22 Super Insignificant Office Pet Peeves That Drive You Nuts

At a previous job, I had one specific co-worker who frequently made me close my eyes, clench my fists, and grit my teeth.

Here’s the surprise: She was actually an excellent colleague (so, please, rest assured that I always treated her respectfully—in fact, we were pretty close!). She was helpful, communicative, and dependable. She didn’t gossip, she wasn’t condescending, and she never threw people under the bus.

But, all of those positive qualities didn’t change the fact that she did one small thing that made me absolutely crazy. What was it? Well, she frequently mispronounced words. Her favorite was to say “verbage” instead of “verbiage.” And, she was always quick to spit out that cringe-worthy “irregardless.”

It’s such a small thing. But, for a grammar nerd like me, it was still more than enough to make me itchy.

It was then that I realized we all have things like this—super insignificant office pet peeves that don’t actually have any impact on our day-to-day life or the quality of our work, yet manage to inspire plenty of eye rolls regardless (ahem, notice that wasn’t irregardless).

So, in the interest of commiserating together, I’ve pulled together this handy list of irritating office behaviors that we’ve all come to know and hate.

Are they petty and ridiculous? Absolutely. But, do they drive you up a wall anyway? You bet.

  1. When one of your colleagues makes copies, stares directly into the blinking light indicating that the machine is out of paper, and then turns around and walks away.

  2. When your supervisor types so loudly that it sounds like The Rockettes are rehearsing at the next desk over.

  3. When someone wiggles his way into the front and center spot of the elevator—without letting a single person exit first.

  4. When your team member thinks that a 3 PM conference call is an appropriate time to cut her fingernails.

  5. When someone is convinced the entire office wants to hear her perfect productivity playlist. On repeat. Forever.

  6. When at least half of the messages in your inbox start with the subject “PLEASE READ!!!”—as if you didn’t already know you should read your emails.

  7. When your desk mate thinks that every phone call absolutely needs to utilize speakerphone—and then accuses you of eavesdropping.

  8. When colleagues unexpectedly drop by your desk and start sentences with, “Oh sorry, are you busy?”

  9. When your cube-mate thinks that her trip to the bathroom is deserving of an office-wide warning of her two-minute absence.

  10. When a co-worker never clears her remaining cook time from the microwave display—or worse, leaves the microwave door open.

  11. When the donut you wanted is mysteriously cut in half.

  12. When people leave just a thin layer of coffee in the coffee pot—without brewing a new one.

  13. When a team member touches every single sandwich to analyze its contents—while proclaiming, “Hey, it’s alright. We’re all friends here!”

  14. When there’s apparently an office-wide belief that some sort of trash fairy swoops in daily to deal with the dirty coffee mugs and leftover dishes.

  15. When your co-worker repeatedly treats shared space as a makeshift meeting room—and becomes irritated when you need to interrupt to grab a spoon.

  16. When your boss gets his creative brainstorming juices flowing by repeatedly clicking his favorite pen.

  17. When your colleague chooses to fill the silence by loudly slurping her morning cup of coffee.

  18. When a team member treats PowerPoint presentation as his opportunity to use every single effect and piece of clipart known to man.

  19. When one attendee brags that she brought pastries to share with the group. But she brought six bagels. For 15 people.

  20. When a cheap team member always promises to “buy the next round”—which you’re now convinced is a mythical promised land that you’ll never reach.

  21. When your manager uses that after-work relaxation time to give you a detailed play-by-play of that day’s meeting—which you attended yourself.

  22. When a co-worker proclaims she wasn’t hungry—only to then eat half of your spinach and artichoke dip at happy hour.

Yes, these things are annoying. But, if your co-workers are top-notch in all sorts of other aspects, you should still count your lucky stars.

There are plenty of bad colleagues out there that could make your work life far worse (and here’s advice if you’re stuck in that situation). So, in the end, remember that these pet peeves are really just small annoyances. That way, you can shrug them off and keep moving forward!

Did I miss anything that majorly gets under your skin at work? Tweet me and let me know!

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About Richard Moy

Richard Moy
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.

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