5 Types of Co-Workers
In honor of my 5 Types of Difficult Bosses entry, here is it’s wondrous sequel. I removed the “difficult” element in this one, because not all co-workers are difficult. Bosses, however are another story. Maybe that’s just how I feel.
1. Gabrielle the Grabber
Gabrielle likes to saunter over to your cube, “talk” to you for a few moments, then “borrow” your stapler. “I hope you don’t mind if I take this for a few moments,” she’ll say, “I just need a way to keep the pages of my report together.” Right.
Of course “a few minutes” in her world really means “forever.” Gabrielle never seems to have the right supplies to do her job. If the item is small enough, you’ll never see it again. If it’s a big thing, like your entire desk, you’ll probably get it back eventually.
How to Deal With Gabrielle: Easy. Just walk over to her desk a short time after she has taken your stapler, pencil, sense of humor (or all three) and ask for it back. If she says she lost it, or pretends to search for it through her drawers, just stand firm.
Also, don’t let her borrow anything from you again. If she gets upset, just tell her you need the requested item at the present time. She can find get her supplies from some other sap.
2. Steve the Surfer
Steve doesn’t do any work whatsoever. He simply sits at his desk and surfs the net all day. It’s a wonder that this dude hasn’t been fired twelve times over. Steve is usually found in large companies that have multiple”tech support” positions without a lot of overhead. The larger the division, the more that Steve can blend in, helping out when called upon, but mostly collecting a paycheck while checking his e-mail and watching videos on You Tube all week. Nobody seems to notice or care that Steve is doing the equivalent of 45 minutes of work in a 40-hour work-week.
How to Deal With Steve: Since he never bugs anybody, you don’t have to do much at all. If you need him to help you with a project though, you may have a problem. As long as you keep on top of his activities and remind him that he is helping you out with something that is important (at least to you), he shouldn’t cause you too much trouble.
3. Peg the Gossip
While I was tempted to continue my pattern of starting each co-worker description and name with the same first letter, I couldn’t resist Peg. Every office gossip is named Peg. She’s constantly yapping about all your co-workers, your bosses, the window-washer’s wife, and you. Every office has a Peg (in more ways than one) and every office social scene suffers from Peg’s bantering. I hate to stereotype here, but does anybody know anyone who is named Peg who was born after about 1962? I certainly can’t think of anybody.
Peg makes life difficult for you (as if being stuck in a prison all day isn’t difficult enough) because she is also miserable. The only difference between Peg and you is that Peg takes her misery out on everyone around her by badmouthing people and spreading rumors. She’s tough to deal with, but there are ways.
How to Deal With Peg: The best way is just not to deal with her. Don’t let her gossip TO you about other people either. Just be polite and tell her you have work to do. The less you enable her behavior, the less she’ll spread rumors. If everyone refused to be an enabler for Peg she’d either stop her gossip, quit, or be fired anyway.
A bee that can’t gather any honey in a flower will simply fly on.
If this doesn’t work, you can try reporting her for sexual harassment. This is a lot more fun than ignoring her anyway, and it may make your dull day at the office more interesting.
4. Ronda Rulemeister
Ronda does everything by the book, and will not hesitate to remind you if you don’t do the same. If your computer crashes and she is standing next to you, she’ll make sure you reboot the machine exactly the right way without (heaven forbid) risking losing some precious office desktop icons. She’ll tell you not to eat at your desk or surf the net. She’s the person whose mere presence makes Steve the Surfer close his browser window in fear when she walks by his cube.
How to Deal With Ronda: She is a bit like The Micromanager (listed in my entry about the 5 Types of Difficult Bosses.) Her key weakness is that she isn’t your boss. Make sure to remind her of this fact liberally and sternly. She’ll leave you alone eventually if you treat her as someone who is on an equal playing field.
5. Dan the Delegator
Dan the delegator has a lot of hard work to do, and so do you. So what does Dan do? He dumps his workload on to your lap. Sometimes he will quite literally throw a stack of papers at you and “ask” if you can do them for him because he is on a “tight deadline.” He asks everyone else for help and rarely takes any initiative to begin a big project on his own. He tries to get by on doing the minimum work possible and will never offer to do something himself. One sure sign that you’ve got a “Dan” on your hands is when he asks you to grab something off the printer for him that is ten feet from his desk and you are on the other side of the room.
How to Deal With Dan: Use a similar technique as you did with Ronda. Remind him that he is not your boss and that you happen to have your own work to do that is just as important as his work is. Don’t be an enabler, either. If you start doing his projects for him you’ll likely be asked for assistance more often, and any time you refuse he’ll act offended and get upset. He may even throw a tantrum like a spoiled child. He’ll tell on you. Good times.
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