter Principle simplifies a complex phenomenon. I totally agree about the creative guy being a tyrant who was all in favor of creativity . . . HIS creativity.

          My erstwife–your former colleague–worked for someone else in the organization who was a classic “horrible people” person. Such folks are usually male, but she was female. My wife was at a book convention in Frankfurt when her phone rang in the middle of the night. When she picked up, someone in the US whistled the song from The Wizard of Oz “Ding dong the witch is dead.” That was how she learned that the executive who had been so awful had finally been fired.

          Liked by 4 people

        5. Yup. I want to say a bit more about her. She was an alcoholic who used her position to cover up her addiction. That is, she called staff meetings that were actually blowout drinking parties. She was prepared to fire subordinates who didn’t come or who wouldn’t drink too much, for that exposed her to more scrutiny.

          My dad had a boss like that, so I believe this is a pattern with powerful people who drink too much.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Sorry I’ve been offline. Nonny was in the hospital (non life-threatening) and they released her sooner than we expected and she’s not really self-sufficient yet. So I drove down on Thursday…will probably be here another 5 or 6 days.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Replying to Steve and Bill about horrible bosses. We had a guy who “bounced from high level position to high level position” within the same company. Started in the warehouse from school, and got into the transport division. Truck drivers do not like being lorded over by non truck drivers. Drivers who end up behind a desk can be more than annoying, but at least they know what they are asking you to do.
        I liked to say, when I leave, I’m going to punch Lee Bisset on the nose. No one was against the idea, but I didn’t actually know it was my last day, when the time came. I believe he’s still treading on people on his way up the ladder to somewhere.
        And actually, I’m not in the habit of hitting people. I doubt if anyone believed it.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Steve, compulsory drinking parties. Ha ha, my sister in law does them, but in this case it’s to prove she can outdrink the lot of us.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. I’m feeling very virtuous right now. About eight months back, she mentioned that she wasn’t comfortable going to the library and was out of books. Oh the inhumanity. I asked everybody on the trail for ideas and ended up sending her seven books via Amazon. Six of them were big hits. We had thought that she was going to be in the hospital longer so I ordered the second book from five of those series. They arrived today and she’s ensconced in her lounger reading right now!!! Thanks baboons for your help with this project!!

        Liked by 3 people

    1. So sorry to hear you are in the area you’re in, what with the Delta variant and the meager vaccinations rates there. I wish Nonny well. Hope you are back in Minnesota soon.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you tim for knowing me so well. Not being home for my garden this week is actually my only regret right now. Well and the humidity. It’s at least 313% right now!!!

        Like

  5. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Renee, you have my sympathy, At least your co-worker cared that she made your life harder. However, when your job is psych testing and you can not get the results due to these problems, the level of frustration had to have been intolerable.

    In the world of human services supervisors are a big deal. I loved the several of them who were humane and competent. The rest of them, a far larger number, were dangerous and cost people their well-being, and several times even their lives.

    On the annoying, but not life-threatening continuum, I once had a co-worker who smoked cigars in his office, right next to mine. This made me headachy and it made me gag. I just don’t like the smell. Finally I told him, and he agreed not to smoke them in the office anymore. The same poorly constructed and poorly ventilated office had a false ceiling. Several boys from the community decided to climb into the false ceiling, then burrow their way to the ladies room which we all used. They were spying on us—until they fell through and they were caught.

    So as the pandemic recedes, and employers cannot recruit people back to work, I wonder if they consider the fact that these work environments are unpleasant and just not that alluring.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I have a couple friends that we’ll occasionally ask “Who’s on your kill list today / this week / month”. And we laugh.

    I’ve said before, I am so lucky I mostly work for myself and don’t often have immediate supervisors looking over my shoulder.
    And yet… There are sometimes ‘helpers’ that just make life more difficult. Sometimes it’s college students that just don’t have a clue. They need the shop hours, and they want to help. And they don’t listen and it’s so frustrating.

    And there are other volunteers that just have too much energy; they want to jump in with both feet while I’m still trying to make a plan.

    We joke, every time some system in the theater gets a ‘software upgrade’ it won’t work for the next month. It’s usually not really a problem but it is an inconvenience…

    There was one organization that had one person who was very Republican. They weren’t quite ‘Q’, but they certainly believed FREE SPEECH was their right no matter if it was a public meeting or election day. And the rest of us would caution them that they really shouldn’t say that. Of course they objected to being called out on that, too.

