The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: The Frustrating Co-Workers

opinion

Try talking to nearly anyone about their co-workers, and you'll always uncover a slew of frustrations, often about habits that most of these co-workers don't even realize they have and repeatedly do.

Have you ever wondered if you might be that annoying co-worker? Well for the last couple of months I have been thinking about this, not because I found myself in such a situation but because I couldn't imagine being the one causing such an atmosphere at work.

So in order to avoid pushing our dear hard working co-workers to the limits of their sanity, there are some warning signs that could alarm, if you are heading that direction.

Do you dump last-minute work on people? Ohhh yes, these are the worst co-workers that you can ever find yourself working with especially if they turn out to be your immediate supervisors. There will always be projects that pop up at the last minute and that's okay since one has to finish what they started but don't be the manager or the co-worker who sits on something and doesn't assign it until late. Not only will you come across as inconsiderate and disorganized but you turn to be botheration at work with a possibility of getting a nickname.

Do you really like to chat, even when other people are on a deadline or have something else to do? This unfortunately is a common trait among us and our co-workers that is likely to be caused by our cultural values, so please think about how much talking you do in the average conversation compared to how much the other person does. And keep in mind that just because you happen to have time to talk, it doesn't mean that other people do especially when it comes to cheat chat because it very irritating.

Are you chronically defensive? If you bristle at the slightest hint that your work isn't perfect, your co-workers will probably end up avoiding you so that they don't have to deal with your prickliness. It's always good to keep in mind that well, as some of us work to make ends meet others work so as to fulfill their career journeys but just because we work at the same place, doesn't mean that we should bear each other's agonies. As a result, you'll end up finding that problems go unaddressed and you don't get important feedback that you need.

Do you complain about people behind their backs instead of talking to them directly? If you've ever discovered that a co-worker was complaining to others about something you did but didn't bother to come talk to you about it directly, you know how frustrating this can be. This is a very common practice in our work places and I wonder why people don't know that when you talk to someone directly, not only do you give them the chance to know about your complaint and respond to it, but you might also learn new information that makes you see things in a different light. Which is one of the reasons as to why you are at work to learn from others?

Are you negative or a know it all? If you hate new practices, other people's suggestions, you might as well become the office grump. Grumps sometimes think they're demonstrating their own value by pointing out flaws, but if you find fault in every suggestion, you'll lose credibility, and eventually people will start finding ways to avoid your input altogether or having any input at all.

Do you bring your personal life into the office? From my personal experience, I always avoid these kind of co-workers because they will either make you feel like you ought to get a life (which at the moment you think you have) or try to make you share some personal details that you rather not share. If you frequently take personal calls in earshot of others (especially if they involve yelling, swearing, or crying), sharing details about the fight that you and your spouse had late in the night, or complaining about you nail polish that is peeling off, might make some people (cmon lets stop being polite its makes everyone) around feel uncomfortable, even though they won't tell you. So please keep in mind that professional boundaries are different from social ones, so err on the side of discretion, it doesn't require a lot!

Do you interrupt other people's conversations? If you answer questions that were addressed to other people, or if you don't believe that there's any such thing as a private conversation at work, you might be the office interrupter. It can be difficult to resist the impulse to interrupt once it has become a habit, but try to wait your turn and don't jump in if people are talking privately otherwise people might start avoiding having conversations around you.

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