13 ways you’re driving your co-workers nuts

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The gum-snapper. The heavy-handed perfume-sprayer. The close-talker. Chances are, if you work with one of these “types,” he or she drives you completely nuts. It’s like how does gum-snapper not know how annoying she is?

But, that’s the thing about pet peeves. While most of us are quick to point out the flaws in others, we can be completely unaware of our own. Gum snapper probably has no idea she’s driving you crazy because she’s too focused on the fact that you CAN’T STOP USING YOUR OUTDOOR VOICE.

To help us all become a little more self-aware in the office, and because the second week in October is National Pet Peeves Week, we asked our social media community to name their biggest workplace annoyances. Based on some of the more popular responses we got, here’s a look at the many things you might be doing to drive your co-workers nuts. (Seriously, the “Chicken Dance” ringtone was only funny the first time. And even then, it wasn’t all that funny.)

1. “People hovering at my desk” – Julia E., via Facebook

2. “People who are always ‘putting out fires’… I think folks should calm down a little and just get stuff done. Oh and meetings, meetings, meetings … with too many people. Really? When was the last 10 person meeting that was truly productive?” — Sarah O., via Facebook

3. “Gossip/drama! Keep it to yourself! Don’t get involved! If someone starts to say something negative about a co-worker, tell them, ‘I’m sorry you have difficulties with X, I hope you two can work things out. I’m sure it’s none of my business. Please don’t involve me because we are all friends here.’” — Leslie N., via Facebook

4. “Micro-managing.” — Sergio C., via Facebook

5. “People who enter your office, see you speaking on the phone w/ a customer and plop down and wait listening to the whole conversation while doing distracting things like picking up items, photos, etc. from your desk. Or even worse, when they try to talk interrupt your call and ask you questions while you are still on the phone. Rude, rude, rude.” — Tracey E., via Facebook

6. “The microwave and fridge is near my desk, [but] why do people have to place their items on my desk?” — Cassandra B., via Facebook

7. “People who do not do their job well, but complain about their situation. You control your own future.” – @MsMichelleTyler, via Twitter

8. “When people chew gum loudly and pop it!!! Uggggh drives me bonkers!” — Paula C., via Facebook

9. “My pet peeve is people who show up late for meetings. I was always taught that 5 min. early is on time!” — Em V., via Facebook

10. “People who use and wear scented products in enclosed workspaces which can literally kill a person who is chemically sensitive. Employers need to embrace and enforce fragrance free policies. I consider this the new 2nd hand smoke issue.” — Hedwig R., via Facebook

11. “Emails with blank subject lines, or even worse, one that is so long it belongs in an actual email, not the subject line.” — @Robzilla28, via Twitter

12. “People who complain about something that someone else did wrong but don’t do anything to fix it.” — @chadjedwards, via Twitter

13. “Favoritism! Especially from the higher echelons of an organization.” -- Tanya W., via Facebook

What are your biggest workplace pet peeves?


  1. So many pet peeves to choose from, but my biggest is when managers discuss their employees work w/someone not directly associated to that person. I used to sit right in front a “Lead” aka supervisor who had many conversations about many of his directly team members. Since I was one, and I could hear him all day long on the phone or w/someone in his cubical…I often wondered what does he say about me. If Suzy is the worst at writing letters, and Mary would be forever on smoke breaks and not clock out or worst discuss their reviews w/someone not involved.

  2. A manager or meeting facilitator asking ” are we all on the same page” when no one is reading a book or a handout. Ask me do i understand the information just presented.

  3. people that spend most of their time complaining of others lack of productivity. How much are they accomplishing while interrupting even more people.

  4. Asking your boss to hire someone to help you on over-whelming projects and hires a slob who says they are ‘putting out fires’ when he or she doesn’t even know if there is a fire at all. On top of that, they are hired at twice your salary and then have to do the training. They both can burn in hell!

  5. People who think they must do your job because you are not capable of doing it right….Control Freaks have no place in the workplace!

  6. I sdont like Control Freaks in the workplace…they think you are not compentent enough to do your job so they have to do yours, theirs and everyone elses.

  7. - When people on an email abuse the Reply All with every insignificant, unnecessary reply.

    - When people forward a huge email thread to me without summarizing or telling me specifically how it applies to me.

    -When people go past their scheduled time with a conference room.

    -When people schedule a conference room, but forget to unschedule it when they decide they don’t need it.

  8. -When people abuse the “high importance” indicator on emails and how they think all their emails are more important than other people’s.

  9. People who complain about what they HAVE to go through while working.. because being part of UNEMPLOYED America is so much better?

  10. Mid-level managers who are far less skilled than the poor souls they crack the whip on every day and when called out on this on any level, pull rank in order to “win” and suppress the fact that they’re completely incompetent. It’s an epidemic!

  11. People that hum constantly! It drives me crazy along with snapping and chewing gum; I have thrown people out of my office for doing either! The one about the blank subject line or the too long subject line is so true also!

  12. putting a person in a high position that never has managed their own life much less manage ppl are now in charge of you and have carte blanche to do what ever they like including ruining every single day they see you… sick sick… but wait who put that person in that place maybe they are just as sick… oh! my opinion of course.

  13. Someone who uses your desk while your at lunch, and messes up all your piles. Then they dont even move out quickly when you return

  14. Coworkers who text and spend time on Facebook or on the internet shopping during work hours! Can we all just grow up now and be responsible adults please?!

