Since my previous post, Office Oddities – Pet Peeves in the Workplace, was so well-received, I am back with a continuation as promised. In general, working in an office/cubicle is not so bad, but inevitably the people around you will end up doing little (or not-so-little) things that will send you searching for “work from home” opportunities. Here are some of my personal experiences, followed by anonymous contributions by readers:
We’ve all been there. You’re walking through the office like a normal human being, but then you hear footsteps getting louder and louder behind you. Suddenly your mind transports you to an Alfred Hitchcock film, but in reality it’s just an impatient, quick-paced coworker. The weirdest part is when they get right up behind you, but don’t pass you. Because THAT would be rude…better to make you feel like you’re about to get mowed down. I once likened the sound of those footsteps to the sound of a horse galloping, which made this meme fit the bill perfectly:
Pro Tip: The next time someone “Clerp Clerps” behind you, wait until they get really close and then stop short. Maybe a fender bender will make them obey the speed limit next time.
Conference Me Out
My cubicle happens to be directly outside of our large conference room. Whenever there is a big meeting with outside visitors, I know exactly what’s going to happen.
- Someone will come to my cubicle looking for extra chairs
- Someone will come out to ask me to direct them to the bathroom
- Someone will come out to ask me for miscellaneous office supplies. This annoys me because my Post-its® and pens are hard won after tangling with Rick (see previous post: Pet Peeves 1)
- When they take a break for lunch, people will mill about near my desk. And if I accidentally make eye contact with someone, they will try to make small talk with me until it’s time for them to go back in.
Pro Tip: Keep your earbuds in, even if nothing is playing. If someone approaches, bop your head up and down for good measure.
Woman’s Best Friend?
I work for a private-owned company. Which means the owner makes the rules, period. And one of those rules is that one of my coworkers gets to occasionally bring in her labradoodle. Now, I like dogs, and this is a friendly, quiet, albeit large dog. She doesn’t bark and she’s super friendly. But when I don’t know she’s in the office, and then I hear “clerp clerps” barreling toward me, my heart jumps into my throat. Especially since I can’t see her over the high cubicle walls. She roams around freely and once I saw her licking at the water cooler…that most of us use everyday (eek!). This is the story of my first encounter: In my peripheral, I saw a shadow in the conference room. I look over and see her face pressed against the window. I turned my head to tell my coworkers, but by the time they turned to look, the dog was gone. I thought I was hallucinating from working too hard so I had a Snickers in the name of self-care. All I’m saying is, it would be nice to have a little warning when she’s in the office so I don’t have a “I’m comin’ to join you Elizabeth” moment every time she runs past me.
Pro Tip: Either leave the pet at home or get a collar with a bell on it.
You’ve Got Mail
One of my biggest pet peeves in the office is when someone emails me with a question and before I can even finish reading the email, they’re calling me or standing in front of me waiting for an answer. One coworker in particular, “Monica”, is especially impatient. She wants what she wants when she wants it. And hey, I can respect that. But at least give the email preview a chance to pop up before you’re breathing down my neck!
Pro Tip: Always claim you’re right in the middle of an urgent project in order to buy yourself time to actually read the email.
Here are the contributions from anonymous readers:
- This one is from one of my current coworkers. We have a delivery guy who comes in every day either whistling or singing a tune. Loudly. Off key. From the minute he enters the building, to dropping off the packages, to looking for someone to sign for the packages, to exiting the building, he completely makes a spectacle of himself. Someone needs to tell him that he is NOT on Star Search!
- One reader mentioned that he hates to see people grooming at work. Even though I keep a comb and extra deodorant for emergencies, I agree. I have a coworker who has short nails, but can somehow clip them for 20 minutes. Now that’s talent.
- One of the most uncomfortable situations you can be in is to feel trapped while a coworker is telling an inappropriate/racist/political “joke”. I’ve had this happen to me a few times. Remember “The Creeper” from my first post? He/She once cornered me to tell me a racist joke (about a group of people to which neither of us belonged). I was so caught off guard and so confused about why he/she would think I would be the right audience for that kind of joke. I sat there stone-faced and refused to respond at all. I stared at him/her until he/she became as uncomfortable as I was and walked away.
- Eating someone else’s lunch – What kind of monster are you?! It’s one thing to accidentally take the wrong Lean Cuisine, but to take someone’s food that they spent time and money to make, is so obnoxious. Everybody leave with the lunch that brung ya!
- Popping gum/chewing with your mouth open. Stop.
So there it is folks. This list could be endless…keep sending in your pet peeves for future posts. Hope you enjoyed!
– R. Alexandria