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Pet Peeves at Work in an Office

A Business Office


Pet Peeves at Work

For most of my life, I have worked in offices for both schools and the government. The work has been interesting and rewarding; however, it could have been better if certain office culture behavior had been improved or changed altogether. I have characterized a lot of this behavior as my pet peeves at work that I share with you in this article.

Office Pet Peeves List

The following includes 13 items that by all means go on my bad work habits list.

1. Wasting and Misusing Time

It's amazing the amount of productive time that is wasted and misused in offices. When I worked in a government office, many employees spent the first work hour eating breakfast in the cafeteria, going to the coffee mess, and socializing with other fellow workers. We were authorized 30 minutes for lunch; however, at least once or twice a week many employees would go out for lunch and the half-hour lunch break would turn into a one-and-one-half or two-hour break.

While working for schools, instruction time has been lost by classes consistently not beginning on time. If 50 minutes class begins 10 minutes late every day, 50 minutes or one period is lost every week. Over a school year, this amounts to a significant loss of class time.

2. Wasting Money

If taxpayers were aware of how the federal government wasted money, they would be appalled. While I worked for the federal government, one of the biggest wastes of money was on overseas travel perks for all employees. For example, if a non-manager made a TDY or temporary business trip from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, Beijing, or Bangkok, he or she could expect to fly business class and stay in five-star hotels. While staying overseas, the employee would also receive a generous per diem for food and incidental expenses comparable to the cost of eating steak and lobster every meal in fashionable restaurants in New York City. In reality, are these perks necessary for a secretary?

3. Excessive Complaining

I always hated the chronic complainers in my offices. These were the people who had a beef about everything, and they expressed their discontent vociferously. Their complaints certainly didn't help office morale, and at times led to a loss of productivity. There is a saying that one should lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

4. Going With the Flow

On so many occasions, going with the flow and not making any waves has stifled needed change in office culture. Many employees have accepted bad practices in the office and not demanded change because they don't want to be known as troublemakers and possibly lose their jobs. Whistleblowers just have too many horror stories to tell.

5. Affirmative Action

Affirmative action has been around since at least the late 1980s. It all stems from the government's belief that promotion and positions of management power had been held for too long of time by white men. To level the playing field, affirmative action means that the government has to give preference in hiring and promotions to women and minorities no matter whether they might not be as qualified as white men. Many deserving older white men have lost out on promotion to undeserving women and minorities due to the policy of affirmative action.

6. Not Being a Team Player

There is a saying that knowledge is power. A lot of my former office colleagues adopted this philosophy and did all they could to promote themselves at the expense of being team players. What seems so unfair to me is that most of the people who were selfishly promoting themselves without working for the interests of the team rose quickly in rank with promotions while the team players were left behind.

7. Skating — Not Giving 100 Percent

Based on my upbringing, I have always detested people who didn't give 100 percent in the work they did. On many occasions, other members of the office team have had to do more work to compensate for the "skater's" non-productivity. When I was young, I learned the slogan, "Good, better, best - never let it rest until your good becomes better, and your better becomes best."

8. Backstabbers

Back-stabbing is the evilest of office practices. This is essentially a form of hypocrisy in which a person will say good things to your face, but do bad things behind your back. One of my prior co-workers was once backstabbed by another co-worker. The backstabber did the evil deed by going behind the co-worker's back and discrediting his work to the work team's supervisor.

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9. Dishonesty

This is manifested by lying to a boss or co-worker. It is also seen in employees who cheat on tests. One of my former office colleagues broke into another co-worker's desk and stole the answers to a language test that he had to pass to get certification for his job.

10. Breaking Rules and Regulations

I guess it is human nature for most people to see what they can get away with. In my previous offices, a lot of workers would get to work 5-10 minutes late or leave at the end of the day 5-10 minutes early. If a superior never called them on this, they would continue to do it. The same would apply to not following the office dress code or spending too much time on a lunch break.

11. Cutting Corners

It is also human nature for people to do the least amount of work possible in completing a task. This is related to "skating" and taking shortcuts to finish a job. The problem with cutting corners is that in many situations the quality of the end product will suffer.

12. Taking Advantage of Someone

This happens most often with naïve or new and inexperienced office workers. There have been many times when I saw experienced office workers volunteer the new guy on the block for some of the more undesirable tasks in the office.

13. Flattering The Boss — Playing Office Politics

During my first few years in a government office, I was able to work my way up and get promotions to a mid-level position quite rapidly. Promotions then stopped when I refused to play politics and flatter the boss. I can still remember the assistant chief of my office saying, "If you want to get a promotion to a higher grade level, it's not a question of what you know, but a question of who you ________."

My pet peeves at work list could go on and on. For this article, I have listed what I think stands out as bad behavior at work. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that much of this workplace behavior will continue in the future.

