The New Graduate’s Guide to Awful Co-Workers
May is here — and with it a slew of spritely college graduates charging into the workforce. New grads, I’d like to help with that transition. College, being a cesspool of ghastly people, is good partial preparation for the ogres you’ll encounter at your new job.
The remaining preparation will come from this: Gina’s “New Graduate’s Guide to Awful Co-Workers.” Read it and weep.
Try as you may — carefully planning your routes, timing your bathroom breaks — evading the Blabber is unavoidable.* Seemingly ever-present, no matter your location, the Blabber waits — like a Venus Flytrap — ready to snap their blabby jaws over your defenseless ears.
The Blabber typically appears at inopportune moments, like when you are about to enjoy a relaxing break. One of the most challenging workplace struggles is finding a polite, professional way to tell the Blabber, “I only have 15 minutes to enjoy this break and I don’t want to waste them listening to you, so please shut up.” (If any of you have been able to accomplish this, please email me your technique.)
On the bright side, working with a chatterbox does have some perks. Occasionally you’ll encounter the Blabber on your way to do some boring work task. The inevitable holdup can easily consume several minutes of actual work time. If your boss asks what took so long, a mere, “I ran into [the Blabber],” will get you off the hook.
* This does not apply to janitors, who are exempt from having to deal with the Blabber, since nobody talks to them. On a related note, I’m thinking of becoming a janitor.
The Wannabe BFF
You’ll have a Facebook friend request from this co-worker waiting for you by the time you get home from your first day. Whereas normal people survey the workplace populace and see the monsters they’ll have to deal with 40 hours a week, the Wannabe BFF sees hundreds of potential new best friends.
Be prepared to have an excuse at the ready when the Wannabe BFF inquires about your after-work plans — because it’s a trap. When you admit to an open schedule, the Wannabes know you now have no reason to decline their invitation to grab a drink or, God forbid, attend their choir performance.
If my real social life were half as exciting as the one I invent to avoid going out with my co-workers, I’d be the coolest person alive.
The Freak (with a Positive Attitude)
This nut somehow actually enjoys work. As you scroll through your inbox, gleefully deleting unopened emails, you’ll spot a message with a happy face emoticon in the subject line. This is the work of the Freak.
In November, the Freak will send an email asking all staff members to name something for which they’re thankful. On rare days off, the Freak will ask for volunteers to staff a food drive or some other event that never ends — much like the Freak’s annoyingly good mood.
You’ll notice this weirdo at the end of a long, boring meeting. Just when you think your blood pressure couldn’t possibly rise any higher and things are thankfully winding down, the Freak will raise a hand and ask a thoughtful question, which leads to a drawn-out answer — and continuing the meeting for another 15 minutes.
Everyone poops, but sadly, not everyone is mindful of pooping etiquette. Every workplace has at least one Pooper, some jerk with IBS who makes sure you know it. The first sign of a Pooper is usually leftover stains in the toilet. (If only flushing twice were as easy as pooping 12 times a day in public.)
The Pooper stinks up the joint and then shoves the blame off on everyone else. A master of the poop-and-run, the Pooper always makes sure to disappear before others come sniffing around.
Using the bathroom after the Pooper almost guarantees you’ll cross paths with the next co-worker to enter the odor dungeon after you — and thus be blamed for the Pooper’s misdeeds.
Telltale signs of the Pooper: the broccoli eater at lunch or the person who is always walking around with a newspaper tucked under the arm — usually both.
It’s a tough world out there, my darling grads: It sucks looking for a job — and then it sucks having one. Dealing with unsavory co-workers is one of many challenges you’ll face at your new gig.