1.13.2010

The 5 Co-Workers You'll Meet in Hell

Jesus Lord Almighty, I'm going to vent to you all for a second. I know last time I complained about the nerds I work with, I started some serious in-fighting about the proper and ethical treatment of nerds. But this has nothing to do with the fact that these people are nerds, it's just that they are horrible human beings. Horrible! Of the 20 people I work with, there are about 4 or 5 who I try my best to avoid whenever possible, simply because they are miserable creatures who I'm convinced dwell only in dark, musty corners of buildings.

Where was I? Oh right, so what set me off today is The Guy Who Cannot Complete His Thoughts. I'm helping him to submit some of the forms he needs to submit for his grant. I use the term help loosely, though, because he comes to me, asking for help, and suddenly I'm doing nearly everything for this to get submitted on time. I'll be rull honest with you, I would love to slack off between the hours of nine and five, and do nothing more than read blogs and Gchat all day. Is submitting these forms part of my job description? Yes. Would I complain about it at any other time? Probably. But The Guy Who Cannot Complete His Thoughts is aggravating because he will sporadically come into my office to discuss these forms with me. And then he'll leave. And then he'll come back to say just one more thing. And then he'll leave. And then he'll be back to say just onnnnne more thing. And then he'll leave. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. If what he had to say was something I needed to know, I could tolerate this. But normally, he's just reading the instructions for me. Sir, I'm pretty sure that when I got my elementary school diploma, I was also awarded the ability to read things on my own. If I need your help with something, I know where to find you. You'll be hovering around my office, remembering something else you desperately need to say.

He's not that bad though. He is at least being proactive about the work he needs to get done. I can respect that. If there's one person I physically cringe when thinking about approaching with a question it would be The Girl Who Is Never At Fault. Every single time I get a note with her name on it, I put it at the farthest reaches of my desk, so I don't have to think about it right away. I don't think I can properly express how much of a pain it is to work with this person. Because every time I've ever dealt with her, there's some problem that isn't her fault. For instance, she came into my office once to tell me the keyboard in the lab was "broken" and if we had an extra keyboard to use. After thirty minutes of me trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with the keyboard, it turns out she spilled a cup of coffee on it. UM THANKS, maybe next time you feed the computer a half-caf latte, let me know before I call India to get tech help. That's a very specialized example. Generally, if I ever need anything from her, I know that my question will be met with the same "I don't know what you're talking about, you must be crazy to think I can help you" stare. I could ask her for a piece of paper and she would say "Oh, I don't know what paper is. I can't help you, sorry." Super frustrating when I have a specific file that the boss said you personally would have. Trust me, if I could get it without your help, I would GLADLY do just that. In fact, I wish I could do that, because to be frank, you smell like curry and bad cheese. It's called Speed Stick. It's not expensive.

If my job requires it (which thankfully) it doesn't, I'll venture out of my office to deal with these people. But God forbid I run into The Guy Who Has All The Answers and Needs to Share Them. Any and every time I'm asking someone a question within his earshot, he just has to chime in with his all-important answer. As long as it's even peripherally related to him or his work, he has an opinion that I need to hear. "Did someone say my name?" No, I'm pretty sure I've never "Dickwad" in the office before, as that's unprofessional, and I'm nothing if not the textbook definition of a professional.

Unfortunately, however, being in my office does not prevent Them from bothering me. I don't close my office door (because the lack of white noise in my office when the door is shut is like Poltergeist-level unsettling), but even if I did, it wouldn't stop Them. Though it would give me a heads up when The Guy Who Doesn't Believe in Introductions busts into my office with a question. Due to the unfortunate layout of my office, my desk is against the far wall, and my back faces the door. On more than one occasion, without a "Hello" or "Can I bother you for a second?", The Guy Who Doesn't Believe in Introductions will start talking, literally inches from my ear. Not only is it terrifying (the number of times I've shit my pants is just embarrassing at this point), but there's also no segue. He just dives headfirst into his question. Haven't you ever heard of foreplay? Can you tantalize me a little bit with an anecdote before we get right to the penetrating questions? (See what I did there?) You can't just walk up to someone with their back turned and then shoot a question at them. What if I carried mace? You would get your question answered with an eye full of hurt.

