How to make enemies at work

By Leonie McKiernan

By Leonie McKiernan

Last week one Irish employee became so disturbed by a colleague’s heavy handed typing on a computer keyboard, they posted an anonymous plea on a national website in the hope the offender would read it, feel suitably ashamed and mend his ways. It got me thinking about just why my colleagues have let me survive this long. Ok, I may not bash my keyboard like a demented weirdo, except when some idiot emails me a daft/insulting/aggressive message, but I think I may have been committing a whole host of workplace sins over the past 12 years.

In my defence I’d like to point out that I’m not alone in attempting to push my work colleagues over the edge of sanity - I’d like to think some of them were well on their way to that goal without my help. But just so I don’t feel terribly alone in this, I’ve compiled a quick list of the worst workplace habits - none of which I’ll ever publicly admit to actually inflicting on my colleagues.

Mindless muttering/singing - The very reason why radios should be banned in workplaces. It’s all too easy to get carried away and start singing or - if it’s the sanctimonious prat from Kildare on the air - berating the radio.

Talking really loudly on the phone - I’ve come to the conclusion this only occurs because we can’t mentally accept raising our voices doesn’t actually transport the spoken word faster down the telephone. Of course highly emotive calls i.e. complaints, random mentallers, may also lead to a dramatic increase in volume as well. It’s best to figure out the difference so you can run for cover if your colleague looks ready to explode.

Not actually listening - this bad habit is usually closely followed by yet another, making irrelevant pronouncements - e.g. “did you hear that Miami was hit with a tornado?” Rest of newsroom - “yes we were talking about that three hours ago, you weren’t listening again, were you?” Me: “ummm, no, no I wasn’t....”

The desk of extremes - You’ve got two main offenders in this category - the neat obsessive who categorizes their notebooks with coloured pens and correctly utilises post it notes and the desk that has so many haphazard piles of paper on it the owner is now contemplating moving their computer to the floor, under the desk - because it’s only clean spot.

Stealing pens - You sit at a colleagues desk, you take a message, you abscond with the only pen they’ve managed to hide from the rest of their pen thieving colleagues. I know people who chew their pens just so others won’t steal them but I just prefer staging pen rescue and recovery missions when the rest of my colleagues head out for tea.

Coffee penicillin - yes, there are a lot of bugs/flus etc going round, but there’s no need to farm penicillin on your desk. Although it really is remarkable what you can grow from substandard tea bags isn’t it?......