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How To Deal With Annoying Co-Workers

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

Do you work with one or more co-workers who SERIOUSLY annoy you? Is there someone in your office whose habits and behavior patterns just “drive you crazy?” When you’re working eight hours a day in close quarters – or even in cubicles – some would say that it’s only a matter of time before some of your colleagues will really start to get on your nerves. This problem is much more common than you might think!

I recently appeared on NBC television in Washington, DC to discuss this very topic. It was amazing to hear what the viewers had to say – and it was frightening to learn about some of the most offensive co-worker behaviors. Here are just a few of the “charming” quotations viewers shared as examples of annoying behavior demonstrated by their colleagues:

  • “The way my co-workers clear their throats and chew their food”
  • “My co-workers don’t do their jobs, they just cause undue hardship on others in the department”
  • “She snaps her chewing gum constantly, while she talks on the phone all day to her friends”
  • “He eats yogurt and even when the cup is empty, he continues to scrape the bottom with a plastic spoon”
  • “She butts into my conversations, and then takes the credit for my work”
  • “They play computer games and shop online all day”
  • “He can be incredibly annoying by just standing there – it doesn’t take much”
  • “She talks much too loudly – to everyone – all day long”
  • “He has such a strange style of laughing – and he seems to laugh at everything”
  • “She wipes her nose on her arms”
  • “She has terrible personal hygiene – and she just smells – but no one will tell her”
  • “He’s always digging wax out of his ears with the end of a pen”
  • “She hums the same tune over and over, for days on end”

Isn’t it hard to believe that some individuals can be so unaware of how their behaviors are affecting others in the workplace? Yet, we see these sorts of issues arising at almost every company!

How does this impact your productivity?

Under circumstances like these, it’s easy to see why you just can’t wait until 5:00pm to get away from these colleagues!

Annoying behavior, and the interoffice bickering it often creates, can be costly. If the annoying behavior doesn’t stop, it will definitely decrease your productivity. You’ll do just about anything to avoid the annoying person, which can keep important work from getting done. You’ll be frustrated and grow more and more unhappy on the job, so you’ll probably start arriving at work later and leaving earlier than usual – which also diminishes productivity.

What does this do to your morale?

If you can resolve the issue with the perpetrator within a reasonable period of time, your morale shouldn’t be affected very much at all. But if your complaints go unanswered, and nothing is done about the problem, you may become very disillusioned and demoralized. Nobody likes to be in a work situation where they don’t feel listened to.

What can you do if this situation becomes extreme?

Your best approach will be to diplomatically let your colleague know that some of his or her actions are annoying you. Believe it or not, the other person who is displaying this annoying behavior simply may not be aware of what they’re doing! Once he or she hears your complaint, the offending habits may simply stop.

After trying to address the issues directly with the annoying co-worker, if that doesn’t work, take your comments to management. At that point, it’s really the responsibility of the department supervisor or the senior manager to address these kinds of problems.

If your complaints continue to “fall on deaf ears” and nothing changes, try to get transferred to another department or function. And if THAT doesn’t work, it’s probably time to look for a new job at a different company!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach, speaker and author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles have appeared in thousands of publications and web sites, and he has been interviewed on every major television and radio network. Ford has also conducted presentations at hundreds of companies, associations and universities. Learn more at


FORD R. MYERS is an award-winning, nationally-known Career Coach, best-selling author and speaker. He is the President of Career Potential, LLC, a premier provider of career success services. Through powerful individual, corporate and government career programs, Ford has helped thousands of clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve!

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