Office Oddities – Pet Peeves in the Workplace

Every job has its own little annoyances, but I’m convinced that those who work in an office setting (especially in a cubicle) take the brunt of it all. In this post, I will share with you some of my biggest pet peeves in the workplace and a couple from anonymous contributors:

Hands Off

On my desk, I have two calendars; one is a Page-a-Day® calendar featuring “The 365 Smartest Things Ever Said!” and the other is an I Love Lucy picture calendar. I position them on the ledge of my cubicle facing out so that people passing by can stop, read the thoughtful quote, enjoy the funny picture, and move on. But apparently, I inadvertently set a trap for myself. There is one coworker who stops by almost every day, reads the quote and then wants to discuss it all day. I don’t mind a quick comment, but I don’t have time for a twenty-minute dissertation. And what makes it worse (so, so much worse), is that he/she can’t just stand there and read the quote; he/she has to see what the next day’s quote is so he/she LICKS HIS/HER FINGER to turn the page! UGH! I know there are still a few people left in the word who lick their fingers to turn a page, but do that with your own personal book, not someone else’s property! I am not in the habit of collecting DNA samples.

Copyright 2017 Workman Publishing Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Supply and Demand

One of my coworkers reminded me to include this example. At all my previous jobs, when you needed some Post-it® notes, staples, or a pen, you could just walk to the supply room at get it yourself.  Where I currently work, the office supplies are in a locked cabinet. And in order to get anything you have to ask the mailroom guy, “Rick”, to open it for you. Rick is not the easiest person to work with. He’s not a bad guy but everything he says is heavily laced in sarcasm and when you ask for something his immediate answer is “No!”. You normally have to go a few rounds with him to get what you asked for. I’m tired of having to jump through hoops for some binder clips! We’re all adults here (mostly). Why the security? We’re a publishing company; people are going to constantly need supplies. And if we have to show two forms of ID, give a fingerprint, and say the password every time we need to get past Rick, it’s going to slow down productivity.

Cover Up!

Is it just me or do we all have that one coworker who seems to have a cold year-round? It’s happened to me at every single job I’ve ever had. “Thelma” is the office cougher. It sounds like bronchitis (Ain’t nobody got time for that!) but she swears it’s just allergies. Riiiiiiiight. Maybe it’s just my imagination but she seems to cough especially hard whenever she walks by my desk. During the winter, her cough gets even worse. She was advised to go home early one day but she wanted to play the hero so she stayed and nearly killed us all. Recently I freaked out because she was walking toward me, coughed in her hand and then touched my shoulder to say “What a nice dress you have on”. My mind couldn’t even register the compliment because I was so grossed out.

I Was Talking

Things tend to get frenzied in the world of publishing and I don’t mind being interrupted if there is an emergency. But what I can’t stand is when “Sandra” doesn’t care what I’m doing because she thinks her work is more important than anyone else’s. If I’m speaking to another coworker, she’ll walk up to us and stare me down until I make eye contact. Then she waits until I take a breath and shouts out her question. And usually, it’s about something that could have waited. Even if I’m on the phone with an author, she’ll tiptoe over and wave. I give her a nod to let her know that I’ve registered her presence and that I know she wants to talk to me. But she takes that as the go-ahead to start talking. I’m glad we have swivel chairs…it’s my only escape.

From the Top

When someone needs something from me (that falls within my job description) I’m usually pretty quick to help. However, I can’t stand it when someone assumes that I know what they need, so they don’t fully explain. I have a coworker who always approaches with a chuckle when she needs something from me, and then proceeds to start in the middle of a conversation. Here’s a sort-of hypothetical example:

HER: *chuckle chuckle*

ME: What can I do for you?

HER: I don’t know why they’re asking me for it, but they need that article.

ME: Who? What article?

HER: The one where they were arguing about whether or not they should replace that table.

ME: What journal is this for?

HER: Can you send the editor a copy?

ME: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

HER: Thanks.


Help me to help you!

First Thing’s First

I know we’re all on deadlines in my office, but I really can’t stand it when someone runs up to me first thing in the morning to ask a question before my butt can hit the seat. Especially if it’s not an emergency. Trust me, you have a much better chance of getting what you want (and living to tell the tale), if you let me sit down and have a cup of coffee first.

Speaking of coffee, in my office we have a hardcore rule about no open coffee mugs at your desk. We are only allowed to use covered containers. We have beige colored carpets in the office and over the years they’ve gotten a little stained and worn. The owner paid for someone to come and shampoo the carpet and of course it was after that, that my coworker “Eugene” spilled coffee all over the place (and refused to clean it up). It was only a matter of time really…he is constantly zipping here and there with his head down, cell phone in one hand, coffee in the other.

Below is my favorite coffee mug. I use it every day and NEVER spill a drop, but I have to sneak it to my desk…thanks a lot Eugene!

Shout out to my brother and sister-in-law for the mug!

