The World According to Cachia

All Hail the Annoying Co-Worker

John Cachia - Thursday, July 28, 2016

One of the (I’d say) pitfalls of working in an open office environment are dealing with those pesky co-workers… and whilst it’s good to be able to work in a team environment and to draw from the respective skills and experiences of those around you; alas people are people and as such notwithstanding their professional skills, their personal habits leave much to be desired.

Working in the beautiful science that is HR, I have, over many MANY years, had the opportunity to work with people from broad and diverse backgrounds and I have been privy to my fair share of conflicts and counselling sessions where personalities where the reason for the conflict. Professional courtesy forbids me to disclose all of the matters discussed, however one universal issue that continues to arise, is the annoying co-worker.

I am presently working in an ‘open office plan’ - thanks to the 1990’s suggestion that this would be a great idea that would contribute to good working relationships and accessibility to all; especially the manager! Notwithstanding, I am reminded of all those individual idiosyncrasies that people have: those habits that people bring to work, that they have no issues with, but drive their colleague MAD!!! Perhaps these are acceptable at home (although I’d wonder about a partner that would condone this?), but at the workplace I simply shake my head.

Not surprisingly there have been lists complied, stating those personal behaviours that ‘tick people off’ some of these ‘traits’ are as follows:-

-          The loud/noisy talkative co-worker;

-          People with no concept of personal space;

-          Mr Know-it-all;

-          The inappropriate/socially awkward colleague;

-          The Bully;

-          Everybody’s best friend;

-          The patient;

-          Teachers Pet;

However the one that gets my attention the most is The Noisy Eater!!! We all know that person that still (in this day and age), doesn’t have the good manners/sense to know that in public it isn’t acceptable to eat food with their mouth open…making those blood chilling noises as their lips smack together; showing everybody within close proximity what they are eating; and on occasion inadvertently spitting food out, cause they also thought it would be ok to actually talk while eating… UGH!!!

Perhaps I am too prim and proper, or perhaps it’s my modest European upbringing; or perhaps it’s the modicum of good manners that my dear parents instilled in me; but WOW, how can anybody think they can be taken seriously when the only salvation is that eventually the food supply will end!

I find it particularly boorish when said person, in casual conversation, decides to take a handful of [say] peanuts, and one by one consume them; then talks (whilst still placing peanuts in their mouth). At the same time, perhaps because the sound of eating is too loud, decides to increase the decibels with which he/she is speaking…

I am not sure what is worse, the sound of dragging fingernails down a chalkboard (and for those of you born in this millennium – that’s something you’ve truly missed out on), or the sound of a colleague eating with their mouth open???

I appreciate that we are to work in a collegiate environment and we should be patient and supportive of our work-mates, however sometimes the good intents are diminished by the consistent battering of [some] peoples appalling manners… people are people and sometimes people are strange!




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