5 Types of Irritating Co-Workers and How to Deal

Annoying CoworkersNo matter how much research you do on a potential employment opportunity, there’s always one thing that’s completely out of your control—your co-workers. After you’re hired, you might find yourself in a situation with at least one – if not several – folks that you just don’t get along with. Do any of these types of people sound familiar?

The Chatterbox

This person is great at starting up a conversation—and keeping it going for too long. She might also be a frequent gossiper, constantly talking about other co-workers, your supervisor, customers, clients, etc. If you aren’t careful, she can rope you in and make you miss out on valuable time to work on your assignments.

How to deal: Be assertive. Let him or her know that you need to get back to work. Stay professional and resist the urge to get angry. Simply saying, “Sorry, I’ve got to go finish something up,” should do the trick.

The Lazy One

While you’re slaving away, this lazy co-worker is playing games on his computer, talking on the phone to friends or family, or wandering around the office. You never see him doing any actual work.

How to deal: As difficult as it may be to ignore it, try your best. It’s probably not affecting your work, so you shouldn’t be concerned with him. Don’t assume that your boss isn’t doing anything about the situation—they may have already addressed the issue with the individual in a quiet manner. If it does start affecting your work (like if his work gets dumped on you), it’s time to say something to your boss.

The Time Mis-Manager

She never shows up on time. She constantly misses deadlines, skips meetings and takes long lunches. They always have an excuse—but you have a hard time believing someone can have that many car issues or family obligations.

How to deal: Again, as hard as it is, ignore it. Her actions will catch up with her in due time. Your manager likely already has noticed the pattern and may have brought it up with her. Try not to get assigned any major projects with this person, as you’ll end up doing most of the work.

The Negative Nancy

This guy never has anything good to say—whether he’s talking about a new company product, recent client, new company practices, or co-workers, it’s always negative. He likes sharing this negativity with everyone by loudly complaining and groaning at every chance he gets. He drives you crazy and puts you in a bad mood.

How to deal: Be thankful that you’re not coming across this way in your professional life. He’s obviously unhappy in his life or career. Don’t take him too seriously. He might eventually realize how sour his attitude is when his career is at a standstill and none of his co-workers want to listen to his complaints.

The Know-It-All

Everyone has dealt with a “know-it-all” at some point in their career. She might constantly correct you, tell you how to do something a “better” way, or tell you her opinion on your assignments. Be polite by simply saying, “Thanks, I’ll think about that,” when they offer their input on something—even if it’s often unsolicited. Remember that you’re probably not the only one feeling frustrated by this individual’s actions when you feel your temper flaring.

Do you have a story to share about one of the above types of irritating co-workers? What other types would you add to this list?

Guest Expert:

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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  1. Susan says:

    Couldn’t have put it any better myself! If people are more aware of these coworker ‘types’, then perhaps they could learn how to cope with them better.

  2. Hi Heather,
    Great post with a witty touch. There is much productivity lost from these irritating moments and thus well worth addressing. People-skills matter when there is more than just you in your life!

    Here are two posts that gives some additional tips on tough office moments:


    I am so glad I found your post. We share a strong interest in people-skills for the workplace.

    Thanks and regards,

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