    I had my list at the college of people I wanted to outlast. I think I’ve made it past all of them… I wonder how many peoples lists I’m on??

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I have had bosses who were great, and some who were assholes – of both sexes. Whether I considered them to belong in the first category or the second depended largely on how competent and “fair” they were, and how closely their values aligned with my own.

    One of the least popular coworkers I’ve ever had was a female partner in the law firm where I once worked. She is probably one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, an extremely brilliant and logical thinker. However, she didn’t have good people skills, and had the unfortunate habit of rather bluntly telling people what she thought. This tended to alienate a lot of people. Personally, I found her rather refreshing, and we got along fine. She now has her own consulting business advising wealthy people around the globe on how to maintain and legally protect their wealth. This is something she’s no doubt good at, partly because of her grasp of international law, but also because she doesn’t allow emotions or considerations of morally right or wrong to interfere with that knowledge; all that matters to her is whether or not something is legal. I may be able to see that a certain decision is beneficial to the bottom line, but I can’t divorce that decision from closer scrutiny for other implications or considerations. As the old saying goes: No matter how flat the pancake, it always has two sides.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I remember telling a student that at the least her job was teaching her how to deal with A**holes. Then that guy came at me saying I had called him an a**hole. I said no, I didn’t, I just told her she was learning how to deal with them.

      And that is a HUGE advantage to have in the workforce.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Ben’s comment reminds me of when my daughter was trying to get her first job after graduating from college. Her timing was bad. Just as she hit the market, a mild recession caused businesses to reduce payrolls. She looked for months, getting increasingly desperate. Then she found an opening in a law firm that needed a smart, industrious “assistant.” She was about to apply when someone in the law firm took her aside to say, “Are you sure this is what you want, being the person who has to do all the stuff that six pompous a**holes don’t want to do?”

        Liked by 4 people

  8. I’ve had so many annoying co workers I wouldn’t know where to start. A lot of people found me annoying too.
    I told Steve this one.
    I was at a not for profit business for five years, helping get household recycling off the ground. We didn’t pay good wages, on the grounds that Steve, the boss, was right wing at heart, I suppose. They say, If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Well, you do tend to get people that aren’t idealists. Just about any job can be done well, or it can be done badly. I prefer to do it well. Or why bother? It’s better to pay an idiot to stay home, out of the way.
    I had a spell driving the big vans that we used for our new door to door recyclables collection scheme, that we did in conjuction with the council. You’d have between one and three helpers, according to the round, and size of van. Andy Weston came out with me for a week or two, then went to my brother, who was in charge of stuff like that, and said, don’t put me with Fenton. He wants to do thkngs properly. It’s boring.
    I’m always telling people, most people aren’t interested in their job. They’re interested in their wages.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. On the subject of references. In England (by the way, you asked me about that, Steve. I still call it England. I don’t say UK much, because I can’t speak for the rest of the British Isles, although I’m more than half Scottish, in fact), it’s illegal now to give a bad reference. I don’t know how far reaching it is. I suppose the worst you can say is “I’m not saying this guy is useless. I’m not allowed to.” I don’t suppose people do that, but I’d love to try it.
    But it makes it even easier to get “kicked upstairs,” no doubt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For legal reasons you have to be very careful about what you say in a letter of reference, but with a little skill and practice you can write one without actually saying much about the candidate even if you don’t have anything positive to say. A good personnel person will spot such a letter immediately, and know to steer clear or at least dig a little deeper.

      Of course, not every job requires the same skill set or attributes, and what is an asset in one job can be a detriment in another. A perfect example of this is a now nationally known American comedian I once hired as a receptionist for a large CPA firm where I worked. She was bright, articulate, and creative; too creative for the job I hired her for, as it turned out. She was, no doubt, bored out of her gourd answering phones and greeting visitors to our offices, so she deployed her biting wit to liven things up a bit. This resulted in an avalanche of complaints, and ultimately we had to agree to part ways; she was incorrigible, but very funny. I was thrilled when just a few years later she became quite successful on a national level, and a lot of her former coworkers at the CPA firm were proud to have worked with her before she became a household name. She never did ask me for a reference, but it would not have been difficult to write one; she was one of a kind.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. One of my former coworkers described a reference she’d received on an applicant. It said something like, “In general, Sandra did a fair amount of acceptable work.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. She sounds like a superstar, compared to some of the people I’ve worked with.
        “Joe actually did help with something. Once.”

