Am I The Only One Who Can’t Stand My Co-Workers?
Working in an office often comes with a unique set of circumstances that can make your workday all the more…challenging. That’s right, I’m talking about dealing with the shenanigans of your co-workers. On good days, their antics provide just enough fodder to see you through the Monday blues. On bad days, your colleagues make you want to throw in the towel and chuck up the deuces.
Despite the fact that we operate on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis to meet the needs of numerous clients, my office is rather small. Given that, I would expect a more intimate, familiar setting than one I would experience in a larger company where entire floors and departments may be foreign to me. But we’re hardly a “Go team go!” type of company. Office morale? Not here. Instead, my coworkers mostly try to stay out of each other’s way. This is an attitude that took some getting used to. I understand the pressure we’re under since speed plays an integral role in the jobs we perform individually and collectively, but people often stay tethered to their desks, which, needless to say, limits human interaction. The combination of these elements creates a socially awkward environment.
Take for instance my coworker who refuses to use the restroom when anyone else is in the room. Never mind the fact that there are numerous stalls. Sometimes I wonder if she thinks people are going to discover her secret: “Oh, that’s how you pee? You mean I’ve been doing it wrong all these years?” When I’m in the bathroom and hear the clickety-clack of her heels, followed by the door swinging open and then the swift retreat of those heels, it makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable. I get that maybe she wants to use the restroom in peace, but she won’t always have that luxury at work. It’s even more annoying when she returns and discovers that someone is still in the bathroom, and then retreats yet again. It may not seem that serious, but I view this as one of many examples I’ve seen in the workplace where people try to avoid interaction at all costs, which makes for grumpier, unhappy and disconnected employees. We don’t have to be friends, but can we at least be cordial and communicate like the human beings we are?
Another grievance perpetrated by my coworkers is forgetting the fact that we work in a collective space, one that needs to be treated with respect: clean up after yourself. No one else will (or should) do it for you. Plus, there’s these things called germs, rodents and insects, which if we work together, can be avoided. But when people don’t respect the collective workspace, that’s when tensions get really heated. A worker’s recent decision to leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink for days on end resulted in the complete removal of dishware. That’s right, all the plates, cups and bowls have gone to dishware heaven (or to someone’s home). Office-wide emails were exchanged for days on the subject.
It started with one coworker asking the unknown dirty dish perpetrator(s) to clean up. When that didn’t work, lengthy emails flagged with high importance were sent demanding that dish users wash their utensils immediately after use. Next came the suggestion that dishes be removed entirely. Another unpopular idea was that we all get assigned time to wash dishes at the end of our respective shifts. Um, no. Since no one responded to the threats and the dishes remained, all of them were removed. Talk about unnecessary. What a waste of time and energy.
This all might seem incredibly petty and foolish, but when you spend most of your waking day at work in the company of mute co-workers with the pressures of a demanding workload, even the smallest things can take a toll on you…
What are some annoying habits you’ve had to deal with in your office?