I'll take him anyday of The Girl With Oddly Specific Requests. Mainly because she is also The Girl Who Is Never At Fault. When I need something from her, it's an outrageous request and usually ends in her suggesting I see a psychiatrist. But if she needs something from me, that's an entiiiiiiiirely different story. And I always know, before she even opens her mouth, when she needs something from me. Because she'll ask me in this meek little sing-song "I'm trying to be as nice as possible" voice, "Chris?" At this juncture, I'm like Pavlov's dog, trained to roll my eyes and scoff when I hear that. "What?!" "Oh, I was just wondering if maybe it was possible that we had a cell phone I could use." Homegirl, stop. Think about your request. You've been working here longer than I have. You know that we don't have one, and what could we possibly even need that for? So that you can text Miss Cleo and get your horoscopes and charge the standard text messaging fee to the lab? Do you really want the Crazy Frog ringtone that badly? No. We don't have one. She is constantly asking me if we have communal lab things. I don't know what kind of hippie commune she thinks we work at, but she needs to snap the fudge out of it.

Like I said, they aren't bad people. But they are annoying as all get out. Though I guess there's something to be said for consistency. If they all started to ackrite, I'd be liable to think it were the apocalypse. Can't you just leave me in peace to do this Sudoku online? I've got 4 more hours here and I can't be bothered to actually deal with you people right now.

26 comments:

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laur1118 said...

What about incessant throat clearer guy?? What about him?? Too many times I've emailed my boyfriend asking if it would be appropriate to yell across to his office, "cough it up!!!" But since he is a Sr VP and the CFO, that would probably be frowned upon.
And by "Can't complete a thought guy" I thought you would mean the person who constantly has a bag of dicks in his mouth and can't spit out his thought. Aka Stutters McGee.
Then there's also the guy who completes a project and has to go from office to office sharing this wondrous news and explaining just how he figured it out!

maggie said...

this post was oddly as painful as it was entertaining because this type of person happens to be my roommate: as stated, she is a reasonably nice/good person, but i have to seriously restrain myself multiple times a day from slapping her across the face. honestly, i don't know where this violence comes from because normally i'm quite peaceful, but in this case…

it's her mannerisms, i think, her voice, and the way she reacts to EVERYTHING i say with "are you SERIOUS?!?" in her nasal voice that rakes my ears like nails on a chalkboard. for example:
me: "so i have to wake up for my 10:15 class tomorrow and—"
roommate: "are you SERIOUS?!??"
me: "umm, yes…"

Andrea said...

Before I started at my current job, by biggest pet peeve was people talking to me while I was peeing. Odd, yes; goosebump inducing, hell yes; but not nearly as grating on the nerves as what my current boss does.
She finishes everyone's sentences. Doesn't sound so bad, right? Wrong. I don't mean that she jumps in and interrupts you when she knows what you're going to say. I mean that she talks along with you trying to finish your sentences as you're saying them, when she can't possibly know what's to come. It's basically like the drunk girl who doesn't really know the words to a song but OMG SHE JUST LOVES IT and insists on singing random syllables along to the music. Except everyone's sober. And at work. And I can't slap her across the face because she's my boss.

James said...

I can relate to The Guy Who Doesn't Believe In Introductions. Some info: I work in an accounting department. Which means person-to-person interaction is not high on our list. We literally will email someone one row over. This job comes with the perk of being allowed to listen to our Ipods. When I have my Ipod on and am face away from you, correct procedure = politely tap on my desk or cubicle or shoulder. I'll remove my headphone and turn around. Incorrect procedure = stand AN inch behind my right shoulder and talk to me. I don't hear a word you say and I don't know you're there until until that creepy feeling that someone is standing over me makes me look out the corner of my eye and see - OH GOD SOMEONE IS RIGHT THERE I JUST CRAPPED MY PANTS.

So there's that. We feel ya man.

Also, maggie - that made me think of "You're schnerious?"

Patrick said...

