Pet Peeves at Work in an Office
A Business Office
Pet Peeves at Work
For most of my life, I have worked in offices for both schools and the government. The work has been interesting and rewarding; however, it could have been better if certain office culture behavior had been improved or changed altogether. I have characterized a lot of this behavior as my pet peeves at work that I share with you in this article.
Office Pet Peeves List
The following includes 13 items that by all means go on my bad work habits list.
1. Wasting and Misusing Time
It's amazing the amount of productive time that is wasted and misused in offices. When I worked in a government office, many employees spent the first work hour eating breakfast in the cafeteria, going to the coffee mess, and socializing with other fellow workers. We were authorized 30 minutes for lunch; however, at least once or twice a week many employees would go out for lunch and the half-hour lunch break would turn into a one and one-half or two-hour break.
While working for schools, instruction time has been lost by classes consistently not beginning on time. If 50 minutes class begins 10 minutes late every day, 50 minutes or one period is lost every week. Over a school year, this amounts to a significant loss of class time.
2. Wasting Money
If taxpayers were aware of how the federal government wasted money, they would be appalled. While I worked for the federal government, one of the biggest wastes of money was on overseas travel perks for all employees. For example, if a non-manager made a TDY or temporary business trip from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, Beijing, or Bangkok, he or she could expect to fly business class and stay in five-star hotels. While staying overseas, the employee would also receive a generous per diem for food and incidental expenses comparable to the cost of eating steak and lobster every meal in fashionable restaurants in New York City. In reality, are these perks necessary for a secretary?
3. Excessive Complaining
I always hated the chronic complainers in my offices. These were the people who had a beef about everything, and they expressed their discontents vociferously. Their complaints certainly didn't help office morale, and at times led to a loss of productivity. There is a saying that one should lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.
4. Going With the Flow
On so many occasions, going with the flow and not making any waves has stifled needed change in office culture. Many employees have accepted bad practices in the office and not demanded change because they don't want to be known as troublemakers and possibly lose their jobs. Whistleblowers just have too many horror stories to tell.
5. Affirmative Action
Affirmative action has been around since at least the late 1980s. It all stems from the government's belief that promotion and positions of management power had been held for too long of time by white men. To level the playing field, affirmative action means that the government has to give preference in hiring and promotions to women and minorities no matter whether they might not be as qualified as white men. Many deserving older white men have lost out on promotion to undeserving women and minorities due to the policy of affirmative action.
6. Not Being a Team Player
There is a saying that knowledge is power. A lot of my former office colleagues adopted this philosophy and did all they could to promote themselves at the expense of being a team player. What seems so unfair to me is that most of the people who were selfish promoting themselves without working for the interests of the team rose quickly in rank with promotions while the team players were left behind.
7. Skating - Not Giving 100 Percent
Based on my upbringing, I have always detested people who didn't give 100 percent in the work they did. On many occasions, other members of the office team have had to do more work to compensate for the "skater's" non-productivity. When I was young, I learned the slogan, "Good, better, best - never let it rest until your good becomes better, and your better becomes best."
Back-stabbing is the evilest of office practices. This is essentially a form of hypocrisy in which a person will say nice things to your face, but do bad things behind your back. One of my prior co-workers was once backstabbed by another co-worker. The backstabber did the evil deed by going behind the co-worker's back and discrediting his work to the work team's supervisor.
This is manifested by lying to a boss or co-worker. It is also seen in employees who cheat on tests. One of my former office colleagues broke into another co-worker's desk and stole the answers to a language test that he had to pass to get certification for his job.
10. Breaking Rules and Regulations
I guess it is human nature for most people to see what they can get away with. In my previous offices, a lot of workers would get to work 5-10 minutes late or leave at the end of the day 5-10 minutes early. If a superior never called them on this, they would continue to do it. The same would apply to not following the office dress code or spending too much time on a lunch break.
11. Cutting Corners
It is also human nature for people to do the least amount of work possible in completing a task. This is related to "skating" and taking shortcuts to finish a job. The problem with cutting corners is that in many situations the quality of the end product will suffer.
12. Taking Advantage of Someone
This happens most often to the naïve or new and inexperienced office worker. There have been many times when I saw experienced office workers volunteer the new guy on the block for some of the more undesirable tasks in the office.
13. Flattering The Boss - Playing Office Politics
During my first few years in a government office, I was able to work my way up and get promotions to a mid-level position quite rapidly. Promotions then stopped when I refused to play politics and flatter the boss. I can still remember the assistant chief of my office saying, "If you want to get a promotion to a higher grade level, it's not a question of what you know, but a question of who you ________."
My pet peeves at work list could go on and on. For this article, I have listed what I think stands out as bad behavior at work. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that much of this workplace behavior will continue in the future.
Top Five Pet Peeves at Work in an Office
Pet Peeves in an Office
What is your number one pet peeve at work in an office?
Pet Peeves at Work in an Office
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Paul Richard Kuehn