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Admin Pro Forum

What’s the most annoying co-worker habit?

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Question:Since Administrative Professionals Day is next week, we got to thinking, ‘what’s the most annoying co-worker habit in your office’? Now’s your chance to dish on a current or former co-worker and share his bad or unusual mannerisms. — The Editors


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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie June 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

One who is a workaholic and competes with you for attention from the big boss. What did I do to deserve this? Seriously, is it that hard to say that I’m important? That you need my help? That I’m an asset? Whenever I send an email notifying the team of something, he has to state that he already noticed it (over the weekend while he was working instead of enjoying life). Even if he did see it because he is married to his job, he doesn’t have to state it. He could just say “Great work! Thanks for notifying us. I think you’re handling the situation well.” “Great work! However, I would respond by doing ___________, _____________ and ___________.

Argh! He just doesn’t get it. He is super paranoid and thinks everyone is a threat. He IS the worst boss. Some of my co-workers who worked with him before I did warned me. They left his Department or left the company. But, I didn’t listen. I’ve sadly learned that he will throw anyone under the bus in a second if he thinks that his azz might be on the line. He will not go to bat for you even if you have been an exceptional employee. Nothing is really good enough.


Jimmy May 19, 2011 at 1:24 am

A secretary who thinks too much of their job and constantly meddles, thinking you don’t know what they’re up to. Also, chronic absences that cause everyone else to pick up the slack. Incompetent directors are a big part of the problem…


Jackie December 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I know this post is old and up until now I didn’t have anything of note…but this new lady has been here 30 days tops and everything and I do mean EVERYTHING is funny. She cackles at everything people say to her. I’ve spoken to her manager and the cackling went in to hiding whenever he was around. Now she’s managed to smooze him to the point she cackles at everything he says. Will someone please give her some work already!?


Marilyn April 30, 2010 at 11:44 am

1. Entering hours (especially one of our contractors) on your time card that you didn’t actually work.

2. Women who wear way too much cologne.

3. People who smoke and put on way “too much cologne” to cover it up.

4. Men who make bodily noises in their offices – need I say more.

5. People who are condescending to the admins.

6. Those who won’t make coffee, even though the pot is empty, and think it is women’s work.

7. Nosy coworkers.

8. Coworkers who dress like they are going to the flea market!

9. Those who use the last of one of the supplies and fail to let me know or leave the empy box/container in the supply closet.

10. Those who cook disgusting/bad smelling food in the microwave.

I will stop for now………….


Eva April 30, 2010 at 8:29 am

A lot of these people have no clue they are doing something inappropriate, annoying, rude, or even ilegal in some cases. We could be giving them dirty looks all day and nothing would change. In some instances we need to tell them directly to their faces. Complaining sometimes does not work because they don’t know any better. Some of them don’t even mean to be rude, they just don’t know.


DeeCee April 27, 2010 at 11:13 am

I’ve dealt with most of these issues at some point. We have a lady who finishes your sentences, but I like her and realize that’s just her, so I really don’t mind. One young woman heats up strong garlic bread at lunch time and it carries through the building, but she is a dear, so I can tolerate that. I’ve eaten salmon for lunch (in lunchroom, not at desk) and one lady complained about it stinking, but then she would come it while I was eating to make a pitcher of tea, and that smells as atrocious to me as the salmon does to her, so I figure we’re even. Our previous receptionist was loud, rude, crude, obnoxious, pushy, had no discernible receptionist skills, and wouldn’t take instruction of any kind. Now she is gone and everyone has been happy ever since. I can tolerate all the little irritants from everyone because I like all my bosses and co-workers, and we ALL do things that irritate others. None of us are perfect. The person who snorts instead of blowing their nose may have swollen nasal passages and blowing their nose won’t help that. There may be reasons people do some of the things they do (but really, no excuse for not wiping the toilet if you’ve messed on it.) I think we can immerse ourselves in all the irritating things people do, or we can focus on the positive. Yes, some things are nearly impossible to tolerate, but please pick your battles. Some are not worth making an issue of.


Pat April 27, 2010 at 9:47 am

I feel blessed. I don’t have any co-workers like any of those I’ve just read about (LOL). I think I may be the one you are talking about in some instances. It gives me great insight on what I need to work on personally.
I do have one co-worker who finishes my sentences for me when I’m talking with her. I find that annoying.


