Whether you realize it or not, everyone has a reputation in the workplace. Every office has the one who is always cracking jokes, the one who is always bringing treats, the one who talks too loud, etc. Below is a list of things to be aware of, so you don’t end up being the coworker that everyone in the office tries to avoid.
- The One Who Can’t Take a Hint
I once worked with a woman who was completely oblivious when it came to other people’s personal space. She was a “Close Talker” (we all remember that Seinfeld episode right?) and would stand over my cubicle, leaning forward, to talk to me. Especially when she needed to whisper. Ma’am. You are TOO close…just write me an email! The worst is when she would come to me to ask a question and I would have to look up the answer on my computer. She’d walk into my cubicle and stand over my shoulder. How do you politely tell someone to get away from you? I’m not the one to ask, because I flat out had to ask her to back away. Now, as far as she’s concerned, I’m the one with the reputation of not wanting to keep people at arm’s length. There are worse things…I’ll take it.
- Office Odor
Nothing feels more invasive than when your nostrils are being assaulted. I used to have a male coworker who put on so much cologne, it would literally choke me. He got it in Europe and was so proud of his new fancy scent that he made sure to pour it on and let everyone know how exclusive it was. I don’t care if your cologne is from Europe or the dollar store…if you bathe in it, no one is going to want to be close to you.
I had another coworker whose scented hand lotion was WAY too strong. I finally had to tell her that I thought I was allergic, just to get her to scale back. It worked and I’m not sorry.
Whether it’s too much perfume or not enough deodorant, the quickest way to lose friends in the office is to have the reputation as the smelly one.
- Excuse Me?
Making a mistake at work can be nerve-racking, but the best thing to do is take responsibility and try to fix it. Unless of course you’re that one coworker who has to have an excuse for everything. Over the years I have heard some pretty lame excuses for huge mistakes. People get especially creative when thinking of a reason to offer for being late or absent. Plenty of people have used a variation of the classic “car trouble” excuse, but once you start with “I hit a deer and the road was flooded, then I was pulled over for speeding and ran out of gas,” you’ve gone too far. It’s entertaining to watch people spin their web, but if you don’t want to be the one with the reputation for being full of excuses, just tell it straight.
- Coworker Courtship
OK, we’re all adults here. Office romances are becoming more and more common. After all, when you spend most of your time at work, it’s rather convenient to link up someone in the office. But if you’re a naturally flirtatious person, you may want to keep yourself in check at work. If you “playfully” flirt with several coworkers in front of other people, that’s all it takes for the rumors to start flying. And whether or not they’re true, that’s not what you want to be known for at work. You want your name to be synonymous with the great work you do, not the way you bat your eyelashes at whoever sits across from you in a meeting. Play it safe and keep it professional.
- Cubicle Chatter
Speaking of gossip, being the office loudmouth can be a gift and a curse. On one hand, when there’s dirt to dish, you’ll suddenly find everyone cozying up to you. But this popularity is short-lived. Because once someone is trying to hide their own dirt, the last thing they want is to be around a scandalmonger (OK, I was totally looking for an excuse to use this word). Not to mention, when the ish hits the fan, your name is bound to be in the mix. Be careful about who you trust with any information! Even though a little tea never hurt anybody…
So if you’re wondering why you’re never invited out to lunch, or why people flee when you enter a room, make sure you don’t have one of the reputations listed above. If you have any more to add to my list, drop a comment below!
– R. Alexandria