Office crazies: How to spot ’em, how to squash ’em

Dear Danni,

I am at my wits end with a fellow coworker of mine. Example: He always talks about things people should not discuss AND ANYONE WITH MORALS WOULD NEVER EVEN THINK ABOUT.

Some of the crazy stuff he says:

“What do you think if Sarah comes in tomorrow, and her pet fish is laying dead on the keyboard of her computer?”

“Wouldn’t it be funny if I loosened the lug nuts on someone’s car, and they drove off and got in an accident?”

“Wouldn’t it be funny if I put mineral oil in someone’s food in the refrigerator!?”

I am sorry to vent, but please forgive me, I am going crazy here! He causes me so much stress! I know there isn’t much I can do, but I wish I could do something.

Dear “Restraining order waiting to happen,”

I can’t help but wonder if your office offers rehabilitation programs and/or counseling sessions. Is this for real?

What exactly does this man do for his line of work? Profiles on the deranged and disturbed? I certainly hope he isn’t in charge of any human resources. Anyone having to deal with that man should consider relocating…to the Congo.

How is it that people like this get jobs? What’s wrong with the hiring process today?

I mean, you can tell a lot about a person by his or her shoes, yes, but you can tell even more by what jokes they laugh at and what ones they attempt to

crack. Anyone can rattle off an impressive rsum and wear a smart-looking suit, but having social grace (or anything resembling a conscious) is another matter.

Essentially, what we are dealing with here is an explicit form of harassment. Luckily, you don’t have to put up with this jerk’s crap.

I draw your attention to your employee handbook, which I’m sure you have stashed away somewhere. Turn to the section under harassment and policies. Read it thoroughly. I’ll put money down that “Bob’s” comments don’t jive too well with the code of ethics your company claims to uphold.

There’s your evidence to back your case. Now, here comes the ‘having balls’ part of my advice: The next time “Bob” is contemplating driving his vehicle right into the reception area, you calmly and sternly tell him that his comments are inappropriate, they make you uncomfortable and, if they are continued, you will seek management intervention. It may also behoove you to include your disdain for his frequent visits to your office. Feel free to insert the term “jackass” in lieu of this individual’s name at any point of the discussion.

Then, when Nutball McNutty leaves your presence, you write down everything that was said in the conversation, including his verbal/nonverbal responses, and you go straight to the authorities; this man has no right to behave as he does, and nobody will argue with you on that point.

I understand that, especially with smaller corporations, there is a fear of alienating peers. No one wants to be a snitch, but this sounds like a pretty pressing situation, and as far as any sane people are concerned, I’m pretty sure you’ll have the whole office in your corner. There may not be a formal human resources department to which to bring your claims, but make sure you go to someone in a position of authority.

DO NOT-and I am serious on this-DO NOT leave until you have a confirmed agreement regarding the consequences of “Bob’s” actions, now and in the future.

Don’t allow your fear of hours being cut, peer alienation or layoffs scare you from standing up for yourself. These fears are so unsubstantiated, it’s almost funny. Any negative response to you reporting these infractions is not only ridiculous, it’s ILLEGAL!

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