Elisabeth April 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I’m sorry to say I’ve learned as much about how I’m irritating the heck out of my coworkers as I have felt supported by what you all deal with, too! Thanks for both, truly! (Sometimes I need a shove as much as I need a hug!)


B. J. April 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I have one coworker that sneezes, alot, and then our other cube mate says “Bless you” after each and every sneeze! Why cant she wait till the sneezing passes and then say one “Bless you”?


Ditto Everyone April 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Wow-All of these are great. I’ve experienced many–even now to this day–and others I have not. Unfortunately, I have to admit, I may also be guilty of a few myself so I have some work to do so as not to be annoying to others. Over all, this is a pretty funny list and I’m so glad I took time to read it as now I don’t feel so all alone when I’m sitting at my desk shuttering as my co-worker snorts her snot in and swallows. Grosses me out tremendously. I want to scream but I don’t. After all, given my work environment, I’ve learned over the years sometimes its best to keep my mouth shut, endure, forgive, and move on and, oh yes, to remember that I also have annoying habits and some I’m probably now even aware of! Hope everyone had a good week last week.


Jayne April 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm

There is one Department where I work that has no consideration for anyone. They talk loudly and talk about people who works with the company. They carry on consverations most of the day – personal ones about everything that has happened to them. After lunch one of them in the department chews and pops gum all afternoon. The gum poper also wears stinky lotion.


Just My Thoughts April 26, 2010 at 7:19 am

Are you serious!?! A pedicure in the lunch room?


Niki April 23, 2010 at 10:46 pm

The Office Princess!


Sepa LaBolla April 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I second that “ughhhhh”!


Sepa LaBolla April 23, 2010 at 7:21 pm

1. Coworkers who give an attitude when given something to do….. when their position is to assist.
2. Coworkers who use t heir lunch break for person errands and return with their lunch….. and take an additional lunch break! (2 hours instead of the 1 hour given)
3. Coworkers who dont respond and give you a blank stare when you talk to them. (all you hear are crickets while you wait for a response)
4. Coworkers who can’t seem to answer phones and take messages….. when it is their primary task.
5. Coworkers who say they are stepping out for an hour to run an errand…. and never return.
6. Coworkers who share information with others… and not the person they should inform.
7. Coworkers who spend hours gossiping… then when asked for assistance they say they cannot help because they are swamped with work. (<--if you would have cut the gossip time you wouldnt be swamped!!) 8. Coworkers who manage to always make the problems of others their own.


Mark April 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Wouldn’t this be illegal? (Not the chewing of ice, but the videotaping of other people at work.)


Ruth April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am

may I add, any of the cabbage family as well?


Ruth April 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

Someone that just goes on and on and on and on………..


Ebony Jones April 23, 2010 at 9:51 am

I have to ask….what do you expect smokers to reek of…Giorgio?


Sandy April 23, 2010 at 9:49 am

I had a co-worker that would shake her ice in a tall plastic cup and then get a mouthful of it and crunch. I even videoed it once to let my husband hear how bad it was. She is still with the company but working in another area of the building.


Garcia April 23, 2010 at 9:46 am

That really kind of sums it up for me too!


Sue April 23, 2010 at 9:46 am

I used to have a desk that was low like a receptionist’s desk-though I was not a receptionist. Everyone thought it was ok to lay their stuff (paper, drinks, etc) on my desk top. They also thought it was ok to hold a conversation with another person at my desk-work related, personal, laughing obnoxiously, whatever. Very annoying!


Admin123 April 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Co-workers who click thier pens or walk around like they own the place.


Anon Non Admin April 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I agree with this being annoying and inappropriate. The only exception I’d offer to this rule is if you’ve broken A (1) nail. If you feel the need to do more than one nail please excuse yourself to the bathroom! I’ve had it happen to me and I’ve also had a day where I felt like my nails grew a lot over night and I needed to trim a couple so I did just that and went to the restroom to trim them.

I once heard a story at my previous employer that a salesmen (telephone sales) sat at his desk and trimmed his TOENAILS! EWWWWW!!!!!


Anon Non Admin April 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I’ve learned in our dept. that if you don’t grab your prints off the printer asap that a co-worker reads it as she is delivering it to you – no matter what it is!


Anon Non Admin April 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I was very pregnant and once found their business on the WALL! Talk about nasty!


