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  1. Blog
  2. Culture & Professionalism
  3. January 2, 2021

80+ Totally Relatable Workplace Pet Peeves

The most validating article we've ever published

Woman yelling into a speaker
Photo courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio

We all have pet peeves. Yet for some reason, simple annoyances that occur in the workplace seem like the most atrocious grievances imaginable. Oversharing Oliver who thinks everyone needs to know about her new puppy’s feeding schedule or distracted Damien who never listens to a word that comes out of your mouth...it all adds up and can affect overall happiness at work. And since unhappy workers are 10 percent less productive, it’s important to discuss pet peeves with your coworkers and boss to prevent lower productivity and burnout. 

Read more: The Most Passive Aggressive Things That Can Happen in the Office, Ranked

Here are 80+ totally relatable workplace pet peeves (plus, how to deal with them):

  1. Being interrupted.  

  1. Your work being overlooked.

  2. Colleagues who don't follow through.

  3. Coworkers who don't respect your boundaries. (i.e., asking for stuff when you're off the clock) 

Read more: 'I'm Still Speaking'—and 11 Other Ways to Stop Interruptions

  1. When someone mispronounces your name...again.

  2. When someone cc's your boss. 

  1. When you have to keep following up with someone to hold them accountable. 

  2. When the questions you ask are always ignored. 

  1. People who forget to give you credit for your ideas.

  2. "We" speak. ("We're going to do this,” when they mean, "you’re going to do this.")

  3. Giving perks or snacks instead of financial compensation.

  4. Micromanaging.

  5. Coworker gossip.

  6. Relatedly, workplace dynamics that resemble high school cliques. 

  1. That one coworker who never hits ‘reply all.’ 

  1. That one coworker who always hits ‘reply all.’

  2. Being ghosted by a hiring manager (nope, it’s not just for romantic partners).

Read more: Ask a Recruiter: What’s the Deal with Ghosting in the Workforce?

  1. Meetings that could’ve been emails.

  2. Long emails that could have been quick phone calls.

  3. The coworker who doesn’t understand the mute button on video calls.

  4. When your computer update takes a full two hours. 

  1. Oversharing of personal information in meetings.

  2. When no one has any input or feedback until the day after you finish the project.  

Read more: How to Give Constructive Criticism to Anyone in the Office

  1. When your coworker doesn’t give a warning when they’re going to be late to a meeting.

  2. When someone always spells your name wrong in an email.  

  1. Judgmental coworkers who still don’t trust you after one little mistake you made months ago. 

Read more: How to Deal with Judgmental People in the Workplace

  1. Sending a presentation out for feedback a week in advance and no one responds until the night before. 

  1. Coworkers complaining about your kids popping into a video call unexpectedly.

  2. When your boss gives you zero feedback throughout the year, then dumps all of your “failures” on you in your yearly performance review.

  3. Back-to-back meetings from 9 to 5.

  4. Your boss compares you to a colleague—and not in a good way.

  5. Nepotism.

  6. 10 p.m. texts from your boss asking you for last-minute changes to a document. 

Read more: Learn How to Say ‘No’ Professionally

  1. The one coworker who’s always distracted—and never takes notes—when you talk to them. 

Read more: How to Listen Effectively (& Why You Should)

  1. The coworker who talks about themselves and their accomplishments nonstop.

  2. A customer is rude to you, and your boss quips “the customer is always right!”

  3. Your lazy coworker gets nothing done all day while you’re swimming in work.

Read more: There's a Narcissist in the Office! (What Do I Do?)

  1. Coworkers who make promises, like committing to deadlines and projects, then don’t keep them. 

  1. Not being challenged by your work. 

Read more: Bored at Work? Here’s How to Make the Most of Your Time

  1. The coworker who constantly asks you for favors, then conveniently has an excuse every time you need a favor. 

  1. There’s no room to grow in your job or in the company.

  2. People who can't take criticism and always blame others.

  3. When you’re constantly skipped over for promotions.  

  1. Continuous Slack messages while you’re on vacation.

  2. The coworker who tries to pry a little too hard into your personal life. 

  1. Condescension about your age (you’re either too young or too old).

  2. When your contributions are ignored in the group brainstorm session.

  3. Getting hit on over LinkedIn

Read more: Brainstorming Techniques for Group & Solo Sessions 

  1. Similarly, when your colleagues scoff at your ideas in the brainstorm session.

  2. When the new hire lied on their resume about a skill they’d mastered.

Read more: Is Lying on a Resume Ever Okay?

