Trying to stay out of jail: Coworker edition

The alarm goes off, Keurig fired up, jump in the shower, put clothes on, makeup (if applicable) applied, files and any other work material gathered and you set off to yet another day at work. Putting on some good tunes or listening to funny morning radio talk can lighten your mood and put you in the correct mindset to tackle yet another day on the grind. You walk in the building feeling positive, productive and ready to tackle whatever obstacle comes your way. A few ‘good mornings’, polite smiles in the elevator and then you reach your office/cube. You’re answering emails, getting in the groove of things and then it happens…..that coworker walks by.

You know which coworker I mean. The coworker that even the sound of their breathing makes you roll your eyes. The coworker that when he or she sneezes, your instincts dont even kick in to say “bless you.” The coworker that you pray everyday that you could spend your spare time finding them another job and they actually accept it. The ONE coworker that is a slightly misworded email, walking too close behind you in the hall instance away from you ending up in jail. All the years of education, training and/or hard work you put in completely down the drain.

For some of you, you may be able to control yourself to manage your reaction to these types of people at all times and for that, I give you massive kudos. In theory, no one should be able to make you step outside of your character and put your future in jeopardy.

BUT, that is much easier said than done.

I think most people have some sort of trigger that allows them to go from 1 to 100 really quick and for me that is disrespect. We can not like each other, have different work ethics, and say nothing to each other except for dealing with work. However, the second you disrespect me the line is drawn in the sand.

Let me declare for the record, I know without a shadow of a doubt that jail is not the place for me. I couldn’t even survive a night in a holding cell. Cavity searches, constantly being ordered around, public showers, women trying to start fights all equal a place I know that I could never be. Therefore, if I did end up with an assault charge I would just have to pray for probation. If I got convicted then well, it was nice knowing you all. Just get the burial plot ready.

I’m well aware that most of the time, these coworkers know just how much they get on your nerves.

I’ve broken them down into a few categories:

The Provokers-The provokers masterfully live up to their name. To me they are the most annoying of the groups and the one I am most likely to have problems with. The name of their game is passive aggression. They spend time coming up with a carefully constructed passive aggressive email or gesture they know will piss you off and hope that it lights your fuse enough to get you in some type of trouble. For them any reaction, whether it be good or bad, is enough to feel like they’ve succeeded. Luckily, this is where being a writer comes in handy. I’m able to piece together the perfect amount of nice nasty in an email that says “hey I see you” and “fuck you too”, without actually coming out and saying it. The problem with the game of provokers is you have to be on your toes all the time. There is always that chance that your guard is down and they catch you on the wrong day. In that case well….I direct you back to the beginning of this post.

The Denyers-These are the ones that act like they have no idea why the two of you don’t get along and when a situation arises and you try to talk to them like an adult, they clutch their pearls and take a disbelieving sigh as if they are truly clueless as to what you mean….and they do this every single time. Deny, deny, deny. No matter how many times you try to explain the situation, they just dont believe there is a problem and will continue on with their behavior until you snap. And you know what that means….

The Here for It crew– Another self explanatory name. They are here for it, anytime, anyplace, don’t mind letting other coworkers know that the two of you dont like each other and the only thing preventing a major confrontation is air and opportunity. I find these people are rare, especially in an overly professional workplace. Most of the time people put on a front for the sake of their careers and want to make it as if you are the aggressor. However once in a while you will find one that doesn’t mind taking it there. In those situations, all you can do is make sure you have a third party present who is objective and can attest to anything that’s said or done. One thing about this group that the others don’t get is my respect. Even if I can’t stand them as a person, I can always respect a person who is genuine enough to let you know to your face that they don’t like you. The rest of their qualities are a problematic recipe for disaster.

This is the segment of the post that I wish I had some words of encouragement, wisdom or some cliche phrase to give you that would make navigating these difficult situations easier, but alas I have none. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing this in the first place.

However, I do have one great piece of advice in case the worst happens. Have at least one trusted friend that knows your debit card PIN number because as you know….bail isn’t free.

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