Working with someone that you don’t like has the potential to really ruin your day, and I was unfortunate enough to figure this out the hard way. Becoming a leader is about learning to get along with someone who has a different viewpoint. In many cases, I like to think that I am very open to different viewpoints, but it was not the viewpoints that were upsetting. While being open to new ideas is one thing; having to sit and listen to office gossip, constant complaining, and non-stop chatter about personal matters is quite another.
As I contemplated how to rise above this horribly annoying cubicle partner, I realized that this is not an uncommon situation. My sister has apparently dealt with the opposite: someone who is extremely lazy yet was extremely confident and boastful around the office. This led me to realize that there truly are different types of employees—it’s tough to walk into an office and find yourself surrounded with people who are perfect (by your standards). Still, this doesn’t quite solve the problem.
There is no reason to go running to your boss, but I couldn’t help but wonder: What am I going to do about this? I came to the conclusion that something needed to be done, and it needed to be done carefully. I am working with this person everyday so making them mad (and subsequently making things awkward) isn’t an option. I thought to myself:
PUT THE BLAME ON SOMETHING ELSE.
My first thought was to put the blame on the sun. I decided to kindly ask if I could move desks because the sun blaring through the window was too much to bear. This would have gotten me away from my coworker without any sort of scuffle, but unfortunately all my boss did was get some new blinds. I then decided to talk with my coworker. I let my coworker know that I was feeling overwhelmed with work and simply could not talk. This is something any good employee should understand—and it worked.
Of course, extreme situations call for the intervention of a boss. If this does not help, looking for a new job cannot hurt. And it’s important to remember:
DO NOT WORRY IF SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT FOR YOU.
As for my sister, she learned to put her headphones on and ignore the laziness of her coworker. Eventually this was noticed by the employer, and the problem solved itself.
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