I work with several people I've labeled. I have the "Galloper" because all day long he kicks his feet on the ground and it sounds like a freaking horse is in the next cubicle over. Also, "Weezer" is in my office. No, not the American alternative rock band from Los Angeles that formed in 1992 (thanks Wikipedia) but a grotesque fat guy. This dude always has an excuse for showing up late. Last week it snowed maybe an inch and he was 3 hours late to work because he had to shovel his driveway. I know he didn't do this for two reasons: no one around here has a driveway that is 1/4 mile long and if he shoveled anything but massive amounts of food into his head everyday, he'd keel over and die. Fo sho.

Patrick said...

I could probably write a novel about the ridiculous people I work with, actually. Anyone who works for the federal government can probably back me up on this.

Blonde Bookworm! said...

haha this is all so true. I am happy that I came across your blog, it has certainly kept me entertained for the last hour or so of work :)

Julie said...

I've got a "QUESTION FOR YAAAAA" girl, a girl who chomps on her pretzels that she eats every single day at 1 pm w/ her mouth open, and a "ARE YOU SURE?" No, I just make up different way I can lie to you so that you can come back and ask me the same question 15 times. YES I AM SURE!!!!!!!

If my cubicle had a door I would get up and slam it shut 4 times just to get my aggression out before answering the "QUESTION FOR YAAAAAA!"

maggie said...

oh dear god, Andrea, my roomie (see above and shudder) does the SAME THING. she smiles and nods and finishes all my sentences, but like a millisecond behind because how the fuck does she know what i'm going to say??
i try not to talk to her under any circumstances. it has gotten to a slightly awkward stage where she'll ask me a question and i'll just point to something in response, or if i actually have to communicate something to her, i will stage a "conversation" with another person and speak towards them instead of her, hoping to get the point across…it's one step up from 6th grade recess where you ask your bff to tell the bitch on the four-square court not to talk to bobby because he's yours. i'm ashamed of my people skills.

Lia said...

This is an amazing blog. Kudos.

MadVet said...

"snap the fudge out of it" - brilliant

Ethnic Avenue said...

Shit, don't even get me started on this topic. Years of corporate slavery introduced me to all 23 varieties of office types. The LAUGHING FAT LADY, the GUY WHOSE FACE TURNS BEET-RED AT THE DROP OF A HAT, the list goes on.

Oday said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you say at some point that you're studying to be a doctor? If so, I don't like to think that The Girl Who Is Never At Fault will be doing my vasectomy someday.

Caitlin said...

I work in an ant-farm office, which brings out the worst in everyone's mannerisms. And I share a desk area with Talks to the Computer Screen Lady. An email comes through and I hear "Oh you're fucking kidding me!" "She's driving me nuts!"

There's also The Lady Who Checks Her VM on Speakerphone. Listen, I don't. want. to. hear. your. voicemail.

If only I could play my iPod at 100% and not suffer hearing damage.

Stephanie said...

Hahahahahaha oh Chris I love your anger towards other so so much. I have the joy of working with Life Story Lady...girlfriend doesn't know how to work in silence and insists on telling me every mundane detail about her life. I know her parents full names, why they divorced, her mothers current feelings on her step mother, all her friends names (from her hometown who I've never met), all their boyfriends names, which ones do weird kinky stuff with their boyfriends and which ones think its gross, etc etc. I wish I didn't. But it keeps me from having to talk to her too much, cause I just nod my head along.

Anonymous said...

Good solution for the "The Lady Who Checks Her VM on Speakerphone" - call from an outside line (so she doesn't know it is you) and leave a horribly embarrassing message. Like "This is Bob's Sex Shop, your order is in, we just need to confirm where you want the Analizer delivered"

Once she plays something like that to the whole office, she might change her ways.

Funny, spell check didn't like 'Analizer'

Patrick said...

I have coworker who refuses to lift the phone to his ear when he is on a conference call. Instead, he leans in until he approximately 6 inches from the phone, while it's on speaker, and yells at it when he wants to say something. He also has the volume turned up as high as possible so everyone without 50 yards can hear his entire conversation. What makes matters worse is that our cubicles are set up in the "camp fire" setting where 4 desks face each other and there is only 1 doorway into the group. It means fewer walls which also means conversations are way easier to hear from across the room. All of the "people who have nothing to say but 10 ways to say it" haven't quite figured this out.

