Annoying Co-Workers: Holiday Edition

annoying coworkers holidaysBy Robert Half International

Frosty the Snowman isn't the only character coming your way this holiday season. In fact, the annual arrival of mistletoe, garland and gingerbread cookies can transform a normally rational and well-mannered employee into another person entirely.

Here are some memorable individuals you might soon encounter, along with tips for making sure you don't cross the line from festive to annoying:

The Not-So-Secret Shopper

This worker helps the overall economy but offers nothing to your company's bottom line. After taking excessively long lunch breaks to bag deals at the mall, the brazen bargain hunter spends the rest of the day shopping online. Responsible for countless hours of lost productivity, the Not-So-Secret Shopper rudely leaves others to pick up the slack.

Tip: Don't let your gift list get in the way of your job duties. Even if your company has a liberal computer usage policy, err on the side of caution and save the shopping for after you get off work.

The Human Holiday Display

This person pays no mind to the company dress code or office décor guidelines in December. Typically wearing reindeer antlers, a snowman sweater and candy cane pin, she transforms her cubicle into a blinding sea of blinking lights and tinsel. The over-the-top spectacle leaves fellow team members squinting their eyes and scratching their heads.

Tip: It's fun to celebrate the holidays, but adhere to organizational and departmental norms when decorating your work space and yourself. Remember: everything in moderation.

The Cookie Monster

Think that slice of pumpkin pie is protected because you put a sticky note on it claiming ownership? Think again. Unless you put a lock on the office refrigerator, no treat is safe when this sugar-craving sneak is roaming the halls. The sweet-toothed bandit also comes empty-handed to potluck meals and then shamelessly devours all the fudge brownies before anyone else gets a bite.

Tip: Nobody likes a thief. Put the cake down slowly, and step away from the fridge. For more on this topic, see what happens when treats go missing from the office fridge at

The Sniffler

Holiday season is also cold and flu season. The germ-ridden "Sniffler" fails to think about the greater good, coming to work when he clearly should be at home resting. With a nose redder then Rudolph's, he coughs and sneezes his way through the day, oblivious to the risk he poses to co-workers and their holiday plans. The Sniffler believes he's displaying dedication, when in reality his frustrated colleagues are grumbling about his lack of consideration and common sense.

Tip: When you're under the weather, do everyone a favor by taking a sick day. If you absolutely must work, ask the boss if you can telecommute.

The Party Animal

Regardless of how casual the setting is, the annual office party is still a work function -- not the best venue for letting loose. This fact eludes the Party Animal. Instead of viewing the get-together as an opportunity to strengthen or forge internal connections, this merrymaker overindulges in eggnog and creates all kinds of awkwardness. Inevitably, the entire company will be whispering about the Party Animal's regrettable antics by the next morning.

Tip: Allow yourself to have some fun at work events, but don't completely let down your guard. You don't need to be the life of the party to make an impression. Drink alcohol moderately, if at all, and don't pressure others who are opting to abstain.

The Grinch

In sharp contrast to the workplace's most cheerful holiday enthusiasts, this frosty grump is well-known for having a bad attitude. He maintains a Scroogelike demeanor to make it clear he's not feeling festive and you shouldn't either. Full of cynicism, smirks and sarcasm, he finds a way to pooh-pooh everything. The Grinch remains unaware that the constant griping, groaning and gossiping are incredibly grating.

Tip: Some people don't get into holidays, and that's all right. What's not OK is trying to spread a "Bah humbug!" attitude to everyone else. Be mindful that strong interpersonal skills such as tact and diplomacy are critical to career advancement.

Not everyone at your company celebrates the same holidays, and not everyone celebrates with the same level of enthusiasm. What's most important is to understand and respect those differences. And if nothing else, stop swiping the sugar cookies.

Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 350 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional career advice, view our career bloopers video series or follow us on Twitter at @RobertHalf.

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