6 types of coworkers no one warns you about + how to deal with them

by Alexandra Martel

black-woman employee

We all know that interns and assistants are often underpaid and overworked. But when you’ve got five deadlines that need to be met this week or your job is on the line.

1. The Coworker Who Refuses to Get on the Same Boat as Everyone Else
Remember how much you hated doing group projects in school, because there was always that one person who just refused to get on board with the rest of the group? You know the one: he gets an idea in his head, right or wrong, and refuses to let it go until you’ve sent him about 17 emails explaining the problem. Congratulations, you now get to work with this person every day!

How to deal: You’re going to need to be more patient than Paul Rudd was when he was teaching Cher how to drive that Jeep. As frustrated as you are, you cannot get mean (because beware: Clueless can quickly turn into Most Likely to Complain to the Boss). If you feel like you just have to punch this person in the face, ask a friend to read your messages and make sure you still sound level-headed, and try to limit your interactions when you can.

2. The Jekyll and Hyde
One of your work friends has turned into your outside-of-work friend, and your adventures outside the office are great. But when you call her out on an incomplete project, she turns into Emily Valentine with a parade float. Suddenly she’s badmouthing you left and right, and even though you picked up her slack, you find yourself defending yourself to half the team.

How to deal: Do not engage with this person. Do not badmouth her either. Explain the situation to your boss as objectively as you can, and step back. While it will be painful for a while to just let her rage around, in the long run everyone will remember that you were the one who acted rationally, and she’ll be the one burning bridges, not you.

3. The Junior Team Member Who Takes on Too Much
We all know that interns and assistants are often underpaid and overworked. But when you’ve got five deadlines that need to be met this week or your job is on the line, it’s hard to feel bad for your intern when she’s slow to give you the help you asked for.

How to deal: Check in with her about her workload on a weekly basis. She’s probably not slacking, but rather is overwhelmed with requests from half a dozen people. She’s going to be too scared to tell people no (would you want to tell Jekyll and Hyde you couldn’t do something?) so take the time regularly to help her time manage her workload, and stand up to people when she can’t.

4. The Manager Who Doesn’t Manage You
You waste no time telling everyone how your new boss is SO nice. But after a few weeks, you start to realize that it’s your other coworkers answering your questions and showing you how to work that godforsaken spreadsheet, and that your boss is nowhere to be found when you really need approval from someone senior.

How to deal: Don’t go over her head — chances are she’s just super busy, and forgets to check in. Take this as a time to show initiative: do your best to figure out the answer on your own, then (confidently!) share with her what you’re going to do. Chances are, she’ll start letting you take on a lot more responsibility when she sees you can handle it.
5. The Middle Manager Who Invents Work

Probably, this person was hired to manage a team or a project. But she has no idea how to actually make herself useful as an organizer, so she invents a bunch of tasks for you to do that you did not have to do. Everyone resents this person for adding five new and unnecessary steps to daily tasks that were running perfectly.

How to deal: Be nice and try out her systems for a couple of weeks and take notes about what is and isn’t working. Once you have a proper list together about why her systems suck, you can go to her boss and explain why she needs to be reigned in.
6. The Person Whose Hair Is So Big Because It’s Full of Secrets
“Oh, did you hear so-and-so might be leaving?” “He hasn’t said anything, but I think the company might get bought.” Sound familiar? While everyone in the office is always going to gossip about something, there’s always at least one person who could add it to his job description.

How to deal: Be friendly with this person — you may learn some valuable insights (though you may want to take them with a grain of salt). However, don’t tell him anything you know in confidence. If you let slip the company’s new deal and he tells everyone, he’ll make sure upper management knows it was you who spilled the beans.


read this article in Cosmopolitan



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