Jaime Caban April 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

Nail Clipping is just plain gross in the office – if it’s really bothering me I try to difuse with humor by asking “may I have the next manicure appoitment?” sometimes this works but most often they just laugh and continue clipping!


Audrey April 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

Boy, just read through all of these and after 40 years as an Administrative, I’ve seen it all. You have all hit on things that I’ve seen, heard, witnessed and lived. But the great thing about it is that we persevere. As long as WE don’t add to this list as an offender, we can shake our heads, smile to ourselves and thank God that we’ve got a job, that we love what we do, and move on. Happy Administrative Week!


Veronika April 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

Well, in my office we have from 1 thru 5 plus

11 Co-workers that don’t have common sense
12 Co-workers that don’t make decisions and expect someone else to give her the answers on what to do; then if something goes wrong it is not their fault is someone else fault.
13 Co-workers that are not accountable


Mary April 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Mommakat, can you give your coworker your lunch/break schedule, post it and not deviate whether she’s taken hers or not?


Mary April 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Perhaps you should; do it while they’re butting in and continue each time until it stops. Sometimes that’s the only way; kind, but blunt.


mommakat April 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

This one is a biggie with me…coworker who reads email I am writing or reading over my shoulder. How rude!


Chris M. April 21, 2010 at 10:43 am

Another one – the nasty women who don’t flush the toilet or wipe their “business” off the toilet seat! Uggggh!


Chris M. April 21, 2010 at 10:36 am

People who keep bugging me about whether I received an order yet, if I got it I certainly would give it to you right away.

People you have to keep explaining the same thing over and over and over…

Rude people who come and help themselves to my desk supplies without asking first!

Employees who try to pry fro me confidential info about another employee – would you like me to tell others about YOUR business???


Dena April 21, 2010 at 9:53 am

P.S. We had an attorney in our office at a firm where I worked who thought nothing of passing gas right in front of you or while passing your desk. She was also the one who NEVER washed her hands after using the bathroom, but would root around in the candy or pretzel bowl like she was looking for gold. YUCK!


Dena April 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

Ditto, Klaus! If I may add…people who pretend to be very religious, but will stick a knife in your back THE MINUTE you get in their way of being recognized or moving ahead. We have one of those in our office….she will smile in your face and talk a blue streak about you the next. I avoid her like the plague!


Janine April 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

Yes, I have to deal with that too. I just act like I don’t even see them or I give them my “evil” stare while I’m on a call so they’ll leave.


Rose April 21, 2010 at 9:42 am

Folks that are on a telecon in their cube and want to share with the entire office via speaker phone…HELLO, go in a conference room UGH!


CAG April 21, 2010 at 9:41 am

There is someone in my office that eats very loudly… I sit accross the hall from him and I can hear him slobber and chew and grunt and groan. It absolutely makes my skin crawl – I have to get up and leave. Sadly it isn’t just at lunch – he literally eats ALL DAY LONG.


Rose April 21, 2010 at 9:39 am

I agree…if I can keep my cell on vibrate, then why can’t YOU! Or the individual that walks around ALL day with the cell phone ear piece attached to them.


Klaus R. Rauter April 21, 2010 at 12:29 am

For me, the most annoying habit of co-workers i experienced is simply the habit of acting not professional!
I am human and appreciated that some people might need to sneeze or cough etc…

For me people who are selfish, narrow-minded and political are my issues.
This people are well aware of what they do so it should be considered a habit!


mommakat April 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Wow! These are all so good! It’s hard to find something to add but…

Office Manager who doesn’t manage. One day I asked her what she manages and she said, “my desk and my work”!

I take my breaks a lunch after my coworker so my pet peeve is when she takes a half hour break instead of 15 min or when she takes her break/lunch late putting me late without regard to my schedule.

Then there is my all time least favorite–coworker who consistently leaves feces on toilet seat (one restroom for whole office also shared with office next door and customers). Yucko!


Anon Non Admin April 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I believe you just won the worst co-worker ever award (at least from this list)!!! My heart goes out to you!


Loraine Flandreau April 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Top Ten Annoying Coworker Habits…

10. Coworkers who leave dirty dishes in the sink next to the dishwasher.

9. Receptionist who never acknowledges you but will always greets the men with a big perky hello and smile as they stroll thru the area.

