The co-worker from hell

Jul 23 2007 by Print This Article

An anonymous poster on has a few tips for you if you happen to think that person sitting just outside your office, might be the co-worker from Hell. And these are based on personal experience from working with someone who exhibited all of them.

That is a truly frightening proposition.

"Loud and opinionated" is the first trait. "Finger-pointing" - trying to affix blame to anyone but themselves. "Bossy". "Energy absorbing" - someone who manages to redirect everyone's focus away from more important things.

The there's "credit stealing" and "mistake/cover upper." Finally, that big demon, "ever so consistent, non-consistent behavior" which means their mood turns on a dime from helpful to raving.

Could so many horrible traits really be harbored in one person? Sadly, it seems so. Such a person can cause as much trouble as a bad manager because they are out among the staff infecting the pool of workers.

All of which goes to prove the accuracy of some research we reported on back in February by William Felps and Professor Terence Mitchell from the University of Washington's School of Business, which found that it only take one toxic individual in a team to upset the whole apple cart.

People who don't do their fair share of the work, who are chronically unhappy and emotionally unstable, or who bully or attack others act like a virus, destroying team dynamics and creating organisational dysfunction, the researchers found.

Sadly, as the Jobswill poster admits, in situations like this there is too often "no win." For this particular individual, the answer was just to up and quit and find a different job.