Funny thing about self-awareness ... most of us have too little of it. Myself included.

Case in point: This week a new co-worker closed my office door while I was on the phone with a client. I thought it was a nice gesture, making sure I had privacy and all.

When I thanked him, he asked me if anyone had ever told me that I'm a loud and animated talker when on the phone with clients.

Maybe. Well ... yeah. A couple of times ... a day.

So, this week, I thought I'd take a lighthearted look at those annoying co-workers and their behaviors. Behaviors that we're just as guilty of ourselves.

Behaviors that we'd all do well to keep in check.

1. The Loud Talker

The loud talker forgets everyone else around him. He somehow thinks he must speak loud enough to cover the distance between the two parties, because the phone ... can't?

2. The Sigher

This co-worker feels stressed and overwhelmed. Whether it's inadvertent or deliberate, his sighs are constant and obvious. OK, we get it. But sigh one more time and we may all lose our minds.

3. The One-Upper

When working with this person, you might as well give up trying to impress. That's because she has been there and done that--much better than you can ever hope to.

4. The Oversharer

There are co-workers and employees in my past who have shared too much information. Way, way too much information. Information that makes it uncomfortable when I see them years later.

5. The Hour Killer

When this co-worker comes your way, you run and hide. That's because you know you're about to lose an hour of your day. What's worse, he doesn't take subtle hints or direct statements that you have work to do.

6. The Desk Eater

I'm sure that Mongolian beef smelled and tasted great last night. But today it's just rank. We get it, you're busy and a hard worker, but please save us all from getting nauseated from the smell and sound as you eat at your desk.

7. The Barefooter

No matter how many times I've seen this one, it still shocks me. Shoes belong on your feet in the office. Especially if you go sans socks. There are already enough odors to deal with in the workplace without your addition.

8. The Interrupter

No matter what you have to say, what this person has to say is more important.

9. The Sentence Finisher

A close cousin to the Interrupter is the Sentence Finisher. This co-worker asks for advice or instruction, and before you can finish--he hijacks your sentence and completes it for you.

Did you really need me, then?

10. The Credit Stealer

We've all had bosses and co-workers that steal all the credit--and it can become a serious problem when left unchecked. Be sure to check out how to get noticed when your work gets stolen.

11. The Debater

This co-worker seems to think her sole mission in life is to challenge everything. And if she happens to be in a meeting with an audience? Even better.

12. The Tell and Bailer

Once you've listened to this co-worker drone on and on, whatever you do, don't try and share parts of your life. That's because when you do, he'll bail at the first possible opportunity.

13. The Self-Inviter

This co-worker has a social radar that lets her know when anyone is leaving the office. Don't bother making up an excuse, such as you're just running an errand--because she'll have one to run too and you might as well go together. Right?

14. The Whistle While You Worker

Whistling doesn't belong in the workplace.

15. The Hummer

Neither does humming.

16. The Gallon Drinker

Yes, I see you. We all see you. And that plastic gallon you carry with you from meeting to meeting. Except, you never seem to finish your gallon of water.

17. The Selective Hearer

Those noise-canceling headphones sure look nice. I bet they sound nice too, because you can't hear us ask you questions. Funny that you can hear us and interject comments into our normal conversations when you want to, though.


Listen, work and co-workers can be awesome. But we're together eight hours every day and can get on one another's nerves. It's important to be mindful of your behaviors so you don't become that co-worker people avoid.