Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Seven Ways to Deal with the Co-Worker Who is Driving You Nuts

OK, time to fess up. I don't care how nice you are, there's someone at work who is driving you nuts. It's either the guy who clips his fingernails while on the phone and leaves the droppings all over the floor, or the woman who complains nonstop about her worthless, freeloading kids. It could be the person who constantly interrupts, butting into your conversations or the guy who has to always trumpet his every success, no matter how small. ("I just reloaded my stapler!")

It’s not enough that you put in long hours on the job, sit in boring meetings and put up with irate customers. No, on top of the bad coffee and the elevator that always gets stuck between floors, you’ve got to put up with the aggravation in the next cubicle, also known as a co-worker.

You’re ready to crack. You like your job, but you can't stand another day with one or more of your co-workers. You don't want to complain to the boss -- how to explain that someone's nasal voice makes you want to shove your favorite snow globe up his nose?

Don’t despair. There is a way to handle a bothersome co-worker without screaming, quitting or running to the boss:

* Write down the things that really, really bug you. Separate personal issues (she laughs like a hyena) from the professional ones (she interrupts when you’re talking). It’s not your place to comment on personal pet peeves, but rather on the professional issues that prevent you from doing your job as efficiently and productively as possible. And remember: Only address issues that directly impact you.

* Speak to the person directly. Schedule some time with her, in a private area where you won’t be interrupted and she won’t feel compelled to lash out because she’s embarrassed in front of others. Be specific about your complaints. "You’re always interrupting,” isn’t helpful. Say, “I believe you interrupt me when I’m trying to make a point in team meetings.” Try to provide an example.

* Ask for change. Once you’ve outlined the problem, then be specific about what you want to happen. “When I’m speaking, I’d like to finish my sentence so that I can make sure all members of the team understand and then I’ll answer questions or listen to other opinions.”

* Be honest. If the co-worker’s actions are really ticking you off, then say so. Describe how frustrated you feel when she pops above the cubicle partition to offer her unsolicited advice. Remain calm while describing how you feel – it will have much more impact than pitching a fit.

* Cut to the bottom line. Make it clear that you’re not bringing up these issues because you’re a whiny sourpuss. State why the issue is important in a calm, serious way.

* Fess up. You need to be honest that you’ve let the issue go on too long without speaking up, or you should have communicated more strongly your beliefs. Make sure she understands that it stops now.

* Look for solutions. Let the other person save face by helping you come up with ways to stop the problem.

So, what's the thing that drives you crazy about your co-workers?

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Anonymous Erika said...

You made me crack up with the snowglobe line! One of my biggest pet peeves is the chronically tragic co-worker. This person is always having the worst day of their life, their problems are too readily apparent at work, and they seem to radiate misery. It's hard enough to be positive at work without acting like someone's therapist as well!

May 28, 2008 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Patricia said...

The interrupting one is high on my list.
Not listening to what I'm saying is another. Usually because they are interrupting.
Some co-workers take everything you say a little too personal.
Someone who takes credit when they really had only a small role in the project.
The co-worker who toots their own horn.
The co-worker who doesn't carry their own weight, but continually tries to get out of work.
The complaining employee. There is something wrong with EVERYTHING!
The mean-spirited employee - YIKES!


May 28, 2008 9:19 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Glad I gave you chuckle...I sincerely hope no one ever has to ruin a perfectly good snowglobe.
I know just the kind of person you're talking about...the drama queen. It's a wonder some offices don't bring back "fainting couches" for the truly overwrought.
Thanks for posting.

May 28, 2008 9:40 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Oy! You said a mouthful! The trouble is, these people are often blissfully unaware they make the reast of us bonkers. The question has gotta be: Who drives THESE people nuts???

May 28, 2008 9:43 PM  
Blogger About BullsEyeResumes.com said...

I shared your posting with my readers and did a follow-up post on using those same tips to deal with a boss who was driving you nuts here.

Check it out and let me know your thoughts.


June 5, 2008 1:37 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Wow! That's a tough subject, and one that we should all check out and discuss. I've left comments, but hope others will follow-up, as well.

June 5, 2008 4:08 PM  
Anonymous BloggingFun said...

Great tips!
The coworkers the hum while working and don't turn their cell phones or IM sounds off are what drive me nuts. Grr.

July 9, 2008 1:47 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Yeah...cell phones are a big source of controversy in the workplace, that's for sure!
I have to say, I didn't realize what a "loud" typer I was until someone pointed it out. I felt bad...and have worked to not bang the keyboard so hard when I type. Guess we think everyone else is annoying...but never us!
Thanks for posting.

July 9, 2008 1:59 PM  

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