Emily Post famously said, “All rules of table manners are made to avoid ugliness.” You could say the same for etiquette in general: the rules exist to keep us from devolving into our worst possible selves and ruining each other’s days. Nowhere is this more important than at work, where you can’t pick your coworkers — and your professional success depends on things not getting ugly.
No matter how etiquette-free your coworkers may be, there are always worse ones out there. Don’t believe us? Consider these tales from Reddit:
The Trashcan Spitter
Almost everyone has had that coworker who seems to feel a little too comfortable around the workplace. They scratch themselves, or perform grooming rituals that are more appropriate for their bathroom at home than their cubicle at work.
I’m not going to name names here, but I had a coworker who sat three feet away from me and she would regularly brush her teeth at her desk and spit in the trashcan. The first time I was in shock, after that I would have to leave the room. She would also fight loudly with her husband on speakerphone daily. I was so happy when they let her go.
Really, anyone would be.
The Candy Relocation Program
Do you bring candy into work? If so, you probably don’t mind sharing it with your colleagues. But you also probably want your stuff — including your candy dish — to remain in your personal work area, where you can keep an eye on it.
If so, kackygreen can relate. They write about a coworker that kept moving their personal candy dish, first to the cafeteria — so that “it was easier for everyone to get some candy” — and then to a file cabinet near the candy-mover’s cubicle:
She tried to justify this one as being okay since it was close enough for me to get to.
I had to talk to our manager on this one to get it to stop — it was a bowl I owned filled with candy I bought with my own money. It was the weirdest conversation with a manager I’ve ever had to initiate, like, “So weird coworker keeps stealing my candy bowl and putting it in public areas. I’ve had to feel very weird taking it back in front of anyone since some people might not know it’s mine. I’ve asked her to stop and she keeps doing it (the file cabinet thing happened about three times each with me telling her to stop doing it). Can you please tell her to stop moving my stuff?”
The Celine Superfan:
The best way to deal with differing musical tastes in the office is for everyone to wear their headphones like considerate adults. However, this redditor’s coworker had to go and push it … with pretty funny results:
Not my current job, but a past one. I was a lowly intern, studying in a field that did NOT encourage getting up early (lots of late nights), so getting to my internship by 8 a.m. was a tough adjustment. What could possibly make it worse? One of the full-time employees playing the same sappy Celine Dion CD three to four mornings a week. It was torture.
So, one sunny day when everybody but the interns was out golfing, I walked over, picked up one of the vacation request forms, and filled it out for Celine, citing that she was “overworked and needed a break.”
Later that afternoon, the intern supervisor came over to us interns and asked if we had filled out the request form. We all denied it, but Celine did go on a two-week vacation.
The Actual Thief
I’ve made over 200 websites in the span of three years, all of which were still live and active and visited. And on those websites, I was the sole developer. My name was in the HTML comments and in the meta tags as the author. Because I was.
So a new guy joins the company as a developer because I was leaving. He replaced my name with his own in all websites and even added it to the visible “Created by <companyname>” credits at the bottom of all pages, it now reas: “Created by <companyname> – developed by <hisname>”.
I wanted to murder him.
The Funeral Home Attendant Who Made Things Weird
Did you know that many funeral homes have live-in night attendants to take calls in the middle of the night? Well, they do. Which makes stuckinwhale’s bizarre coworker a bad roommate, as well as a bad colleague:
Unfortunately, about six months after I was hired, my coworker/roommate graduated college and moved out. They hired a new night attendant who I soon discovered was the antichrist.
She never cleaned, we always had fruit flies, she refused to let the air conditioner be on, she would throw away my food in the fridge, and then it got weird. She started walking into my room unannounced even if I was sleeping. I had to start locking my door. When I’d take a death call at night, she’d wake up to ask me who called and why. Like why the #$%& do you think someone is calling at 3 a.m.? Someone died.
BUT WAIT! There’s more. She was practically a mad scientist. Always making homemade soap, lotion, etc. One weekend she made homemade root beer. We shared a giant walk-in closet and apparently she decided that was a good place to store the root beer. It exploded. It ruined half my clothes. But I understand mistakes happen, so I informed her of the Root Beet Catastrophe thinking she’d help me clean, pay for dry cleaning, something. No, she laughed. She didn’t even apologize. So I called my boss that night and quit.
Posts have been lightly edited for style and clarity.
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