Instead of a penthouse office, you're packed in a cubicle workstation with no walls, doors or privacy. You decide to make the best of it because after all--you've got a job. After a few weeks, you realize why the last person vacated your cubicle address; it's the crazy coworkers! Don't feel alone, thousands of people understand the plight of the cubicle worker. It is a national phenomenon. Do these five coworkers seem familiar to you?
The break room slob: This coworker leaves a trail of breadcrumbs behind him, in case he can't find his way back to the break room. After a coffee refill, he carelessly leaves a wet stirrer, torn packets of sweetener and open creamer on the counter. He's not worried about it; his wife usually cleans up after him. The office microwave is speckled with marinara because he insists on heating up his lasagna without a lid.
The cure: Add him to the cleaning list--twice. Don't be afraid to call him out on his messy ways. (And don't laugh about it, you're not his wife, or the cleaning lady.)
The desk snacker: Smacking, crunching, gum cracking, slurping, burping and stinky smells eek from this cubicle every day. This classless coworker treats her work area like it's her kitchen table. It's truly gross and she makes the work environment less pleasant to be in.
The cure: Send her a copy of the break schedule with a reminder of the company rules about desk snacking. If there isn't anything, talk to an office manager or the human resources manager privately. Don't pick on the coworker by name but let them know it's a problem.
The personal space invader: This coworker shows up at your cubicle every morning to share his misadventures from the previous night. Or he slips into your cubicle, while you're on the phone, to "borrow" your stapler/paper clips/important papers...they're never seen again.
The cure: Make a visit to the invader's cubicle. Be respectful and wait until he's off the phone or not working. (It pays to set the example.) Reclaim your goodies and remind him where the storage cupboard is. The next time he shows up for a blow-by-blow of his private victories, raise your hand and say, "Can we talk about this later?"
The company spy: She's inquiring about your health, children, husband but you know she doesn't really care. She's buddy-buddy with the big wigs in HR and you've heard her gossip about everyone else. Don't think you're not on the list.
The cure: Keep your mouth shut. Don't answer questions about others or volunteer information about yourself. You'll see it on Facebook later. Be pleasant but distant.
The chronic complainer: Nothing goes right for this guy. He's always misunderstood or unappreciated. Don't stand around listening, he'll bring you down.
The cure: Ask him, "Have you talked to our manager?" Another great answer is, "Interesting," or "Wow." Don't volunteer to become a listening ear for a whiner.
Who did I miss?
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