Bathroom Etiquette

One of my coworkers suggested that I include a section dedicated to our horrendous bathroom. You wouldn’t think that I’d have to say these things but alas…

  • Clean up after yourself – I was trying to find a tactful way to say this but I think it might be best if I just get straight to it…I don’t understand how a grown adult can leave poop on a toilet seat. Especially in a bathroom you share with several other women. Yet there it is almost every day. I have so many questions…Who? How? Why?
  • Wash. Your. Hands. In this office we share a refrigerator, a microwave, coffee pots, and a kitchen sink. And that’s all I’d like to share.
  • Please don’t start a conversation with me as I’m trying to pee. Let me focus on the topic at hand and I’ll be glad to get back to you at my earliest convenience.
  • It’s one thing to brush your teeth after lunch but I had a coworker who would redo her full face of makeup every day. She would spread her supplies (including a flat iron!) across the sink and you’d have to squeeze into a corner to wash your hands. Please repeat after me: “This is not my house, this is not my house…”

OK I can see now that this post is going to need a Part 2 in the near future because I have several more. What annoys you in your place of business? Drop a comment below!

R. Alexandria

Author: R. Alexandria

Since graduating college, I have had the honor/horror of working in publishing, which means that I am surrounded by creative and passionate individuals. The most valuable lesson I have learned is that “creative” is only a stone’s throw away from “crazy”. I’ve just about seen it all from my various cubicles over the years…from physical altercations to mental meltdowns. I created this blog to share with you some of the most hilarious, insane, frustrating, annoying, helpful, inspiring, and disgusting moments I have experienced in the workplace. I’ll also provide some tips should you ever find yourself in similar situations. These anecdotes reference situations from past and present (uh oh!) office positions. Names have been changed to protect the crazy innocent. Enjoy!

66 thoughts on “Office Oddities – Pet Peeves in the Workplace”

  1. I work a job where I’m not constantly in people’s spaces so I haven’t experienced much of these but my friends have quite the same experience as you. I’m looking forward to part two of this. It was an interesting read.

  2. This was such a great article! I could not stop laughing through the whole thing because I completely understand it all! I use to work for the United States Post Office, some of the crap we had to deal with was horrible, and from our own co-workers! Again this was such a great read, thanks for the laugh and sudden truth bomb in my face!

  3. LOLOLOL!! This is fantastic! I was seriously picturing some of my co-workers who do the exact same things! Thanks for sharing this, I really enjoyed it!

  4. Your post is soooo funny, but so true! I really can’t stand people too well and that’s from having to work with so many dysfunctional co-workers!

    I can’t wait to see what you have to share next.

  5. Am laughing! Yea with some people and some places we need to go through all this. anyway nice writing kept me occupied throughout. I always incorporating humor somewhere or here … CHeck my blog

  6. It is alway a delight to read your posts. Sucha treat, I love your writing style specially how detailed you are. Oh! And by the way I also love big mugs 🙂

  7. This is so accurate! I will follow future posts because I really like your humor. Plus nothing is funnier than humor about an office workplace.

  8. Hilarious post! I used to work in an office and all of the above applied. Now, I’m a teacher and the teachers’ lounge is something else entirely…! Maybe I should write about my pet peeves 😉

  9. Wow your posts are super hilarious and entertaining! I had a colleague who probably thought I was working for her because she would want me to accompany her everywhere. She was such an attention seeker. I literally had to sever my bond with her. Phew! So glad I did.

  10. That why I can`t work in big companies. For this, you have to have strong nerves. It is funny for me when I read it, but it is not funny to have every day.

  11. I work around people who seem like they have never worked in an office before. It is so rude when people are not curtious to others in the workplace.

  12. Agreed. Another peeve I have is when I am on vacation and some one fills in at my always come back to find everything moved. And the desk is sticky and covered with crumbs. Ick!

  13. Loved this! So true! I work in an elementary school and I know exactly what you’re talking about with the bathroom etiquette! What I want to scream out at them is “Dear God People we work with small children! We’re suppose to be teaching them these things! How’s that going to happen if you can’t do it yourself!”

  14. My biggest pet peeve is people eating other people’s food from the office fridge. Like I will share with you if you are hungry, just ask!

  15. Awesome article, reminds me of when I used to work at the old place before transferring out. It happens that way especially when you have multiple co-workers. Hope I made visit #667 for you haha

  16. Great article! I hope you shared this on LinkedIn. What gets me is the office sickie and the bathroom etiquette. What in ape sh…is wrong with these people? My last job I sat on the opposite wall of the men’s bathroom so I had the unfortunate opportunity to hear everything. And what I’d never hear is them washing their hands after they flushed. Then they’d come in the office and touch everything, ugh…you just touched your junk and now you’re handing me papers, wtf is wrong with you?

  17. Is it bad that I giggled throughout this entire list as I saw flashes of people I used to work with in my head? Even though I’m a SAHM now I so remember these issues and annoyances. I can’t wait to read your part two!

  18. Thank you for this hilarious but very true post! Thankfully, my office cubicle days are long gone. Working from home now. Just me and the dog, except when the husband has the nerve to take a day off and hang out in my space. Grrrr.

  19. Oh the joys of an office job. All of your points made me chuckle. Are you getting the same calander for next year? I’m not sure I could stick to the mug rule. I want a nice cup of tea out of my own nice mug thank you.

  20. Ugghh… HATE the finger licking turning page action. I mean, we should all be civilized enough not to do this! Don’t put up with it, say something!

  21. We can relate this to our daily office colleagues. Some good, some annoying and some like us, that’s what working place is made of. Nice article by making it in parts of short stories.

  22. I wondered if it was only my workplace but it looks like, across the globe :), you meet so many kinds of people at the workplace with varied behavior. Light and relatable post 🙂

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