  15. Supervisors and Managers that do not see talent but see manipulative workers as talent and keep those less talented and energetic around. I realize not every position will be the shining one, but come on, why keep the drones when there are many that want to work, will bend over backwards to work, and won’t spend their time gossiping or on the internet shopping, tweeting or other!

  16. When you bring your lunch from home and put it in the refrigerator at work when you get to work and when it’s time for you to take your lunch you go to the refrigerator and realize that someone was just as hungry as you. You know someone ate your lunch you just don’t know who? You want to curse but you don’t know where to start.

  17. People clearing the phlegm from their throat in the middle of the common work floor. Seriously people a cough is one thing, but that belongs in the rest room. Yech!

  18. People who eat at their desk. I have a co-worker who eats breakfast, lunch AND snacks all through the day. And then she sucks her teeth after every bite! Why not eat breakfast before you report to work? Why not eat lunch in the employee lounge? Why not snack on your 15 minute break? And why not just stop sucking your teeth! Period.

  19. Companies and employees who do not honor EEOC guidelines. Oh let us not forget about all of the bullies and clicks in the work place. What is also irritating is when management and some of the so called human resource managers and generalist who are also guilty of these actions. It would be interesting if companies would allow employees to do merit interviews on the management team from the top echelons to the supervisory staff. — Lesa D., via Careerbuilder

  20. I’m in a new job. I have a lot of middle supervision folks who do nothing but point out negatives. I hate to learn what not to do or how not to do something. There is a positive way it can be done.

  21. Wow! Glad I don’t work with Leslie N.! What a snotty response at #3. I doubt I would talk with her about anything, given her attitude. This has to be the laziest article every written. It’s just clips from litle creeps on social networks.

  22. Supervisors who absolutely will not acknowledge and utilize their subordinates’ input regarding a specific issue, yet consistently request such information from those very same people over and over again. Then some ‘new’ person comes in with the very same suggestions and the Boss is completely blown away with ‘new’ person’s brilliance!

    (e.g. Boss: What can we do to improve X and Y? Peon: L, M, N, O, and P. [Boss ignores everything Peon suggested and lessthan a week later...] Boss: What can we do to improve X and Y? )

  23. My very favorite pet peeve is somebody that does NOTHING, but always uses the word “we” in the explainations of how things got done!

  24. I have a couple pet peeve’s. - When someone escalates a problem to you, you make a plan with them and then go off and do something completely different and then don’t communicate it back to you.  - When someone sends you an email and then calls you or comes to your desk to let you know they did when it isn’t urgent. - When a customer says, I need this by next Thursday and someone leading the project says, we’ll do it by tomorrow. Why would you do that? Enjoy stressing your employees out for fun?- When you send reports with factual information and then receive an email an hour later asking you for information that is in the report you just sent them and you spent a half an hour putting together for them.- When people speak AT you, instead of TO you
    Maybe I should stop now. :)

  25. - Coworkers who know just the right time to disappear to avoid certain tasks they don’t want to do- leaving it to you.
    -coworkers leaving you all by yourself while they all go on a smoke break- and you aren’t fully trained. ( thus hoping you will fail)

  26.  @james83z28
     The hipocrisy is that weed is illegal, but the legal drugs 80% of Americans are on are perfectly ok, simply because they’re ‘legal’.  Hell, I’m more worried about my legally over-medicated coworkers than anyone who smokes weed!  Not that I condone any type of smoking, it’s just the stupidity of people believing everything they read, are told, or see as the gospel truth!  When’s the last time anyone smoking weed drove over and killed an entire family?  When was the last time someone smoking weed went on a shooting spree? (drug deals notwithstanding…when alcohol was illegal the tomy gun was the weapon of choice.  Legalize weed and drug deals gone bad no longer involve weed!)  When was the last time someone who smoked weed beat the crap out of their spouse and kids?  Now…substitute alcohol in those questions…hell, substitute any and all other legal and illegal drugs in those questions…now tell yourself the truth about how terrible marijuana really is….exactly…it ISN’T. 
    Abuse of anything leads to negative activity, marijuana is no exception…but it sure as hell doesn’t fit the negative, incorrect, disproven description incompetent morons  have been branding it with decade after decade. (e.g. those making trillions on legal drugs, legal but often unsafe to the point of killing the very people they’re suppose to be helping! We’ve all seen the TV and Newpaper ads…victims suing drug companies for allegedly producing deadly and/or…unhealthy drugs!  How many have died overdosing on weed?  How many have lost use of limbs, eyes, ears, motor skills, bodily functions, brain…ok, stimulating the mind isn’t exactly it’s strong point…but many recognized people of intelligence have used weed and are….still intelligent (though maybe slightly less so for inhaling filthy air). 
    I’m not saying it’s perfectly ok to smoke as much weed as you want, when you want…just as it isn’t for any drug (alcohol is a drug so I’m not say ‘and alcohol’ after drug like morons do).  I’m just pissed every time I read about a drunk driver running over an innocent person (little kids..entire families!) and it’s relatively no big deal to anyone.  Yet someone gets caught with a little bit of weed and the media, even your average citizen act as if they’re hardened violent criminals!  Some receiving longer sentences for small amounts of marijuana than the drunk driver who just killed an entire family! 
    Unfortunately, too much money is involved (drug companies, insurance, law enforcement in all and every branch) for marijuana to become legalized any time soon.  Legalize marijuana…what does that do to the aforementioned industries?  Incredible revenue and job loss.  So, james83z28, you’re pretty much screwed, that’s just how it is, and yes, it sucks.  Sorry.

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