Seven ways you're making your coworkers hate you
In the tight confines of a cube farm, little annoyances can loom large. Here are seven ways you may be irritating your coworkers without knowing it.
Doing a great job may earn you your coworkers' respect. But if you want to move ahead at your current employer and in your career, respect isn't enough. You also have to be liked -- or at least not actively disliked.
For that reason, most of us do try to be courteous and relatively friendly to everyone at work. (You never know -- today's underling could be tomorrow's hiring manager.) But in the tight confines of a cubicle farm, little annoyances like the following can loom large, and you may be making your coworkers hate you without even knowing it.
1. You're Bad at Email
In this day and age, who's bad at email? Well, you are if you overuse the "urgent" indicator, copy recipients unnecessarily, use inscrutable subject lines or bury important information in the fourth paragraph. Think about it: "Urgent" should mean something like "I'd phone you right now if I could." We all get too much email, so don't annoy people by copying needlessly. And help recipients manage their inboxes by saying what your email is about in the subject line (no "FYI" or "Hi").
2. You're Too Cute
Is your cube decorated like a teenager's bedroom? Does your email signature have a picture of a kitten, an inspirational quotation or your name spelled out in turquoise Comic Sans? Do you wear Christmas ornaments to work in December? If so, it might be wise to work harder at presenting a professional image.
3. You're a Disgusting Eater
You eat at your desk because you're busy, busy, busy. But keep in mind that you're not eating alone -- you're eating next to your colleagues. The rules of table manners do apply even when eating at your desk. When we asked people what annoying habits their cubemates had, "loud chewing" came up surprisingly often.
4. You're a Slob
Look around: Is your desk area messy? Do you leave dirty dishes in the communal sink? Or do you throw banana peels into office trash cans where they stink all day? Well, you need to tidy things up, and keep in mind that smelly garbage shouldn't go into open trash cans near people who are working.
5. You're All Charm and No Substance
You've got a winning personality. You're great at networking. And everyone loves the homemade cookies you bring in at least once a month. But maybe you talk too much (everyone is, after all, trying to work!). Or maybe the coworkers on your team know that you don't really do anything all day. Think you can coast by on charm? You can -- to a point. After that, the decline is swift and hard.
6. You're All Work and No Play
It's a fine line -- but just as workers don't like someone who's all personality, they don't trust someone who hides his personality at work either. So make an effort to attend office gatherings every so often.
7. You're a Know-It-All
"But…but," the know-it-alls are saying, "I've been at the company for such-and-such years and I have so-and-so experience." Everyone gets that you know what you're doing. But a know-it-all's tendency to shut down others' ideas and do all the talking fills coworkers with hate. Here's an idea: Even if you know all about something, why not let someone else get a word in edgewise? You might just learn something.