Cubicle life = hell with flourescent lighting.

Elliot said...

Holy poo, you made a "Read a Book" reference! <3

Brittany said...

OMG Chris. We are once again the same person! I hate my co-workers and try to avoid most of them at all costs. There's the 'Boss' and her husband the 'other boss' but she wears the pants, and she is an uber bitch today, let me tell ya. My Boss came from California where she lived in a 6.5 Million dollar house with her parents in Beverly Hills. She then moved here and bought this business and if something doesn't go her way, or isn't getting done when it should have been done 6 MONTHS AGO. She flips her shit.

I'm an accountant at a small business that sells shit. That's exactly what we sell. Shit. Shit you don't want to buy. And our business isn't doing so hot lemme tell ya. Selling shit in a recession is not a fun job. Neither is telling your boss that the numbers are low.

There are two other people that work in the office with me. Other boss and New Girl.

New girl asks me every question under the blue moon when she doesn't know how to do something. "Brittany, could you show me how to get these invoices to show up?" "I have never even been in that program, much less done whatever the fuck you're trying to do, new girl," Then I have to apologize and tell her once again, that all I have ever done at this company is MY job. No one elses. Just mine. Suprising, right?

Then other boss never even went to college, so he asks my ass about every little thing to do with microsoft excel/word/publisher/powerpoint and so on. And when I help him out, it just encourages him to call me into his office and help him out. I'm sorry you can even get your own emails, okay? I really am, but this is my lunch break. Bitch, plz.

There are only a few more, such as crazy-postal-girl, who jokes about if she were younger she would shoot us all, and you expect her to say, "Well, except you," when she's talking to you about it, except she doesn't. That bitch is crazy.

There's Never takes a shower guy, who is the fattest mutherfucker up in here, and decides that he doesn't need to take a shower every day.

Okay, I'm done. For now.

Anonymous said...

How about the Lady who just doesn't get it. I work in technology transfer (wiki that crap) and a lot of what we do is confidential contracts etc. Well, this one lady likes to sit in every meeting and take notes, even if it has nothing to do with her. Our boss will say "ok off the record, so X, do not take notes...", and what does this woman (X) do??? That's right, she writes it down, causing my boss to lose her shit, and the rest of us to bow our heads and snicker. This is just one example, this woman must have everything explained to her repeatedly EVEN THOUGH SHE TOOK NOTES THE FIRST 7 TIMES!!!

Anonymous said...

It makes me feel a bit more sane to read about the insanity other people have to endure too... my old boss used to stop his feet as he entered my office to get my attention rather than make any sort of verbal intro. (It was the last straw in a bale of issues.) At first I didn't make the connection but after the third time I realized he was only doing it because he had zero people skills and was freaking lazy. Yep, too lazy to talk.
I tried joking with him about it and asked him to just say something so I didn't think his feet were broken. When none of that worked I finally lost my cool and posted a giant "NO STOMPING" poster on my door with the words in a big red circle with a line through it.
It helped... for about 3 weeks at which time he started up again. I gave my 2 weeks notice shortly after that.

Unfortunately, grass is not greener on the other side though... now I work in a cube farm where I have to listen to a nit wit announce every little thought that pops up into her little head... all day long. I seriously have dreams where I come to work and leave a post-it note on HR managers door with "I quit" written in sharpie.

These types of mannerisms make for a pretty hostile work environment... well, I feel hostile at least.

Margo said...

OMG I totally missed this one til now- and I think I work with ALL of those people, LOL!

Stuck In MN said...

As a programmer myself I can relate to dealing with nerds.
I once witnessed a guy floss his teeth with a full 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper.
There was also a guy we nicknamed "fatipose man", who would literally scatter Mike & Ikes and pretzel Combos over conference room tables and his cube every day.
But I spent 4 years in a frat and most of my life on soccer teams, and in retrospect I'm just thankful I don't have PTSD.
I'll take nerds any day over frat guys and jocks.

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