Up until recently, I can say that I’ve never had a problem with anyone I’ve worked with. My co-workers and I have been around each other for the last six years, and have come to recognize each other’s moods and work habits. Although my office is mostly composed of women, there hasn’t been issues that we’ve never been able to chalk up to one of us PMS’ing. So we know when to stay clear and tread lightly.

Eventually you get that one person. That one person who feels the need to disrupt a work environment and cause unnecessary stress and drama. That one person, when every time you see them, you just want to take a can of compressed air and spray it in their eyes. But you realize it’s never a good look to get dragged out of the building in handcuffs. So of course, you don’t take that route.

Allow me to be a bit candid, most people will tell you that the only way to deal with an unruly coworker is to seek help from Human Resources. I call bullshit. As an HR professional with about fourteen years of experience, let me tell you, no one likes a tattletale. I’ve even had to step in and air grievances with my own HR department and lets just say, advocating wasn’t their strong suit. Once you’ve stepped foot into mediation with HR and the co-worker, it may seem resolved, but there’s a chance that person will always have a sense of animosity with you. And that only makes for a more tense work environment. In my experience, most coworker issues are quite petty. She stole my stapler. He didn’t give credit on the project we worked together on. Amongst normal functioning adults most things should have an easy resolution.

Here are a few steps to resolve co-worker issues:

  1. Kill them with kindness - If you have that coworker that has a stick permanently stuck in their behind, try a little tenderness. Engage in a cordial conversation, find interests you may share with that person and talk about them. Sincerity and kindness goes a long way.
  2. Change Of Scenery - No one wants to look at someone 5 days a week, for 8 hours a day in the same environment. Most people spend more time with their co-workers than with their own family, so that’s an added stress factor. A new environment can change the way you perceive someone. Happy hour, a lunch outside of work or maybe a weekend event can give you a new perspective about a person.
  3. Don’t be a gossipmonger - If you don’t get along with someone, keep it to yourself. Plain and simple. Office gossip spreads faster than Kim Kardashian’s legs and the more you express your disinterest in a person, the harder it is to accomplish #1 or #2.
  4. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself- Maybe it’s not the co-worker you have an issue with, maybe it’s yourself. You think your coworker is lazy, and doesn’t contribute to the team? But you’re sitting at work reading Clutch, CNN and not contributing, then you have more in common with that coworker than you think :)

If you have to spend eight, sometimes more than that in an office with other people, it doesn’t make sense for it to be a stressful and disharmonious environment. But if it’s too much for you to take, there’s always HR, or a new job. But if you haven’t noticed, the job market isn’t the greatest.

  • Downsouth Transplant

    LOL “seating at work reading clutch etc & not contributing” i guess the jig is up it has been a good run clutch now i gotta start on the contribution part @ this office even if it is almost 1.00pm!

  • Blaque217

    Although my office is mostly composed of women, there hasn’t been issues that we’ve never been able to chalk up to one of us PMS’ing.

    Wow, I’d have to say you are very fortunate. Ir’s been my experience that an office full of women is a recipe for disaster, which is why I absolutely keep to myself at work. I keep the small talk to a minimum and share very little personal information…been burned too many times to do otherwise.

  • OSHH

    All I can do is smh, I’d be here all day re-telling the things that have been done against me out of malice, spite, envy, folks insecurity and other personal issues. It’s truly sad some women become undone simply by anothers presence, and or act like you own them your friendship just cause ya’ll work together. Some folks truly are pathetic, come thru the door talking bout folks which lets me know they are not very bright or trustworthy.

  • http://1stamend-kisa-kisa.blogspot.com/ kisa

    I loved this post. LOVED LOVED LOVED

  • Jess

    LOL…The picture on this article is hilarious!

  • Jess

    “f it’s too much for you to take, there’s always HR, or a new job. But if you haven’t noticed, the job market isn’t the greatest.”

    poor jobmarket or not, GET OUT if your workplace is terrible. life is too short to deal with horrible people the majority of your waking hours, which is just how long we are forced to interact with coworkers. The effects of daily stress on your psyche and your body will cost you much more in the long run (stress-related illness, anxiety, loss of confidence, hospital bills, etc)than taking a pay hit and looking for something better. It willbe so muchmore worth it in the long run.

    Misery loves company, but why give it to ‘em? Misery doesn’t deserve our company, so find something better.

  • Jess

    Also, maybe the author of this article shouldn’t be working in HR and dispute resolution since she considers employee grievances tattle-telling. Speaks volumes about the type of HR personnell the author was, i.e. not a food one at all, so don’t work in a company with an HR person with her attitude. Run farrr and wide, Eeek!

  • Jess

    oops..not a * good * one

  • http://gravatar.com/cnm88 Sunshine

    This might be a different topic for another day but most of my work agony came from a woman of my own race. After I quit my job to further my education, I heard that she treats the new non-black employee like gold although the new employee talks foul about her behind her back. It’s really sad, but what goes around, comes right back around. She better believe that!

  • http://fancyfacekreations.blogspot.com/ Kween

    There’s a lady at my job who without fail, EVERYDAY floats into my work space to “remind” me to work and not talk. She seems to be joking, but it feels like harassment. She feels above me…always comparing herself to me (“I” have been working, so YOU should work…stop talking) Well…firstly, my manager and I do chit-chat during work (We do a lot of menial filing and recording) and we find it makes our day fly by. I’m anal, so I do manage to do my workload plus some. What I’ve taken to doing is “playfully” putting her in her place with countering comments. I say, “Your desk is over THERE…so, I can’t figure out how you’re working and telling ME what to do at the same time! Do you need my efficiency?”

    About, two days of my witty comebacks and a day of ignoring everything she said has made her nice somehow. ::shrugs:: LOL

  • Dawn

    As another HR prof…can’t say I don’t agree…and if you don’t get satire & sarcasm…then oh well

  • http://stimulatemymind.wordpress.com hpymrzsimmons

    I was in this predicament a couple of years ago. I worked with a woman who was very mean-spirited, uptight, and a know-it-all. Luckily, I worked with her on a team of three so I had a companion to talk to about how hard it was to work with her. I took the first route explained here. Instead of being nasty back to her, I made it a point to speak very pleasantly and ask her how she was and if there was anything I could do to help her. This seemed to work for the most part. I mean, she was still mean, but at least it kept the three of us from pulling each others hair out.

    I didn’t talk to anyone in the workplace about her. I am not the gossiping type anyway. But, I did confide in people that I trust like my husband and my other team member. No one else ever found out about my specific experiences with her, but must people already knew that she was a tough person to work with anyway.

  • Egypt

    Great topic…
    Lawd knows…some of those people at work don’t get out much…Just crazy. I just learned to keep to myself and let the crazy people do what they do on their own accord.

  • JN

    yes! join the conversation!

  • JN

    Man, I have comments that could go on for days…I had this one co-worker that literally stole stuff from my desk. and it felt like the twilight zone because everyone thought she was awesome (except one of my bosses). So glad to be out of there.

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