The Most Annoying Thing About Co-Workers

Let’s face it — your co-workers do some pretty annoying things, right?

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There’s the loud talker, the gum snapper, the fridge hog, Mr. Overly Confident, Ms. Know-It-All, Ms. Look-at-Me!, Mr. You-Do-All-the-Work-and-I’ll-Take-the-Credit and that weirdo who put a dozen plastic knives in the office copier. (Seriously, what was up with that?!)

But there’s something that trumps all of those as THE MOST annoying thing —

Sloppy work!

Forty-one percent of chief financial officers surveyed by Accountemps said their No. 1 pet peeve was employees who don’t pay attention to detail or produce sloppy work.

“Sloppy work can make your boss feel as if he has to micromanage your work which makes him resentful,” said Julie Jansen, a career coach and the author of “I Don’t Know What I Want but I Know It’s Not This.”

"If you don't think sloppiness is an issue, look at who the sloppiest people are: babies,” said comedian Harrison Greenbaum. “Do you know any baby with a steady job?!"

And, just like with babies, if you’re sloppy, your boss is going to be walking around with a spit-up blanket, wondering what you’re going to screw up next that’s going to make him — and the company — look bad.

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“Sloppy output sends a bad message about your personal work ethic or level of commitment,” said Marie McIntyre, a career coach and author of, “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” “Employees who aren’t motivated enough to check the details obviously aren’t concerned about how their boss looks or whether the company is successful,” she said.

“None of these qualities are admired or make your boss think ‘promotion,’” Jansen said. “Instead, he thinks, ‘slow learner’ or ‘entry level.’”

So slow down there, champ, unless you want to ride the entry-level wagon all the way to the finish line. No one is clamoring to hire the guy they call “Sloppy Joe” or give “Messy Moe” a promotion. They don’t hand out trophies for outstanding achievement in the field of slapdash.

To avoid being labeled as the office slouch, Jansen suggests after you finish a project, setting it down and then coming back to it with a fresh eye 15 minutes later. She also suggests emailing it to yourself and then, when you open it, pretending you are the boss, looking for mistakes and anything that triggers one of your boss’s “hot-button issues,” like typos, tone, focus, etc.

And McIntyre adds that you can avoid missing the mark if you clarify with your boss before you start the project what he or she wants.

“If your manager is particularly picky, it’s better to find that out in advance than to learn by screwing something up,” McIntyre said.

So what else drives the boss nuts besides sloppiness?


Nearly one in four (23 percent) said gossiping or engaging in office politics aggravated them the most. Coming in a close third was missing deadlines, with 18 percent of CFOs saying that was the most annoying.

So, quick recap: Get it done on time, don’t be a baby and for the love of Pete, zip it!

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