8. Smokers who reek of cigarette smoke

7. Lazy coworkers who never empty the dishwasher of the clean dishes but adds dirty dishes to the clean ones.

6. Overstuffing the copier/printers/fax machines every evening so they jam in the morning.

5. Using the last of any supplies without advising someone to reorder.

4. Coworker who has message on voicemail asking that you “leave a message and I’ll get back to you at my earliest convenience”

3. Coworker who cannot get thru a conversation without using filler statements like “and all that stuff”

2. Someone who somehow gets lipstick on the water cooler spout. How? Disgusting!

1. Coworker who had someone give her a pedicure in the lunch room. YUCK!


Jodette Cz April 20, 2010 at 11:36 am

When someone is clearly asking me a question or asking me for information and my co-worker jumps in with the answer or provides the information before I even have a chance to respond to the question directed at me. I want to tell my co-worker to mind her own business unless I direct the person to them.


TLH April 20, 2010 at 11:26 am

Co-workers that snatch things out of your hand; not notice when you do nice things for them or will say a negative comment to you eventhough you are trying to be nice to them or complain that a certain thing you do is annoying like jingling your keys on your break without realizing that they do annoying things all day, like sing; shake their leg so the entire office can hear or talk to herself…


Karen April 20, 2010 at 11:14 am

I have one of those in my office!! Drives me nuts. This staff member will talk on their cell phone and will not answer the office phone..


Anon Non Admin April 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

1. I have a co-worker who ALWAYS talks with her mouth full and everyone makes fun hoping she’ll stop but she laughs too!
2. Another co-worker who is always humming and singing to herself.
3. Head of HR who whistles while he works – and we hear him throughout the building!
4. Burnt food in the kitchen (which has no door to block it from filling the entire building!
5. Cell phones ringing LOUDLY in the office – and not just once as if they forgot but throughout the day.
6. HR not shutting their doors and discussing employees’ business so that they can be heard by many other staff (and the staff person being discussed is not aware, or even local).
7. Staff cackling and carrying on in the building with no regard to all of us who are in cubicles and can’t shut OUR door!
8. Reply to All – enough said!
9. Replying to an e-mail without including the original e-mail you sent so you know what they are responding to.
10. People who spend the first hour of their day doing any of the following: cooking breakfast, finishing personal cell phone conversations, visiting around the office, doing a daily devotion, preparing coffee for the office when it isn’t their job, catching up on their evenings events – beyond just basics and/or repeating multiple times……..I could go on!


Margaret April 20, 2010 at 10:04 am

Great replys – I would like to add also the honey, sugar, baby bit – so disgusting and the babytalk is so very annoying. Also irritating is someone hollering for you from just down the hall – what – they broke their legs or the phone is out of order??? Childish behavior really grates on my last nerve.


Mary April 20, 2010 at 9:51 am

People that call customers “hun” or “honey.” Are you kidding me?


Ann Harris April 20, 2010 at 9:38 am

I had a co-worker who used to eat a can of tuna at their desk for lunch – the smell was awful!


Anon2 April 20, 2010 at 8:53 am

I have five pet peeves.

1. Someone going to school but then wants to do their homework during working hours when there is actual work that needs to be done.

2. Blaming someone else for your mistakes or stating I didn’t say that so you must have heard me wrong.

3. Thinking you are the boss or you are better because you have more experience in that area when you have no authority.

4. Lying on your time card about actual hours worked or lying period.

5. Employees who tells you to your face one thing and then behind your back says something else.


Jacqueline M. Walters April 19, 2010 at 8:15 pm

On one job I had 5 coworkers and the boss who could never stay alert, it was a live freak show, 5 days a week, this kind of workplace can be annoying and bothersome. For an employee who is always alert, fullfill and challenge.


Mary April 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Sneeky employees who say negative things about you behind your back and claim to be your friend, but don’t realize that you are aware of the fact that they only come around or call you when they want something; and when you do them a favor or have their back, they will not give you credit for it; and they pretend that you either did not do it or they don’t remember.


Mary April 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Don’t give her the look; give her the words.


Mary April 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm

It gives me g r e a t pleasure to just keep ignoring these people.


Mary Voldan April 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

A coworker who spends most of the day on personal work. The current director knows, former directors knew, everyone knows; all we get is, “Well, this has got to stop”; you know the rest.


Karen April 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I used to work with someone who would call me from her extension while eating. “Could you (chomp, smack) check on the *** file (chomp, smack)?” Ugh.


