Worker on quarantine with flu

10 People at Work You Should Avoid Like the Plague

Most companies have employees that are difficult to manage and challenging to work with, but did you know that some of those negative personalities are extremely common? They’re not specific to certain industries or types of work. Instead, they can be found everywhere.

The reasons why some employees are allowed to continue these negative behaviors is a mystery to most workers, but you’ll probably have to deal with them on a daily basis at some point during your career. Sometimes, they can make it very difficult to do your job.

We can all agree that working with challenging co-workers is frustrating, and many people have quit their jobs to get away from team members who make their lives miserable. Don’t get caught up in their ugly traps. Recognize the warning signs of the most common people you should avoid at work and avoid them like the plague!

1. The Gossip

Every office has one — the person who knows all the details about each employee’s life both inside and outside the office. The simple fact that The Gossip knows so much demonstrates how much time he spends collecting dirt rather than doing his job. Don’t get your hands dirty, too. Stay away!

2. The Complainer

Does everything stink? The Complainer thinks so. This is the person who can find the negatives in every situation. Whether the boss wants to launch a new initiative or Bob who sits two cubes away is taking Friday off, The Complainer has something to say about it and it won’t be nice.

3. The Contagion

“Good grief, she’s sick again!” Who knows if she’s really sick, a hypochondriac, or an aspiring actress, but one thing is certain — there is always something wrong with her. You want to stay away from The Contagion so you don’t get infected!

4. The Faker

On Seinfeld, George Costanza was the ultimate faker. These are the people who are quick to tell you how busy they always are, yet they never seem to really do anything.  How do they get away with it? You’ll have to wake George up and ask him. He’s sleeping under his desk.

5. The Flirt

Can’t they wait until after hours? Both male and female employees can be guilty of flirting in the office, and it’s never appropriate. Keep your hands to yourself and avoid the “innocent” attentions of the opposite sex while you’re in the office. It can only lead to problems, and you don’t want to taint your own reputation by making it seem like you’re okay with The Flirt’s behaviors.

6. The Busy-Body

Unlike The Gossip, The Busy-Body operates with a sole purpose: to catch employees doing anything that they’re not supposed to do. The Busy-Body might be a hired-gun under the orders of an executive who’s out to cut staff or rid the team of a specific player, or The Busy-Body might be self-appointed. Stay away or you might be next on The Busy-Body’s report.

7. The Steamroller

The Steamroller has one goal in life — to move up the corporate ladder at all costs. That means The Steamroller could throw anyone under the bus at any moment if it means furthering his career or bolstering his reputation. Don’t get caught under his feet, because he won’t stop to help you.

8. The ROAD

In the military, there is a term used to describe people who are just biding their time in their jobs: Retired-on-Active-Duty (ROAD). Whether a person has gone ROAD because they are actually nearing retirement or they’re biding their time until a better job offer comes along, they’re little more than a warm body in the office. They ignore their responsibilities, and other people end up picking up the slack. Don’t let their bad habits rub off on you. After all, they’ll be gone soon, and you’ll still be picking up the pieces.

9. The Wolf Crier

Yes, there are problems in the workplace and fires that have to be put out, but The Wolf Crier believes that every task assigned to her is a dire emergency. Don’t jump to her screams of panic unless they’re warranted.

10. The Bully

Yes, there are bullies in the workplace, too. These are the people who like to get everyone else to do their work for them. They each have their own ways to put the pressure on lower-level employees. Don’t succumb to their bullying ways. You’re not in elementary school anymore, so stand up for yourself.

While these aren’t the only challenging personalities you might encounter at your job, they are likely to cross your path at some point in your career. As mentioned, learn how to politely avoid their traps, and you’ll leave work a bit happier each day.

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Join the Discussion

  • davidvella

    I would also include the “mobile delegator” – the person who is out all day going to meetings, having lunches but calls in randomly to “check-in”, assign or asks your help on something, all in the attempt so they can feel like they are working.

    You’ll know this by listening to the content of their “urgent” call and realize they could have told you when the finally got into the office.

  • Rachael

    I worked with the ultimate busy body. She was an absolute nightmare listening in to all conversations and phone calls. Butting in and getting the wrong end of the stick. Always whispering and gossiping all day. Pretending that she is always under the cosh when she really does not have that much to do. She is dangerous and I steered clear of her. Unfortunately she got rid of me because she made up a load of bad things about me and moaned to the bosses. Glad I got away from her.

  • will

    I had to work in a small area with just this many types of bad people. As many types of toxic people who were mentioned in this article, were the different types of toxic people that were in my last work place! It was hell. The trailer parks emptied out into my former place of employment! I am so greatful I was terminated because of other’s lies. I am so glad to be free!

    • justin

      You’ll just find it again in your next work place. You are not free. You are in hell. See you again when the train circles the same tracks.

  • justin

    Also, it’s sick that our society has gotten to the point where so many toxic, whiny complainers inhabit the space. People should be screened for whether or not they will actually work to solve problems or whether or not they will just complain and make things a tired mess for everyone else. Get your act together America and grow the hell up.