  1. The coworker who complains about everything. 

  1. You’re abruptly taken off your company’s standing Tuesday meeting with no explanation. 

Read more: I Think My Boss Hates Me. Can I Win Them Back?

  1. The coworker who enjoys arguing with your ideas a little too much.

Read more: 4 Signs That You Have Jealous Coworkers

  1. There's a boys’ club.

  2. The coworker who constantly calls people out in meetings to catch them off their game...that's not a sport. 

  1. When your coworker calls out sick the day of your joint presentation, and then you see her sipping cocktails on Instagram.

  2. When you can never tell if your boss is being sarcastic or not. 

  1. When the same coworker comments on your outfit choice and overall appearance every day.

  2. Company-wide emails that haven’t been spell-checked.

  3. When a few tears drop on an exceptionally frustrating day, and a coworker calls you “too emotional.” 

Read more: 5 Traits Women Should Lean Into

  1. You propose a team-bonding activity and your coworker calls it “childish” or “unnecessary.”

  2. Looking at the clock thinking three hours have passed, and it’s only been 20 minutes.

  3. Spilling hot coffee all over your keyboard or favorite outfit.

  4. Technical issues right at the beginning of (or during) an important client meeting.

  5. Apologizing on behalf of your coworker who is always late to meetings.

  6. Your boss tells her supervisor the client report was late because you didn’t prioritize the work, but really the report sat on her desk an extra day. 

Read more: What to Do When Your Boss Throws You Under the Bus

  1. Your work gets deleted before you’re finished.

  2. You can’t shake your imposter syndrome.

  3. Your job doesn’t allow you to express your creative energy.

  4. Coworkers who ask you about the meaning of your tattoos.

  5. The coworker who exhibits all-or-nothing thinking

  1. You speak up in the meeting and someone calls you “feisty.”

  2. Totally blanking out in an interview. 

  1. When someone asks your opinion, then ignores it.

  2. Finally building up the courage to speak up at work and your coworker retorts, “wow, you can speak!”

  3. Losing your train of thought mid-sentence, mid-meeting.

  4. When someone expects you to answer an email way too quickly—and they follow up about it.

  5. When you’re talking about gender equality and your male coworker says, “Well, to play devil’s advocate…” 

Read more: Study: When Men React Defensively to Gender Equality, Do This

  1. You’ve been applying to jobs for weeks, but aren’t getting called back.

  2. People who insist on using industry jargon in every email. 

  1. When you end up organizing all of the company events on your own. 

  2. No one else chips in for your boss’ birthday gift but they sign the card.

  3. When everyone tries to talk at the same time on video calls.

  4. Explaining to someone your pet peeves and they call you “dramatic.”

Read more: 10 Things That Aren’t Your Job (That You Might Be Doing Anyway)

How to constructively deal with pet peeves

Not only are pet peeves irritating—they can also disrupt your workflow and keep you from accomplishing everything on your to-do list. Spilling coffee on your laptop may not be preventable (ok, stop filling your mug to the brim), but many of the other examples above can be avoided with proper communication and boundary-setting. 

Your coworkers can’t read your mind. Don’t bottle up all of your frustration and blow up one day. If you don't communicate upfront that something bothers you or slows down your productivity, they won’t know to alter their behaviors. Let your coworkers and boss know how you work best and set any necessary boundaries in order to reach your peak workplace potential. 

It’s also important to recognize the difference between a simple pet peeve and behavior that goes a step beyond to become bullying or verbal abuse. If a coworker continually excludes you from meetings or undermines your work, that’s bullying. Similarly, if your boss calls you out for poor performance in front of everyone or continues to comment on your appearance in a harassing manner, that constitutes verbal abuse. 

If you think you’re being bullied or abused at work, check out these resources:

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Photo of Cara Hutto

Cara Hutto

Contributor

Cara Hutto is a freelance writer and the former assistant editor at InHerSight. Her writing primarily focuses on workplace rights, job searching, culture, and food, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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