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Peter Principle. Completely agree with the concept and also that it’s way too simplistic of a notion .

    I figured out pretty early in my working life that I did not want to supervise. I think I was ok at it, but I didn’t enjoy it. I know that this has puzzled people over the years-that I have repeatedly turned down opportunities for promotion.

    Annoying co-workers? I had a woman sit next to me for three years. This woman made more work for herself than you can imagine and she was always stressed out. She would often pop over to my cube and ask my advice. My advice was always “path of least resistance” advice since that’s who I am. Then later I’d hear her over the cube wall doing basically the opposite. Every. Single. Time. It didn’t bruise my ego but it did irritate me that she’d wasted my time. I eventually told her that clearly our styles were too different so my advice probably wouldn’t help her. She did quit asking after I told her that about four times.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Someone used to complain to me, vs. I would offer suggestions for different ways of handling the issue. Over time I noticed that this person never tried my suggestions. So when that person brought up a new complaint, I said something like, “Sorry. That is not a valid topic. When you give an honest effort to try what I suggested, I’ll again listen to you.” No rancor. No hard feelings. We ended up, I guess, where you and your coworker ended up.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t see complaining as the same as asking for advice, but I’ll admit that it’s sometimes hard to keep your mouth shut when you can see an obvious solution to someone’s complaint. That said, unsolicited advice is rarely appreciated.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. This is one of my favorites.
          I usually send it to guys in new relationships.
          But your comment about “obvious solutions” made me think of it again.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I think complaining comes in two main varieties— those who are just venting and those who are looking for a solution. I have a girlfriend who does this. I have on more than one occasion asked her if she’s looking for help or just whining (although I said it more gently than this). And she usually wants ideas

          Liked by 1 person

    2. God’s sake. I’d got nearly to the last sentence of a long rambling story about my few days as a supervisor, touched something and deleted it. It’s 3.24 am, and I can’t write it all again.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Looks like I’ve been relatively lucky in the jobs I’ve had. Most egregious behavior from a co-worker was watching porn online, and he stopped once he was called on it. There was a woman with bi-polar disorder who would yell and scream at us, but apologized all over the place next day.

    OT: I’ve written a rather long, detailed message about our experiences here with Husband’s stroke. Email me if you want to see it.. .

    Liked by 3 people

  12. For five years I was the supervisor of an employee with severe mental health issues. While she never had a good day, most days were tolerable if nobody got in her way. Unfortunately you never knew what
    was going to trigger her. Screaming, yelling, crying, and throwing stuff were all part of her acting out behavior. Her job entailed interaction with everyone in the office on a daily basis, and I’m certain that everyone had seen her at her worst. Thinking back on it, I’m amazed that in an office with over two hundred people in it, we all seemed to know to just give her as much space as possible. Eventually, she’d calm down on just get on with her job. Only a handful of times in those five years did I have to intervene because things were getting out of hand. She worked for that company for thirty years before she retired. She was a damn good worker, too; not easy to get along with, but a hard worker.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. i say all business relationships are like marrying into a new dysfunctional family and needing to understand the cultures

    i have always said i am a good worker and a terrible employee

    i hate office politics and avoid at all costs.i’ve tried giving schizophrenic people the benefit of the doubt and it absolutely comes back to bite me in the ass
    we will see how i do from here on out
    as a worker bee i’m pretty good as an employee and only see this as a bit of a contradiction because i can’t do this much longer. brainless task based work culture where figuring out how to maximize payback fir time spent is a formula not a life

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I sympathise Tim, though have never lived in that world. My mother wanted it for me, but I broke her heart and stayed on the farm. And never regetted it, though everyone told me I would, including Mike, the farmer I worked for in my teens.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. In my 1904 images from Europe there was not a single automobile. In San Francisco they seem to have come a fair way towards replacing the horse. There were not as much horse manure on the street as I would have expected—maybe because there were fewer horses. The traffic patterns were complete chaos!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Bill, maybe guys would wander around out there with a shovel and wheelbarrow. Safe enough, evidently.

        Like

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