Maria Angelique April 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm

A co-worker who constatly ease drops to later approach me to ask about what was said, when I”m not at liberty to elaborate on the subject. Also, someone who is extremely deffensive and makes me repeat everything I say just to analyze it and make sure nothing was directed at her specifically. This drives me insane!


Lisa K April 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I have a co-worker, in a lateral position, that insists on ordering me to do her work instead of asking me for help. I have been forced to make her ask me for my help, as everytime I help her do her job without her “asking” becomes “my job.” One time, she came into my office area yelling at me because I could not do “one little thing” and that it was my job! I stated that if she needed some help that I would be happy to help her. She retorted back, “Don’t do me any favors!” This is sad, because I am by nature a person that loves to serve, but dig in my heels and refuse to budge when I feel taken advantage of. She has taken away from me, my willingness to do things for her without her asking me for help. So, in making a short story long, a co-worker who thinks they are your supervisor has to be the most irritating person I work with.


Mary Capen April 19, 2010 at 11:32 am

A co-worker that will pick up a piece of paper someone else has laid down temporarily, read it (when it is no concern of theirs) and then proceed to make corrections to the document with a red pen.


Linda Hicks April 19, 2010 at 11:28 am

Constant, daily, inappropriate sexual innuendoes. Not cute. Not funny. Not even legal!


Jeanne April 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

Chewing ice
Telling all her direct reports her experiences while she was with another company.
Talking loud enough on the phone so that everyone in her dept can hear what she’s saying.
Using the speaker phone in a cubicle. It disrupts everyone and entertains our guests to the point when they will ask if that’s necessary. It’s embarrassing to have a visitor ask that question.


Marianne Myrick April 19, 2010 at 10:22 am

The constant sighing and the personal phone calls.


Leah April 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

We have a person who interrupts me every time she comes by my desk, no matter how busy I am or how much I use the “Please don’t bother me” look. She will even come into my boss’s office when I’m in the middle of a meeting to ask me something stupid.


Cinny April 19, 2010 at 9:38 am

Along with facebook and twitter, how about ebay and checking “Lost” blogs? Takes all day sometimes!


Deb April 19, 2010 at 8:53 am

Where to begin? Admins who take 30-45 minute personal phone calls. No initiative when it comes to helping out the office overall. Dry brushing their teeth at their desk. Instead of taking an allergy pill every day, they snort & scratch their throat complaining that they have drainage. I could go on for days about this topic.


Robyn April 19, 2010 at 8:52 am

Too strong perfume or after shave. Ugh!


Just My Thoughts April 19, 2010 at 7:43 am

can we add “twitter” to make that two words?


Just My Thoughts April 19, 2010 at 7:42 am

The list:
1. “Half-hearted” efforts
2. “Wanna-Be” supervisors that have no clue
3. Co-workers that don’t understand the nature of the business or just don’t care.
4. Co-workers and supervisors that don’t understand that they have two ears and one mouth yet they spend 99.9% of their time talking
5. People that take credit for other people hard work
6. Co-workers that spell team with an “I”
7. The person who takes my lunch without leaving a thank you note
8. Co-workers and supervisors who assume because you have no children you have no life.
9. The “brown-noser” and “gossiper”
10. The fashion queen who hasn’t realized that she is not in fashion show.


Jacque April 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Using the speaker phone when it isn’t a conference call—-it makes it hard to hear my phone conversations and is very distracting


Fellow Admin Asst April 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Someone texting while you WERE in the middle of a conversation and then asking you to repeat what you said.


JayBee April 16, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Fish tacos in the break-room refrigerator!


Nancy April 16, 2010 at 5:11 pm

ONE WORD: facebook


Widow April 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Personal Cell Phone calls. If you aren’t here to work, GO HOME!


Nicole April 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Sneezing or coughing without covering their mouth; snapping their gum; chewing with their mouth open; talking constantly; etc!


Melissa April 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Someone who walks into your office, stands and stares at you until you notice them… even when they can see you are on the phone or working on a project.


Kelly April 16, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Someone that snorts all day instead of blowing their nose.


Melissa April 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm

It’s a cute song but please don’t whistle while you work


hallgirl April 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I have one who hums nonsensically while she works and another who sings as she stands over your shoulder. Sometimes one just wants to scream!


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