Girl Talk Career Blog

June 21, 2010

Ghastly-Workers and How to Deal

Girlfriend we’ve all worked with difficult co-workers before and sometimes we’ve been stymied when it comes to maintaining a professional relationship with them.  Not fun but it happens and as long as you’re in the work force that will probably be the case from time to time.  Hey, that’s life.  Here are a few of my personal “favourites” and some suggestions as to how to deal:

1.   The Control Freak.  I worked with a CF once.  Her name was
       Gloria.  Gloria hated it when I had to leave the office and work
       next door for a different department.  One day she yelled loudly
       about it and told me I had to stay in our office and do some work here (my work was completed).  Gloria wasn’t my supervisor!  That was someone else and he had specifically requested that I work next door whenever I had the time.  How to deal:  I have no idea why me doing extra work for another department agitated this woman so much.  I told her she was not permitted to act in the capacity of a supervisor with me and I left the office to go ahead and work next door.  Now, I would handle it a little differently probably by meeting with her when she’d calmed down and telling her that I wouldn’t tolerate her tantrums and that she was to mind her work and I would mind mine.  I don’t know.  Inferiority complex perhaps?

2.   The Slacker.  It amazes me how many people take a job then exert a great deal of effort … at avoiding work while managing to look busy.  How about doing your actual job instead?  Most higher-ups aren’t clueless as to what is happening below and as soon as layoffs hit you know very well that the least productive among us are going to be shown the door firstHow to deal:  Unless that person’s productivity affects my work and my results with a project or with my daily tasks I wouldn’t interfere.  Of course if I’m her supervisor that’s a different story entirely.  Then it is my job to straighten her out.

3.  The Drama QueenEverything’s an emergency!  She’d suit the role of Chicken Little, running about and shrieking “the sky is falling!”  Of course most of the emergencies are about her and not necessarily her work responsibilities.  How to deal:  If she distracts you and tries to pull you away from your work you can’t allow it.  You’ve go to be firm with the DQ and tell her you’re unable to help her and perhaps she should speak to management?  Otherwise ignore her.  Actresses respond to an audience, so don’t be hers.

4.  Dazed and Confused.  Now I actually feel sorry for DC.  Sometimes this woman seems clueless when she’s not.  She’s intelligent enough or she wouldn’t be employed.  It’s quite possible that DC has a learning disability that makes it difficult for her to process incoming information, especially when it’s strictly verbal.  How to deal:  When you get paired up with DC to work on a project, break her role down into simple steps for her.  Assign her no more than 3 simple tasks.  Write them down for her so she can cross them off when she completes them.  Stay patient. She really is doing her best.

5.  The Bully.  Of all the office co-workers this is the one I believe needs to be put in her place and fast.  No one should work with a bully, whether its the boss, the boss’s boss, or your colleague. How to deal:  When she tries her attitude out on you stand up for yourself (literally).  Keep your cool. The more you lose control of your emotions the more she will bully you. When you are calm let her know you weren’t hired to be abused.  Document the encounter in writing.  If it happens again, document it and get yourself into the boss’s office.  Sometimes mediation is the only answer to the office bully’s tirades.

For a full, fun, frightful list of co-workers from hell click this link to a powerpoint presentation I put together all by my little self:  27 Ghastly Co-Workers and How to Deal with Each and Every One of  Them


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