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