Face it, you’re going to spend more time with these people than with your family. As unfair as it seems, if you’re working a forty-plus hour work week your co-workers are a major part of your life and you’ve simply got to find a way of dealing with difficult people. I’ve organized your coworkers into the following groups and added some tips and tricks to get along with each. Good luck out there!
Everyone’s favorite co-worker has done it all before and done it way better. Did you get tickets to a sold out ball game this weekend? Great, that’s kind of like the time he had box seats and met the whole team. You’ll never impress the one-upper and it’s best not to try because remember that time you ran the marathon in record time? Well, he did it faster, twice.
Ways to Cope: Be kind. The one-upper may have a troubling reason he must always out-do everyone. Maybe he is looking for attention or maybe he feels inadequate. When you can’t be kind be quiet. Spend as little time talking to the one-upper as you can. This may seem cruel but this kind of banter can get really old after a long work week.
The Opportunist is quick to place blame when things go wrong and quicker, even, to take credit when things go well.
Ways to Cope: Avoid, at all costs, working closely with this person. If you are forced to work together on a project do your best to be assertive so all your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. These people are masters at diverting blame and claiming fame so stay out of their path until they are ultimately found out by the powers that be. The good news is these people get greedy and usually don’t last very long.
The Boss’ Pet
This person will be spending far too much time following the boss around to be too much trouble for you but be warned; they cannot be trusted. The boss’s pet is always looking for some juicy gossip to throw someone under the bus. It’s not easy dealing with difficult people but the boss’s pet might take the cake.
Ways to Cope: Be polite as needed but never share anything of importance. You can be sure it will go directly back to the boss with a little twist to make it especially bad for you.
The Too-Friendly Boss
The boss isn’t a bad person by nature, hopefully; but the position lends itself to decision-making that can make or break relationships. The boss will keep a professional distance, if they’re doing it right, because you and your co-workers may need to vent. If you’re boss feels they are one of the gang it can lead to some awkward situations.
Ways to Cope: Keep talk of staff get-togethers, that don’t include the boss, to a minimum. She has feelings too, you know. Yes, you need your time to vent but keep in mind being top dog isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The talker can kill a whole afternoon detailing her visit to the coffee shop earlier that day. While friendly enough, the talker doesn’t understand that you’d much prefer to get to the task at hand so you can leave work on time.
Ways to Cope: Try not to get cornered. Have a polite excuse ready for when you do get cornered and never ever answer ‘yes’ to the questions: “Do you have a minute?