Top Five Pet Peeves at Work in an Office

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Paul Richard Kuehn


Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 16, 2013:


Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. Honesty and integrity are important at work. Unfortunately there are always some dishonest and people without integrity that get ahead.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 16, 2013:


Thanks for your comments and for sharing this hub. I'll always have pet peeves at work because I expect other people to work as hard as me and to be as honest as me.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on May 15, 2013:

Honesty for me is very important. One's integrity is always on the line.

moonlake from America on May 15, 2013:

Very interesting hub. Voted up and shared.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 07, 2013:


Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. Socializing with the boss is another good pet peeve which I also have.

Bootser22 on May 06, 2013:

Been there!!! Done that!!!! I was doing my data entry and I could hear a gal talking to our boss. They would be in there for at least an hour during working hours (say 2:00 to 3:00) for about an hour getting paid a lot more than me, talking about oh say golf. This was one of mine.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 05, 2013:

Efficient Admin,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. You would expect companies to get rid of troublemakers when downsizing unless they are working together with the boss. I appreciate your excellent comments!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 05, 2013:


Thanks for stopping by and commenting on this hub. You do have some good pet peeves which are also mine. I appreciate your excellent comments!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 05, 2013:


Thank you very much for reading and sharing your comments about this hub. I greatly appreciate your thoughts.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 05, 2013:


Thank you greatly for reading and commenting on this hub. The problem is how do we improve the work culture for the benefit of all. I'm happy this hub was of interest to you and I really appreciate you sharing and pinning it!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on May 05, 2013:

Good list. I would add not treating all employees equally, providing perks to some that others don't receive. Also, conflicting personalities - some like noise and like to converse throughout the day, sing in their cubicle, etc. while others need quiet. Tough to balance and tough to ask for what you need without becoming an outcast. Voting up and interesting.

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on May 05, 2013:

So true - this is a good list. I believe as more companies need to stay lean and trim staff they will get rid of the troublemakers first. I'm not saying that all people who get laid off were troublemakers, but anyone who is not producing in management's eyes or if they think someone is a troublemaker they will get rid of them during layoff. Again, not saying everyone who gets laid off was a bad employee.

idigwebsites from United States on May 05, 2013:

#2 in particular -- it gets my antlers up!

Office politics -- Grrrrrr!!!!

#3 - it's unfair for people who genuinely work hard and give more than what they're expected to do -- in the same amount of hours.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 05, 2013:

Paul, this is the truth and it this work culture can be seen everywhere. I surely don't know how this can be stopped but I certainly feel this has a lot to do with one's upbringing.

Voted up, interesting, sharing and pinning.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on April 25, 2013:


Thanks for your comments.

Cat from New York on April 25, 2013:


I'm in the fire service and I have found that there are "politics" everywhere. Whenever someone has to keep a group of people happy and there is someone at the top that others are attempting to keep happy... well let the politics begin!

I'd so like to call out those "workers" who put on a good show, the ones we know aren't doing anything but have convinced the boss otherwise. But who wants that trouble?

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on April 25, 2013:


Any time I think or talk about office politics it really upsets me. In talking about people not giving 100 percent on the job, it never fails that the ones who pretend they are working and can fool the boss get rewarded equally with the ones who bust their asses. Thank you very much for your insightful comments. I'm also very happy that you liked this hub.

Cat from New York on April 24, 2013:


Wow, I don't even know if I can pick a favorite or a least favorite, depending how you look at it :-) Though I think these are all very good examples of very bad work ethics, I think I am most bothered by the lack of giving 100%. It's funny, I imagine that many people think or would consider themselves to give 100%, but in any job I've ever had, very few and I mean very few ever do. My thought has always been that if I have to use any energy to do something, why not do the best I can. Doing something half-arsed is still using the same amount of time but with less appealing results; I don't see the point. What makes this so frustrating is you invest your time and your energy into a business/company and you feel like you're carrying the load. Not to mention, it is very easy to go unnoticed for your efforts and thanks to those office politics, you watch others get the pats on the back that don't deserve them.

Great hub! Voted up and awesome!


Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 07, 2013:


Yes, "improper use of time" should have been on my list!I have seen so many people using their office computers for personal business or talking hours on the phone about non-related business. Thanks for the voting up of this article and your great comments. I really appreciate them as well as your sharing of this hub.

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on February 06, 2013:

Hi Paul,

I would have been surprised if i didn't get "improper use of time" on your list, yes, wasting and misusing time is one the biggest way of misusing resources. At my of place of work, i find meetings as one way where workers waste a lot of time. International standards like ISO quality standards specify that a meeting should not go beyond two hours, but do we follow those standards at working places all the time? Voted up, useful and shared.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 19, 2013:


Thanks for reading this hub. I appreciate your comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 19, 2013:


Thanks for reading this hub and your very insightful comments. I really appreciate them.

kikalina from Europe on January 19, 2013:

Back stabbing is the worst for me.

