World's worst co-workers

WORKING WOMAN

September 20, 1992|By Niki Scott

The Credit Thief. The Detail Junkie. The Prima Donna. A lot of you are working with The Worst Co-Workers in the World. Since a recent column about these vampires, gremlins and trolls, you've been writing letters to add to the list.

"I loved your column about the worst co-workers in the world," wrote an administrative assistant in Sacramento, Calif., "but you forgot Credit Thieves -- and I work with two of them.

"If we're all working on a project, these two wait to see if it's a hit with the boss, then step in and grab all of the credit. Needless to say, if the project is not a success, they stand back and let the rest of us take all of the blame."

These Credit Thieves have a counterpart in Syracuse, N.Y. "I work with an Idea Thief, someone who hasn't had an original idea in six years -- and hasn't had to because he spends all his time spouting my ideas and plagiarizing my research and making both sound like his," wrote a television producer.

"I finally stood up for myself last month and let our boss know that the idea he was so crazy about had been mine -- and mine alone -- and that the work it had taken to bring it off had been mine alone, too. Did this creep look even slightly embarrassed? Absolutely not. He said, 'Boy, you ought to get some counseling. You're so-o-o-o insecure!' Gr-r-r-r-r!"

"We have The Drone to contend with," wrote a secretary in Hagerstown. "She's the only loafer in our data processing unit, and it's clear that she expects the rest of us to carry her weight while she laps up more than her share of the honey."

In Indianapolis, it's the office Kewpie Doll who gets the Worst Co-Worker award. "This fluff-head never quite gets it together to put in a real effort. She's too busy making personal phone calls, writing personal letters, filing her nails, leafing through magazines -- you get the picture," wrote one of her exasperated colleagues.

"We're all fed up with her, but since our boss (a middle-aged man) thinks she's the cutest thing that ever came down the pike, she can do no wrong, and the rest of us are just picking on her because she's young and attractive. He actually said this!"

Four women who work as bank tellers in Charlotte, N.C., elected The Prima Donna in their department as the worst co-worker in the world. "Who's the fairest, smartest, most adorable, jolliest, most competent, hardest-working, most deserving person in the whole world? She is -- just ask her!" they wrote.

"Her schedule is the only one that really matters. Her crises (one a week) are the only ones worth mentioning. Every sentence she utters starts with the word 'I,' and no matter what story you have to tell, she has a better one."

But it's The Know-It-All that gets their goat in a Louisville, Ky., clothing store. "He's a nice guy, really, and means no harm. But he's been here longer than any of the rest of us, and has elected himself Resident Expert.

"He knows how things were done in the past -- and how they should be done now. He knows more than anybody else how our clients should be handled, and how the mail should be opened ('Don't you know how to use a letter opener? Here. Take mine.')

"He knows how our vacation schedules should be organized, which new employees should -- and shouldn't -- have been hired, and how they should be trained (by him, of course) once they're here. In short, he knows absolutely everything about absolutely everything -- except how to get along with people!"

Finally, it's The Detail Junkie in a Dallas office who takes the cake (literally) when it comes to driving her co-workers crazy.

Wrote one of them: "If we decide to give someone a birthday party, she insists on figuring out ahead of time exactly how much each person will have to chip in before we order the cake. She's been known to take up to half an hour dithering about what exactly the cake should say.

"The big picture is lost on this poor soul; it never has a chance to get through the fog of petty details that clutter up her head and worry her -- and that she wants us to worry about, too."

Universal Press Syndicate

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