October 3, 2013
Coping with the co-worker from hell
Last week's post talked about tips for surviving the boss from hell. Unfortunately, bosses aren't the only people who can make your working life hard to bear. An awful co-worker can make each day ... well, awful.
Here are the most common culprits and some ways to handle them:
The Backstabber. If someone circulates falsehoods about you, do not let this slide. Act immediately to correct the record. Be cool about it -- just state the facts and move on.
The Whiner. Don't let yourself be dragged down to their level. Don't bother reasoning with them, either. All you can really do is ignore them. Try deflecting with humor or pretending you didn't hear.
The Clueless. Do you have an otherwise-OK co-worker who has one really annoying trait? Talk to that person. Suggest a solution (kindly). Most people don't realize they're driving you insane.
The Downer. People who always look for the cloud in every silver lining can be draining. Don't waste your energy hoping they will change. You might try getting to know them a little better. Discovering why a person is so gloomy (money, health, family problems) may make it easier for you to deal.
The Saboteur. Sometimes the you-know-whats really are out to get you. Wanna rock their world? Do them a really big favor. This technique is called "killing them with kindness," and it works more often than you'd think.
The Psycho. If none of the tips above help, you may have a Psycho on your hands. Fortunately, these are rare. But if you do find yourself working with one, continue to do your job well. Keep records of all "incidents." When you bring the issue to management or HR, be factual and unemotional, and show how this person's behavior is bad for the company.
Finally, ask yourself if the problem could be you (your co-workers might be as annoyed by you as you are by them) -- and recognize that, as hard as it is to believe, not everyone is going to like you.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at email@example.com.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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