18 Dec

5 People to Avoid at the Office

By Erika Turan, APR

Want to get ahead? It can be as easy as associating yourself with the right people, but sometimes more importantly by disassociating yourself from the wrong ones.

After a varied career spanning a couple decades, I feel I’ve worked with, for, and dangerously close to nearly every type of person there is on the planet. Note: I did not say every person, I said every type of person. Let’s just clear that up now.

So, in my experience, here are the ones you want to avoid at all costs:

  1. The Time Sucker. You know her when you see her coming. She’s going to tell you about her weekend. She’s going to tell you about what she’s making for dinner tonight. She’s going to tell you, in great detail, about her new pair of shoes, where she got them, how much she paid for them and all of the outfits they’ll go with. She’s perfectly lovely and nice, but somehow two hours from your workday have disappeared and the only place you have to look to find the lost time is your conversations with her.
  2. The Ethics Bender. “Come on,” he says, rolling his eyes when he tosses a ream of paper in his bag to take home. “It’s not like the company will miss it.” He’s the guy who isn’t doing anything really illegal, per se, but is happy to justify how he bends office policies, rules and ethics to suit his needs. Lunches that routinely creep toward an hour and a half, shaving time off the beginning and end of the workday, an inordinate amount of time spent checking Facebook…it’s all unethical and only a matter of time before he’s caught.
  3. “Somebody put poison in the well!” Negative Nellie, Debbie Downer…whatever name you know her by, she never has anything good to say. And she might as well be poisoning the well water. Listen to her long enough, and you’ll be sucked into that vortex: management is unfair; we have too much work and too few people; they should pay for our coffee/parking/pedicures; can’t believe our bonuses were so small…name it, and she’s complaining about it.

Do you have an issue? Raise it constructively with your boss, and offer some solutions. If that didn’t work, and you’re unhappy, then don’t stick around and make everyone else unhappy. Move on.

  1. The Narcissist. Run, run far away from the office narcissist. He’s into himself and his career. He’ll toss you under the bus. He’ll take credit for your work. He doesn’t have your back. He’s creepy and icky. Find a way to stay away.
  2. The “No” Guy. Yup, he says “nope” to everything. Brainstorming sessions aren’t much fun, because he pokes holes in every idea floated out there. Maybe you have a solution to a tough problem…he’s the guy who will say “we tried that five years ago, before your time. Didn’t work.”

Push back on him. Stand your ground assertively, argue your point politely and articulately. Work around him.

There are, of course, others you have to avoid. But I’m assuming you have a great deal of common sense and don’t need to have it spelled out. Just in case you’re wondering who some of those others are: goobers, goofballs, nitwits, tools, ninnies and psychopaths.

In a perfect world, these people wouldn’t exist at your office. So do what you can to document bad behavior and present it to your boss and/or Human Resources. Most companies will take action to correct the behavior, or escort it out the door.

What kind of person do you avoid at the office?


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