It’s important to be considerate when working with others. After all, we’re all on the same team here, right? Unfortunately, overly competitive, hostile, or otherwise difficult coworkers never seem to get that memo.
You’ve likely had some personal experience with challenging coworkers during your own career. You aren’t alone. Here are a few stories that will likely resonate with you.
1. TP thievery
I observed one coworker who repeatedly stole reserve rolls of toilet paper the cleaning staff left on the toilet tank lids. He would even take the roll in use on the holder, and leave the rest of us with nothing.
One day I confronted him as I saw him coming out of the stall with the reserve rolls in a plastic shopping bag. I told him if I ever spotted him doing it again, I’d report it to management. His face was turning colors — but it’s good I caught him red-handed, and on camera, too.” – Back2Bach, Reddit
2. Subject line: Can’t you just come talk to me?
Currently still a nightmare. CC’s the entire office, including multiple owners of the company, when she corrects something I’ve done. My office is about 10 feet from hers. Every time she does it, I just think why can’t you walk 10 feet and address the issue with me. Usually it’s something small or extremely irrelevant. But now I just correct her or show her that it’s not wrong at all and press “reply all” so they can see it. – gt35r, Reddit
3. Time for an upgrade
I’ve been doing this for 20 years — I have horror stories on top of horror stories. And yet the one that still bothers me most of all is one of the most piddly. At my last place of employment, there was a woman who would ask me at least once a month about something related to the typewriter she kept on her desk. Whether there were any more ribbons for it, whether we had any spares “in the back,” where she could take it for service… When I asked her why she imagined I would know anything about typewriter maintenance, she told me, “If it plugs into the wall, it’s IT’s problem.” – LookWhatDannyMade, Gizmodo
4. I Can’t cover for you because I don’t work there anymore
Probably Madeleine. She would organize holidays and pretty much present us with a fait accompli where we HAD to cover for her. Well, one time someone said that they couldn’t cover for her as she was going on holiday, and I was already covering her shift … so Madeleine called her bluff, and just expected her to work it out.
Cue me getting a call on the Friday night, literally begging me to cover for her and work 18 hours over the weekend at about seven hours notice with a 6 a.m. start. This was a regular occurrence.
5.When coworkers attack
The worst coworker I ever had was when I was 18 and working at a fast-food restaurant.
The coworker, also 18, had gotten fired from her other part-time job for stealing. She then needed more money and decided that I should lose my job so she could have my hours.
She took money from my cash drawer so it would look like I had stolen, told managers lies about me and defaced a work-safety sign and blamed it on me.
Given that I’d gotten two performance raises in six months and had never shown up drunk like she had, management did not believe her, and she was fired. – Lisa, CBS News
6. The saboteur
I was 28 years old and my coworker was 30. She constantly talked down to me and made statements like, “Well, when I was your age…” or “It’s different when you’re 30…”
But some of her worst offenses fall in the category of absolute sabotage. She’d withhold specific information or new stats from me, so that when I’d report out a current status in an all-staff meeting, I’d not only give an incorrect number, but she’d interrupt me and say, “No, no. It’s not 34, it’s 38!” And I’d have no idea how she got 38 until after the meeting.
After hours, she would tamper with my spreadsheets and erase the work that I’d done. Then the next morning, before I even arrived, she’d be in our boss’s office complaining that I wasn’t doing my work.
7. Didn’t anyone ever teach you to Chew with your mouth closed?
He eats apples slice-by-slice like a damn goat. He makes a loud crunch and makes the loudest mush noise. Every. Single. Day. Don’t even get me started about the yogurt….
[A commenter then asks for more info about the yogurt.]
He eats yogurt by, like, sloshing it around with his tongue. Completely unnecessary amount of noise. He then proceeds to bang his spoon around the cup for like a minute straight to get every last lick… I was so happy to get away from this guy when I moved cubicles but he somehow ended up right back next to me. – iRomanian, Reddit
Stories have been lightly edited for clarity and style.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you have a story about a nightmare coworker? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.