So the new guy got the promotion, huh? You’ve been there longer and have definitely put in your dues. So what gives? Well, no offense, but you’re probably to blame. Difficult, headstrong people often struggle at work because they’re vying for time, attention, and seniority while also tackling the standard professional obstacles. What they fail to realize is this directly undermines themselves.
Once you’ve worked at a job for a while, there might come a point when one of your co-workers — or more than one — doesn’t like you very much. It’s not pleasant, but it does happen. You might be confused by the dislike, but more than likely you’re doing something that’s contributing to the friction. We came up with a list of possibilities to help you shed some light on the situation. Here are some reasons why your co-workers are giving you the eye roll and whispering behind your back.
1. You’re not a team player
Learning to work well with others is vital to your career success. If all you think about is yourself and your advancement, you’ll be met with plenty of resistance along the way. Make your workplace more pleasant by being more cooperative. One day you’ll need someone’s help, so start being more mindful of how you treat others. Why would someone want to help you if you were never there when it mattered most?
Next: You’re not on time.
2. You’re late
Stop arriving late to work every day. It’s not fashionable to show up to your job consistently behind schedule, regardless of how bad the morning traffic was. Everyone else can make it to work on time, so why can’t you? Sooner or later, your co-workers will notice your lack of effort and start to hold it against you.
Next: How hard are you really working?
3. You’re lazy
If you’re often relaxing at your desk, listening to music, and watching the clock, it’s time to get your act together. No one likes a clock watcher. If you’re that bored with your work, it’s time either to find a new job or take on more responsibility in your current role. Make the most of your time. Life is too short to give anything less than your best.
4. You’re a drama magnet
You never want to be known as “that person.” You know, the one who is always complaining about something. The temperature is too hot, or the air is too cold. Then, in the midst of your best Goldilocks impersonation, you begin to broadcast your personal drama to everyone within ear shot.
Being an adult means we’ve learned to control when and where we express our feelings. The office is not the proper time or place to be a drama king or queen. Unless it’s a personal matter that will affect those around you, such as a death in the family, it’s best to focus on the task at hand instead.
Next: Mind your business.
5. You’re nosy
Do you chime in on conversations that have nothing to do with you? If you happen to overhear someone talking about a subject that is near and dear to you, resist the urge to jump in and comment. They weren’t talking to you. Unless it’s a lively group discussion taking place in the lunch room or before a meeting is about to start, mind your business. If your co-workers want your opinion, they’ll ask.
Next: How mindful are you of others’ time?
6. You talk too much
Are you that co-worker who is always standing in someone’s office or cubicle, chatting about your boring weekend? Don’t be the co-worker everyone tries to get away from. If you notice your teammates scurry away from you and attempt to avoid eye contact, you might want to be more mindful of how much time you’re spending at people’s desks. After about 10 minutes, you’ve likely overstayed your welcome. People are busy. Get back to work.
Next: Stop gossiping.
7. You gossip
Do you talk about anyone and everyone behind their back? No wonder no one likes you. Respect your teammates, and put a muzzle on it. Don’t spread office gossip if you want to have good working relationships. Gossip is not only rude but also divisive. Even if you hear some juicy tidbit you just have to share with everyone, keep it to yourself. It is selfish to broadcast the details of other people’s lives. Just think about how it would feel if the shoe was on the other foot.
Next: The quickest way to make an enemy
8. You’re taking credit for other people’s work
There’s nothing more infuriating than when someone takes credit for work you’ve completed. When a co-worker shares their ideas with you, it’s not an open invitation to take note, then broadcast it as your own in the next meeting. The most successful work environments thrive on trust. Once you’ve lost trust among the team, it’s almost impossible to regain it. Play it safe by staying honest about who’s doing what in the office.
Next: Why you should follow directions
9. You’re not following directions
No doubt, there’s a learning curve in most new positions or projects. So a bit of a training period is expected. But co-workers who are easily confused or unable to follow directions quickly become the team’s weak link. If you’re finding it hard to follow directions, either ask for clarification or learn on your own time outside of work. If you’re completely unwilling to follow anyone’s directives, then you’ve got a bigger problem.
Next: No one likes a complainer.
10. You’re a complainer
If you complain about every little thing that goes wrong at work, the buck stops here. It’s not realistic for everything to be perfect all the time. Be happy you’re employed first and foremost, and look at the things that are going right. Remember if your boss is ever in a position where he or she has to decide who to lay off, you and your negative attitude will be the first to go.
Next: Always complete your deadlines on time.
11. You procrastinate
Constantly requesting deadline extensions on major projects just won’t cut it. You need to learn how to manage your time better. Get your act together before you find yourself looking for a new job. The best way to start meeting your deadlines is to plan ahead and set clear project reminders on all of your calendars. Forgetting is no excuse. You’re an adult now; act like one.
Next: You’re not a victim.
12. You’re always playing the victim
Your overly abundant victim complex is bound to get old after a while. Yes, some things happen out of your control, but you’re not the only one prone to office misfortune. Good employees take responsibility for mistakes they’ve made or opportunities they missed.
So if you failed to finalize a deal between partners, own it and say so instead of claiming, “Steve has always had it out for me anyway. I never had a chance from the start.” Once co-workers recognize the pattern, they’ll stop seeing you as a victim and view you as just plain incompetent.
Next: Stop starting arguments.
13. You’re argumentative
There’s a fine line between steadfast and argumentative. Once you garner a reputation as confrontational, disagreeable, or vindictive, it’s difficult to override such an impression. Righteous employees are often unable to hear points of view other than their own. A co-worker who’s quick to pop off without realizing everyone within the organization has something to contribute will eventually find themselves on a one-person team. And a temperamental, arrogant co-worker rarely gets the promotion. Just remember, saying sorry helps you grow.
Next: You’re conveniently absent.
14. You’re conveniently absent
Chronic absenteeism is a surefire way to become the least-liked co-worker in the office. If you’re conveniently taking vacations during the busiest time of year or in the middle of a huge project deadline, you are inadvertently sabotaging the professional relationship with your peers. Have you become the master of avoiding actual tasks and responsibilities? Does every project require someone else to take action before you touch it? News flash: Workloads are hardly ever evenly dispersed. Everyone must pull their weight and be present when it comes time to do so.
Next: Do you smell?
15. You’re unhygienic
When you can’t seem to put your finger on that lingering office stench, there’s a good chance it’s coming from you. If so, it’s time to head back to the kindergarten classroom and review the lesson on personal hygiene. Come to work clean and clothed appropriately.
But everything’s best in moderation. Wearing too much cologne or perfume in an enclosed environment can work against you, as well. Such strong fragrances can be a headache to others, so it’s best to keep the space neutral for everyone.
Next: It’s not all about you.
16. You’re selfish
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about you. Failing to realize there are others around you can severely damage your professional character. Selfishly eating smelly lunches at your desk, playing music on the computer sans headphones, or keeping your phone on high volume throughout the day is the best way to remind co-workers you only think of yourself. How wonderful that you’re feeling full and entertained, but the rest of the office is now disgusted and distracted thanks to you.
Additional reporting by Sheiresa Ngo.