Top 5 workplace annoyances

Every workplace has these top five annoyances.

They’re so awful they’ll make you want to pull your hair out, head butt someone or run for the exists.

Sometimes we do them and we’re not even aware of them.

From the least to the most annoying:

1. “The Late-night Emailer”

You know who I’m talking about.

You have a hard deadline or a fire to put out, which pushes you to work into the wee hours of the morning. There are one or two people also on the same project, but they have gone to bed hours ago.

So, at about 1 or 2 a.m., you fire off an email to your group: ”Please note: x, y or z is completed,” or fixed, etc.

Not three minutes goes by when your email gets a reply from a group member, but this time, there will be many other people added to the email, which reads: “Great job everybody! Thanks for the hard work!” The sender then goes back to sleep, but keeps their Blackberry right next to the bed in case another late-night email arrives.

Even if the email has the best of intentions, it still irritates the sleep-deprived employee who stayed up alone all night working. For that poor soul, this email loosely translated means: ”Look at me! I’m piggybacking off the success of a co-worker, and I’m awake with them!”

What to do about it

If you can, delay replying to their email until 9 a.m. Better yet, if you know who usually gets added to those emails, add their addresses to your “task finished” email preemptively.

2. Pointless Rules

  • No decor on the cube walls.
  • Dress codes.
  • Office hours.

Depending on your job, these may be pointless.

Why does a programmer have to be in an office? Who’s offended by that stress ball you put on your desk?

I’m sure that you’ll run into your fair share.

What to do about it

Nothing. Don’t even try.

In the age of Human Resources, the last thing you want is negative attention. Just apologize profusely, affirm you didn’t mean to rock the boat, and ask for a print out of all the rules and regulations.

Drawing the scourge of HR is worse than drawing the scourge of the IRS.

3. Debbie Downer

“Hey Ted,” you say. “How are you?”

“It’s Monday,” Ted replies. “How do you think I am?”

If you haven’t run into these replies, you probably haven’t had a job for more than a week.

“How’s it going?”

“Ugh…It’s going.”

What’s even worse is when someone brings personal problems into work and drops them on their co-workers.

What to do about it

First, I have admit I’ve been guilty of this as has most of the working population.

Fight it. Work is not a place to dump your problems.

You want to get ahead?         Smile.

When someone asks how you’re doing, reply “Great!”

Not, “OK.”

Not, “Hanging in there.”

No matter what happened the night before. Smile and say you’re great.

I’m not suggesting you lie. Never lie. Even Machiavelli warns against lying.

What I’m saying is that work can be stressful enough. So smile and be positive. Always do this (there is always something to be positive about), and you’ll lift your co-workers and build a reputation for being a team player.

4. Kitchen Champion

This guy or gal is the person who tapes the message to the office fridge along the lines of, ”If it’s not yours, don’t take it.”

Then, when someone inevitably does take something that belongs to the champion, the guy or gal sends an email blast out to the entire workforce, reminding everyone that it’s wrong to steal, which doesn’t prevent another custard caper.

What to do about it

First, don’t be this person. If someone takes your lunch, go buy another one.

Second, don’t bring filet mignon to work.

5. The 24/7 Guy/Gal

This person always is working. Constantly. 24/7, 365 days a year.

It’s not the exaggeration that bugs us so much. It’s the constant reminder this person gives us about how busy he/she is.

“I wish there was another hour in the day,” he says, unprompted.

“If only I got paid by the hour,” she boasts.

“No, I didn’t see that last night,” he says. “I was too busy working. I work about 100 hours a week.”

What to do about it

  1. Don’t believe it.
  2. Don’t respond.
  3. Move on.

We’re all busy. The person who has that much time to complain about it probably isn’t as busy as he/she claims to be anyway.

So, those are my Top 5 workplace annoyances.

What do you think? Did I forget anything? I’d love to hear some personal stories these examples.


Cody is a Product Manager and Social Media Specialist at ESPN. He manages, conceptualizes and develops many of the social aspects of He also is Founder and CEO for Gunner Technology, Inc an end-to-end Web strategy company, providing solutions for businesses. Previously, Cody worked as a developer for, building many of the live scoreboards and GameCast applications. In a previous life, he covered Florida Gator sports as a beat reporter, talk show host and television producer. Cody earned an MBA, Masters Degree in Communication and Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.

Related posts:

  1. Mind Your Manners in the Workplace
  2. Workplace Basics: The Art and Science of Being Organized
  3. Three Skills To Master Before Entering The Workplace

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