Working is a part of most our lives that we cannot escape, and many of us wouldn’t want to. We enjoy interacting with others, making a difference, being independent. However, there are some people that we work with that can truly turn the best jobs into complete nightmares. Chances are, you work with a person that at best, mildly annoys you, and at worst, may drive you complete insane. You probably also wonder sometimes how you are perceived at your workplace and if you annoy others. Chances are, you will never please everyone, but there are five types of coworkers that most agree are completely cringe-worthy.

The Five Worst Kinds Of Coworkers

  • The Bully
  • The Slacker
  • The Inept
  • The Martyr
  • The Gossip

The Bully is probably the same person who stole everyone’s toys in the sandbox or called people names in high school. They have a deep-rooted lack of self esteem, and make themselves feel better by attempting to control or demean others. The best way to deal with a bully is to directly confront their behavior (unless you truly fear for your safety – then it’s probably time to get HR involved.) Tell them you recognize their bullying behavior and it won’t work on you.
The Slacker has any number of problems, from poor prioritization to lack of enthusiasm – they may also suffer from something like depression. The best tactic here may be one of compassion. Talk to the slacker one on one, and be honest. Say you notice they have trouble meeting deadlines, or are frequently absent, and that it affects you because you depend on them because you are a team. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to help.
The Inept are a truly difficult situation if they are truly inept. They shouldn’t be in their position if they are unable to perform their job. Again, try a compassionate route and ask if there’s something you can do to help. There may be something basic that they do not understand, and if that gets fixed, everything else will fall into place. However, some people receive positions because they know the boss, etc. In this case, there may not be much that you can do.
The Martyr is the person who takes on way too much work and then loudly complains about how much more work that they have than everyone else. They thrive on feeling that the department cannot run without them. They are also the ones who never miss work – meaning they come to work sick, spreading their germs to everyone else. The best way to deal with the martyr is to feed their ego a little, and insist they allow others to help. For example, “Mary, I don’t know how you do it! You’re really sick right now, and it must have been so hard to get out of bed! I insist you go home right now. We can’t have the whole office getting sick, and you need to get well as soon as possible so you can come back! That won’t happen unless you rest!”
The Gossip is probably someone who thinks knowledge is power, and someone who is slightly bored with their job. The key here is probably redirection rather than outright confrontation, which will likely cause a dramatic scene. When The Gossip begins to tell you about how she thinks someone from another department might be dating someone who is married from your department, gently steer the conversation elsewhere. “Wow, that’s crazy. Hey, can you help me for a second with my Outlook calendar? I can’t get it to add the meeting for next Friday.” When they attempt again, continue along those lines. If you refuse to engage every time, they will eventually stop gossiping to you.

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