• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
The Savvy Office Manager

5 employee types you wouldn’t fire, but boy, are they irritating!

Get PDF file
Cal Butera

by on
in The Savvy Office Manager

There is no shortage of pet peeves. We all have them. And as managers we have a list (or perhaps a staff full) of them.

Yes, these are irritating employee types. These are employees who have done nothing egregious enough to get fired. They just make your days seem just a bit longer, and your job just that much harder.

Got any of these in the office?

  1. The Timekeeper. She knows what time everyone arrives and when they start work in earnest. She knows when they leave at the end of the day, when they scoot out for lunch and return. She knows how many times Eddie steps out for a smoke (six; 10 when the weather’s nice) and how long they last (nine minutes). That’s nearly an hour’s worth of breaks on the foul-weather days; an hour and a half when the days are pleasant. You can be sure she shares the data with her co-workers, but when she lets you know about it, she’s crossed the “annoying” line.

  2. Mr. Motormouth. He spots you walking toward your office and accompanies you to your door and blabs about stuff he thinks you want to hear: his kid, his car, his weekend, the Mets. It’s harmless blathering, but you’ve got work to do and so does he. When he pops into your office at random times to bloviate, he starts to stick in your craw. The strange thing about him, though: He doesn’t say anything in the staff meetings.

  3. My Little Toddler. Also known as the high maintenance employee. She performs well and aims to please, but not without a lot of care and feeding. She’s in your office. A lot. She wants guidance, assurance, clarification. She challenges policies, points out flaws, is free with opinion. If you want her to do the job right, then “listen to me.” She’s draining. Like your kid, you’re cutting the crust off her peanut butter sandwich and making sure the right colored straw is planted in her chocolate milk. One of these per office is enough.

  4. The Stop Sign. He knows his job description and won’t veer off it, no matter how busy your organization gets. He gets his tasks done, but won’t do anything extra. And certainly you can’t add to his load. “Hold it right there,” he says. “You put something on my plate, now take something off.” Voluntarily help someone else? No time. His day is carefully calibrated to accomplish his duties and nothing more.

  5. The Redwood. Similar to deadwood (an employee who doesn’t accomplish much), the redwood has been around for a long time at your organization and there’s just no cutting him down. He’s beloved by those who have the power to get rid of you. He came with the job, has been there as long as the stairwell and you’ve got to deal with him. He’s set in his ways, won’t go any faster, and Excel … what’s that? You fantasize about a retirement party.

Come to think of it, there are 63 more I could add to this list. And I’m certain you can add to it, too. What types bug you the most?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Annlou April 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

The Complainer – complains about everything, hates change and wants action when things go wrong – immediately – whether it is within your area of expertise or influence or not. Won’t take no for an answer as you are supposed to have them all, regardless.

The Stalker – waits till you are having your lunch, you are on the phone or engaged in conversation with a colleague – needs something now – usually trivial, but will wait, evesdrop and ask the question anyway. Couldln’t possibly return in a few minutes – impatience is a virtue in their eyes.

The Swearer – uses foul language all the time as a cover up for their ignorance and insecurity, whether you like it or not – and this person is very senior – don’t dare complain, you life will be a constant misery if you do.


Lori April 28, 2014 at 10:45 am

We have a lady who’s daddy blackmailed the owner to get her a job. All she does is talk (loudly) all day long to another employee, watch TV, read magazines, talk and text on her cell phone. And, gets paid four times as much as the last person in that position. And, I forgot to mention, the last person was fired to make room for her. Who else could get away with that, and not be shown the door?


Sam W April 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

This is all totally true. The one I hate is the guy who always has a fundraising thing going on, whether it’s for girl scout cookies or asking that everyone chip in for a gift for someone. It’s like an outside salesperson found his way into the office every day!


Leave a Comment