We spend 40 hours a week together (give or take). We know how old Ted's kids are and how he punishes them when they act out. We know Sam likes to dab the grease off the top of her pizza before she eats it. And we know all the gossip there is to know, because we're with each other week after week.
You get to know people over time, and the more time you spend with them, the more you pick up on their habits. And some habits can drive you bonkers.
Out of pure fun and curiosity, I sent a blank Word doc around the office and asked my coworkers to disclose their biggest office pet peeves – anonymously of course. Here's a sample of the responses:
- Taking personal calls at your desk.
- Talking TOO LOUD on the phone.
- Acting like the boss when they're not.
- Microwaving fish.
- Clipping fingernails (or toenails) at your desk.
- Talking obsessively about politics and/or religion, unless invited to do so.
- Sharing too much information about gross medical issues.
- Coming to work sick.
- Commenting on other people's lunches.
- Lurking by someone’s workstation when they're talking to someone else or on the phone when they have not invited you to wait.
Now I could go the typical route and explain why each of these items can be annoying or offensive to those around you. I could discuss how avoiding personal calls at your desk is not just to avoid tying up company phone lines, but also to spare your coworkers from hearing you argue with your husband or ask your daughter how her nasty, oozing ear infection is healing. Yes, I could go on and on about how clipping your nails at your desk or ranting about the latest Republican disaster can make your coworkers want to scream.
But I won't go there. Nope. Nobody's perfect. What drives one person crazy might not bother someone else. And we should always give these office offenders the benefit of the doubt. The problem with most pet peeves, though, is the offenders might not realize they're bothering anyone – unless someone's brave enough to bring it to their attention (without being rude about it).
So consider this blog post a sounding board for your own office pet peeves. Tell us what really gets under your skin. And if you've successfully gotten a coworker to lower their voice on the phone or stop microwaving fish, please tell us how you did it!
Just for fun: Could you handle the annoying habits of Dwight Schrute from The Office? Check out Dwight Schrute's sample resume!