Meet The 10 Worst Coworkers, Ever

Sometimes, people are the worst. Okay, not all the people, but definitely that guy who's always lurking, trying to ask an inane question while you're in the middle of a crisis. Or, the girl who's perpetually trying to show you up — even when you're NOT competing with her.
Sigh. And, look, we can't help you wave a magic wand and get rid of the people making your work life hard. (Sorry.) But, we can teach you a little bit about 10 of the personalities who are the most dangerous — and show you how to deal with them like a pro. It's all courtesy of Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's in-house career pro and the author of Girl On Top: Your Guide To Turning Dating Rules Into Career Success.
Advertisement
Ahead, her definitive guide to handling the jerkuses at your office. And, no, none of these solutions involve labeling your stapler (although, we'll admit we've definitely done that before).
P.S., we know we've missed a few. Like, say, The Pontificator, The Business-Jargon Obsessive, The Micromanager, The Pot-Stirrer — the list goes on. So, go ahead and add your biggest pet peeves in the comments. You know, for round two.
1 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"Dishing out back-handed compliments, accidentally leaving you off important meetings or calls, not inviting you to company gatherings…sound familiar? Yep, underminers see you as a threat. Your very existence makes them feel insecure and jealous — otherwise, why would they go to such lengths to not include you?

In this case, you really do want to keep your friends close and enemies closer. Start inviting your underminer out to lunch or drinks. Need some conversation starters? Check out his or her profile on LinkedIn. You might have some connections or interests in common. The key is to get this person to see you as an equal rather than a threat. After that, if you're still getting left out, you're going to have to go around him or her and talk to your other coworkers to make sure you stay in the loop."
2 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"'My dog ate my homework' didn’t work in high school, and it won’t work today. And, yet, plenty of people think they can get away with submitting their work hours or days late. Not so.

If you have no choice but to work with these people, you need to set different deadlines and guidelines for them. I once had a client who habitually strolled into meetings 15 to 30 minutes late — Starbucks cup in hand. It drove me crazy. So, I decided to think proactively. Before our next meeting, I let her know I was heading to Starbucks and would love to pick up her favorite drink. She was happy for the offer and actually showed up on time. This became a weekly process. However, if she ever came late again, I planned to tell her meetings were starting 15 to 30 minutes earlier than they actually were."
3 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"The hardest person to work with at any office is a liar. They're the ones who claim to have done it all, seen it all, and met everyone…yet their stories never quite add up. These people frequently over-promise and under-deliver. Their actions — or lack thereof — might be starting to affect your job if you're being forced to go behind them, picking up the pieces. And, it's even more likely to be a problem if any of this dishonesty is intentional or coming at the expense of your good name.

You need to keep contact with this person to a minimum and keep your correspondence in writing at all times. If they try to get out of a presentation or meeting, or deliver misinformation to your bosses or peers, you’ll have the evidence in your inbox."
4 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"These types are sure to bring you (and everyone else) down, but you have to proactively make sure that they don't. But, before you can do that, you have to be careful not to get sucked into their web of negativity.

Complainers are either fault-finding and blame-assigning, or they are the types of 'no' people who tend to reply with phrases like 'we already tried that' and 'that could never fly.' Either way, this negativity is going to unnerve the team, and it's most definitely not going to help get things done. What you have to do to combat the negative comments is rely on optimism. Meet the bleak observations with utter encouragement, and try to find solutions for the task at hand. This will either force the whiny neighbor to shape up — or, if not, at least shut up."
5 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"The overshadower is a more menacing cousin of the overachiever. This person will always want to one-up you. Anything you do, she will want to do bigger, better, and faster. But, behind that perfect façade is often someone who is seriously lacking in self-confidence. Blow her out of the water by staying calm and confident — never flying into a fit or losing your cool.

Basically, the more harmless overachiever becomes a threat to you when she starts to horn in on your job. Her offers to 'help' turn into her taking over your project and claiming all the credit. Always be cautious of her getting too close to your presentations. Learn from her hard work, but don’t let her overshadow you. You’ve worked hard and have earned the right to the respect that comes with it."
Advertisement
6 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"Sneaky and slippery, slackers are infinitely smarter than they look. In fact, their workplace goal is often to trick you into doing all or part of their job for them. How do they manage this? By playing dumb, acting ill-informed, or being just plain lazy.

Make them take responsibility for their performance and their actions. If necessary, allow them to fall flat on their face in front of the boss in order to prove both their incompetency and your unwillingness to cover for them anymore. Enabling this person because you feel bad won't help either of you."
7 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"This character uses compliments, praise, and lots of saccharine sweetness to get noticed by senior people and move ahead of coworkers. The kiss-up is hard to combat because she can make even the nicest person look a little lackluster.

Thwart her by striving to forge real relationships with your boss and coworkers so that you can give honest opinions that are respected — whether or not they’re accepted."
8 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"Who hasn’t experienced working with a colleague or even boss who doesn't thoughtfully plot ideas before executing them? Their energy levels are off the charts — but, in a way, you pay a price for that vigor. This type of coworker is great for bringing morale and liveliness to the office, but when it comes time to buckle down and do work, it’s much harder to rein them in. Any time they watch the news or read articles on LinkedIn’s Pulse, they will most likely want to hastily pivot without properly thinking through the consequences.

The best way to deal with a less-than-measured coworker is to hear their case and let them do the initial groundwork on ideas. From there, you start to chat about collaborating and next steps, but remember not to over-commit yourself or get sucked into yet another one of their events/campaigns/promotions or presentations. Look out for the company’s bottom line — as well as your own.

However, if this person is your boss, then things change a bit — and you need to tread lightly. If they constantly send you five new ideas before your alarm even goes off, then you need to have a face-to-face conversation with them about how to manage your time between daily responsibilities and all of these 'projects.' Chances are you aren’t the first person to have brought this to their attention — and you won’t be the last."
9 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"She (or he — don't let 'queen' in the title throw you off) thrives on overreacting to even the most minor of occurrences and constantly demands attention from everyone in the office. The Drama Queen is prone to exaggeration, so take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Before you respond to this person's issues or complaints, do some fact-checking and get the real story. Above all, don’t encourage the dramatics — or engage with them. This person likely has issues staying focused, so being super low-key will force him or her to do the same."
10 of 10
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
"The key to engaging with the person who hovers uncomfortably and needs attention is to keep your interactions brief. Ask direct questions and demand succinct answers. Communicate in group meetings or over e-mail whenever you can (it keeps things less personal). When the conversation starts to drift to the dark side, wrap it up. If you engage, he’ll feel like he has a friend in you and will be more likely to approach again and again with his endless stories you most likely don't have time for. Remember, if you ever feel like the lurking isn’t so harmless, make sure to tell your boss or file a formal complaint."
Advertisement