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on January 19, 2013:

#3 and #7 are my two biggest peeves. Stuff happens- get over it and get back to work. I also don't like people who sit there and look befuddled while the rest of us are trying to work as hard as possible.

I think the office setting is one where you should try as hard as possible to be yourself and do your best without going toward one extreme or the other. Great hub!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 19, 2013:

neelu sinha,

Thank you very much for reading this article and your encouraging comments. I really appreciate them. Thank you also for following me.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 19, 2013:


Thanks once again for reading my hub and your great useful comments. When I worked in my government office, it was definitely politics with political behavior becoming more and more important the longer you remained in your position and the higher rank you wanted to obtain. Striving for a promotion was analogous to a senator or representative continuously campaigning for reelection. Thanks for sharing this hub.

Deepali from India on January 19, 2013:

Very deeply you elaborate the environment and the mentality of the people working in one place. so many of us can take useful tips through your hub.

C E Clark from North Texas on January 18, 2013:

Many of the things on your list fall under office politics it seems to me, and I absolutely hate office politics. It lowers moral and productivity, and to my way of thinking, serves no good purpose. A great hub that shines a light on many of the drawbacks of the office environment, the solution being the people in it doing what they're there to do and maintaining a good attitude.

Voted up, useful, interesting, and will share!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 02, 2012:

Efficient Admin,

Thank you very much for reading and your comment.

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on July 01, 2012:

Great points and you eloquently explained it very well.

Giselle Maine on June 16, 2012:

Some great tips for proper office behavior and etiquette. I agree with the points you made.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 03, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and the favorable comments. I try to tell things as they really are.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 03, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and the great comment.

Dancing Water on June 03, 2012:

As long as office politics rule, organizations will be missing out on becoming truly quality companies. And we wonder why quality is going down...

Thank you for sharing the truth of many workplaces these days!

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 03, 2012:

Great list! I have experience most or all of these things at one time or another... UGH had to think of on a Sunday! LOL GREAT HUB!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 02, 2012:


Thanks for stopping by and your comments.

Marble Sweets on June 02, 2012:

Hey Paul--

It was fairly cathartic to read this Hub...I thought I was the only one with most of these pet peeves, but I guess not! The one that nailed it for me is where you refer to the coworkers who shamelessly promote themselves, and take credit when not always deserved, only to then get ...PROMOTED! So to move up the ladder you have to be a bit of a shyster? seems that way...or the other one being, volunteering the new guy for tasks no one wants! Holy crap. This is Marble Sweets in South Carolina

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 14, 2012:


Thanks for reading and the good comments. Yes, lack of knowledge is another pet peeve, especially when people try to pretend that they are not stupid.

Jenny Stub from Missouri, US on May 14, 2012:

Constant complaining is a huge aggravator! I'm a nurse and busy taking care of patients, to have nonstop interruptions over trivial complaints (often about other co-workers) makes me want to pull my hair out!

Another of my pet peeves that stems from being a nurse is the amount of stupidity in the workplace. I know my fellow nurses graduated college just like me, but I'm not sure how. It's often scary their lack of knowledge or just plain old common sense. I'm sorry to say that, but I think it's probably present in every field! Your hub has me riled up now! Ha ha! Voted up!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 14, 2012:


Thank you very much for reading and the favorable comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 14, 2012:


Thank you very much for reading and the favorable comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 14, 2012:


Thanks for reading and your favorable comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 14, 2012:


Thanks for reading and the favorable comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 14, 2012:

Thanks for reading and the favorable comment, Christy.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 14, 2012:


Thanks for reading and the favorable comments.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 14, 2012:

What you have written is very true. All these things go on and on in every office. True talent and hard work is rarely recognized. Very difficult and trying situations in office can make life really unpleasant. Voted up.

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on May 14, 2012:

It is wonderful to work with wonderful people who do their honest part and support each other in order to be more productive as a team. On the other hand, weak links pose a problem and cause good help to look for a better atmosphere elsewhere. Therefore, good leaders who troubleshoot and get the kinks out are needed in the job world.

What a hub! Thanks for sharing.

Angela Kane from Las Vegas, Nevada on May 14, 2012:

Great hub, I am very familiar with office politics and the most annoying is the wasting of time, complaining, not being a team player and the back stabbing. The behavior seems to be getting a lot worse and it is very annoying. Voted up and interesting.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on May 14, 2012:

I also find that chronic complaining in the office is a pet peeve of mine. People could be doing work instead of complaining about the work! Well written in the list form here Paul.

Suzie from Carson City on May 14, 2012:

Paul....Interesting. I see you have worked in some of the same places and with the same people the rest of us have!! Moral of the story's EVERYWHERE!!

Very good hub. Your style is great. UP++

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