Annoying co-workers are blessings in disguise

Dear Jen,

This is a question about how to deal with the world’s most obnoxious co-worker. He is loud, overdramatic, fairly lazy and overcritical-and if you confront him about anything, he gets so upset.

I sometimes think he lies about half the things he says because for every random event that happens in your day, he finds a way to “one-up” it.

I can hardly stand to be around him, but I work with him almost every day.

How can I tell him that he is obnoxious, self-centered and just needs to not open his mouth when he is around me?

Help!

Dear Co-worker Conundrum,

I don’t know why I am on this movie kick lately, but have you seen “Office Space?” If not, you are at a serious disadvantage in the work environment-if you can’t make TPS report, Lumberg and “set the building on fire” jokes, than why work at all, really?

Here is a list of the things you can do, besides memorizing “Office Space” to make a profound difference in your situation:

-Nothing.

-Reverse time and change the way your mouth-breather co-worker was socialized.

-Nothing.

Hopefully the futility of your situation is becoming clear.

Sure, you could go to your boss, but what are you going to say? “Um, Tom is really, really annoying.”

Unfortunately, as anyone who works with “that guy” knows, your boss is not going to fire someone for being annoying.

Hell, if that was the case, half the work force would be gone-including everyone who has ever worked in retail. (“How ya doin’ in there?” “Our new ‘just above the crotch bone’ jeans would be so fabulous on you!”)

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ease your pain without running to your boss like a tattletale 10-year old runs to “ground-duty.”

For starters, try dropping social hints.

When he rambles on about “that one time” when he was “so wasted,” nod uninterested, mumble an “uh huh” every now and then, and maybe he’ll get the point.

The risk here is that obnoxious people usually don’t excel in the social skills department, and he may not pick up on, or care for that matter, if you are interested in him or not.

Try to stay busy, or at least stay looking busy, when you work with him. Find ways specific to your job location where you can avoid him altogether.

When it comes down to it, though, the best remedy to this problem is your attitude.

Without annoying co-workers, what would you bitch about when you got home?

How many fewer jokes/impressions would you have in your arsenal? And for God’s sake, whose back would you have to talk behind?

Annoying-ass people are our comedic foils, and life is full of them.

Use them to your advantage or risk becoming one.

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