We all have that one coworker. The one who critiques you on the font size of your email, or who maybe feels inclined to remind you that your lunch break is 30 minutes. Other times, this coworker might use your absence from the office on a particular day as an excuse for why his/her work didn't get done. Either way, to be truly irritating in the office, there are 7 key habits and characteristics that help define some of the most annoying people ever. The adage about suckers at the poker table applies well to identifying the annoying person in the office - if you can't spot 'em, its you.
1.) Prioritize nothing, treat everything like it is an emergency
We've all been there. It's Monday morning, your (football/baseball/basketball) team was playing a late Sunday night game and you are exhausted on a day that is already exhausting in and of itself. Most people in the office on a Monday are likely to give you plenty of space and breathing room, what with it being Monday and all - but not the irritating coworker. Why give you your space when they can call you at 7am freaking out that the janitorial staff did not properly clean the coffee pots, or to interrupt a meeting to inform you that there is a salesman at the front desk who desperately needs to talk to you. Obviously, there are serious orders of business that transpire throughout the course of a business day, where things actually are an emergency and you need to address them immediately - but don't count on the irritating coworker to be able to sort out which item to bring up first. Now as you're reading this you might be thinking, "well those are just actions of dumb receptionists" - which is mostly true, but this lack of intelligence renders the coworker mentally unable to prioritize things, and so the default is to treat everything like it is the end of the world (this sentence might imply that all dumb people are annoying - a maxim I myself do not believe but you are free to reach your own conclusions).
2. Don't Listen, Just Speak
I want to be clear. This is an annoying habit that each and every one of us is guilty of. We all do it in social settings - we are literally just waiting for you to finish talking so that we can say our bit. That is not what I am talking about here. Here, I am referring specifically to work-related (and not social) instances of talking over other people. Wait for them to finish talking, then say exactly what they just said to you but in your own words, proving that you are smarter and more important to the person you are "conversing" with. A truly gifted irritating person will not only fail to listen to you and then say your own thoughts back to you, but will repeat themselves multiple times - beating you over the head with your own argument.
3. Nitpick Everything, Always
I am by no means picking on people with disabilities who have OCD which is a serious psychiatric condition (thanks Grover), however being anal retentive is a surefire way to boost your annoying capital. If you truly want to get under your coworkers' skin, look for any and all errors or possible flaws and escalate to the most important person you can find (or whomever is closest). Does a spreadsheet need to be colored Burnt Sienna and not Brown? Did you list '13 instead of 2013? Did you show up to work at 9:02 and not 9:00? In line with treating everything like it is an emergency (see irritating habit 1), you should treat every potential mistake as if the person just sold your soul to Satan himself. A truly gifted irritating person can manage to irritate the person they are ratting out along with the person they are complaining to, and somehow get a promotion out of it.
4. Treat The Office as Your Personal Space
We all bring in pictures of our family (or maybe just keep the generic family photos that come with the frame), or maybe posters and pennants of our favorite teams, but to truly be an irritating coworker, you need to step it up a notch. Bringing in slippers to wear as you take your heels off is a great way to start. Not only do you insult everyone by implying that your comfort needs are above the needs of everyone else, but more often than not your feet start to sweat - causing an unpleasant odor. On that subject, a highly irritating person can irritate you without even being in the same room. Wear way too much cologne/perfume so that even after you've left the room people are reminded of how much you suck. Another way to ensure that the office is just another wing of your personal space: when you use the kitchen, please keep in mind that this is your kitchen. Sure, other people have the right to use it, but if you get there first they are just going to have to wait until you are finished. It doesn't matter that you spend up to 3 hours a day in the kitchen since it takes forever to slice bananas and carefully place into your cereal - THIS IS YOUR KITCHEN!!! Also, feel free to throw out other peoples things with wanton disregard - because it looks like it has gone bad, because the food is unhealthy, because the food is in a Steelers lunch pail and you are a Ravens fan. Finally, in truly selfishly-annoying coworker spirit, do all of your Christmas/Birthday/Valentines day shopping right there in the office and then have all of the packages delivered to the office. Your receptionist is bored and would love nothing more than to lug the new encyclopedia set you bought to the 3rd floor where they keep all of the annoying people.
5. Organize Frequent Time-Wasting Spectacles
To be truly annoying, you have to waste your coworkers time. Nothing is a better waste of time then to celebrate something that might or might not need celebrating. Pregnant coworker? Let's have a baby shower (you too fellas)! Cinco De Mayo? Let's go to Chile's as an office (you will have to pay for your own meal)! You got engaged? Let's rent the Notebook and watch it as an office! Does somebody, somewhere have a birthday in the office? Let's get cake!!!!!!!!
6. Mix 3 Parts Complaining with 1 Part Hard Work
Time to be real. Possibly the most annoying thing about irritating coworkers is the fact that yes, they somehow manage to get work done (unfortunate because if they didn't get work done they would just be irritating but no longer a coworker). How does the irritating coworker get around this? Simple. They have a annoying recipe where they mix 1 part hard work with 3 parts complaining. To simplify, let's break it down this way: irritating coworker gets assigned work and immediately complains; irritating coworker begins work but complains throughout the entire assignment; irritating coworker continues complaining long after said assignment is over. Thus, with a before/during/after triple-whammy of complaining, the irritating coworker is somehow able to get work done while simultaneously being annoying.
7. Solve Every Problem with a Passive-Aggressive Note
I've saved this one for last as this is the icing on the cake for annoying people - for them it is like winning SB MVP in addition to winning the Super Bowl. Leave incredibly annoying passive aggressive notes all throughout the office. From something as simple as "hey, I stopped by" on someone's monitor to "you forgot to clean the coffee pot" in the kitchen, post-it notes were created with one purpose: to be annoying. As I have said this is the characteristic that will place someone on an irritating coworker all-star team. That being said, if you can find a way to create passive-aggressive notes via email, you might find yourself being named the MVP of that all-star team.
Tune in next week where I'll be discussing annoying people on the highway, including driving slow in the fast lane, leaving debris on the road, and PT Cruisers.