If you’ve ever worked anywhere, chances are you’ve worked with another person -- and not necessarily a person that you’d be caught dead hanging out with in your personal life. You may not like them, but you have to do what you can to work cohesively. That gets even harder when that person engages in behaviors that annoy the living crap out of you.
Some of the annoying things that co-workers do have been going on since time immemorial -- from bringing in stinky lunches loaded with day-old fish to nose-picking in public or wearing way too much cologne.
But in the modern workplace, there are a whole new set of annoyances to contend with. Just as your friends are suddenly, annoyingly more interested in their smartphones than they are in engaging in a scintillating dinner conversation, your co-workers are also afflicted by the trappings of the digital age.
So behold, a list of the things that your co-workers do that drive you crazy -- with a digital age twist.
See Also: Dealing with a Toxic Coworker
1. The Not-so-Silent Notifications
Is it really necessary to have your phone’s ringer on as loud as possible in the middle of the workday? Or to insist on having notifications pop up -- loudly -- for every little thing that happens in your online world? It’s one thing to want to know when your kids’ daycare provider is calling to report that you have a sick kid, but really, do you need to be notified every time someone sends you a Twitter direct message, or likes one of your photos? All that dinging and ringing is bound to drive your co-workers batty. Even having your phone set on vibrate can be an annoyance to the person sitting in the cubicle just adjacent to yours. The office is already fraught with enough distractions that threaten to derail your productivity -- so it’s best if your co-workers’ phones aren’t part of the fray.
2. Online Video Games -- and Even Gambling
And speaking of bells, whistles, dings and other loud sounds -- what about the co-worker who uses work time to mess around online? Whether it’s finishing their latest building in Minecraft, playing online slots or even spending a little too much time engaged in words with friends, the sounds of their game-playing -- as well as the fact that they’re slacking on doing their jobs -- can be downright annoying. And let’s not even get into talking about the co-worker who pulls up his favorite porn site in the middle of the open office...
3. The Work Day as Personal Time
And how about those co-workers who think that their first few hours of work are the perfect time to open mail, talk to their spouses about what’s for dinner, or otherwise catch up on their personal stuff? Sure, the modern workplace often requires that workers spend more time in the office than was once customary -- but that doesn’t mean that those first glorious hours on the job should be plagued by personal interruptions.
4. Open Office Woes
If you’re working in a place that’s adopted the open office concept, then you’re probably well aware of how the lack of a cubicle wall can impact your love (or lack thereof) for your workmates. Suddenly, the way that your co-worker disgustingly chews that bagel -- overloaded with cream cheese -- is visible for all to see. Now, you get to be privy to how another co-worker bugs his eyes out when he’s concentrating, or how that other colleague nervously scratches her head when she’s on the phone. Truth be told, the open office concept can lay bare all of the normal, yet pretty disgusting habits of the human race.
Sometimes, that little bit of privacy that those three half-walls provide is well worth the stigma that comes with "working in a cubicle." Your employers might have thought they were being so progressive in adopting that open office concept -- but then again, they may have just been too cheap to spring for those half-walls.
5. The Over-Sharer (Online and Otherwise)
Tell me, did you really want that miserable photo of you toiling away in your cubicle blasted into cyberspace for all of your friends to see? While there’s no denying that you work in a cubicle, that annoying co-worker doesn’t have to share it with the world. What’s more, it’s probably better that she didn’t share the details about her personal health problems or the fight she had with her boyfriend either. That’s one iteration of the annoying over-sharing co-worker, but there’s more. In addition to over-posting and just generally jamming up everyone’s feed with useless information (why didn’t you unfriend her a long time ago? Oh yeah, you have to work with her and get along.) but she’s also doing it in person. Once again, that open floor plan office is coming back to bite you, allowing that over-sharing co-worker to stop in and talk about her "problems" any old time she pleases. If anything is going to get you to turn into a hermit, that sure will.
6. The Over-Workers
If you work in a startup or in an emerging industry, chances are that your corporate culture dictates, in not so many words, that you stay at work longer than the standard eight-hour workday. That’s OK if you knew that when you took the job -- and most people in that scenario will put in the extra hour or two that’s "required" without too much fuss. Then again, there are the overachieving people in every workplace who conspire to make you look bad by putting in even more time than everyone else.
True, they may be spending half of that time playing foosball or sipping the free company beers and palling around with the higher-ups, but unfortunately, those higher-ups are going to remember your overachieving co-worker as the one who’s always willing to go the extra mile.
You already went the extra mile yourself by putting in that extra hour or two, but too bad, your annoying co-worker just negated any props you were about to get for that effort.
7. The Regularly Scheduled Sick Day
Then again, there are those co-workers who always seem to be "out sick" whenever you need them. Start looking at the calendar and you may notice a pattern; they might come down with the stomach flu every month, on the day when that important final report is due -- or they may be the type to tack their "sick day" onto a Monday or Friday, when they’ll get a three-day weekend to "recuperate." It’s not necessarily an annoyance that’s exclusive to the modern workplace, but having to rely on a colleague who’s committed to using up all of their allotted sick time can still be pretty trying.
8. Talking in Code
Whatever industry you’re in, there’s probably a certain language you use around certain processes specific to your industry. In marketing, for example, you might talk about "verticals" or "metrics" a lot. Likewise, there is a wealth of acronyms out there that related to pop culture. Think LOL, LMAO or OMFG.
But OMFG, there’s a time and a place for all of those terms -- and there is such a thing as using any of them too much. It might be perfectly acceptable to use the term "vertical" when you’re in a marketing meeting with a client and you’re trying to impress someone, but it can be downright annoying to hear that type of language spew from a colleague’s mouth when you’re just having a casual conversation around the office water cooler. Using too many industry-specific terms is an annoying habit that makes someone sound too stuffy -- while using too many web-related acronyms is one that makes someone sound like they’re trying too hard to be cool. In both cases, it’s no wonder that you’re ready to stick a hanky into your co-worker’s mouth by the end of the work week.