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The 10 Worst Coworkers of All Time

It is Labor Day weekend—the yearly celebration of… ummm…  I think it is supposed to be a day off to celebrate how you never get a day off. Anyway, in honor of Labor Day we thought we’d list some of the worst people to work with. Everyone has held a job with one or more of the people on this list, we just ranked them for you.

10. The Dry Snitch There is a person at every workplace who will rat on their coworkers without thinking about it for a second, but that kind of snitch is to be expected. I’m talking about the dry snitcher—the person who drops a dime on you and acts like it was an honest mistake. Like that time you called in because your aunt was in a terrible car accident and you had to go check on her, and your coworker Julie commented to your supervisor, “Hmph. That’s funny, she posted pictures of herself on Instagram at the club taking shots at 2:49 am this morning! Anyway… I hope her aunt’s ok!” I know you wanna kick Julie’s ass but remember, snitches have been ruining workplaces since Judas dry snitched on Jesus for $30. I mean, what was he going to buy with 30 pieces of silver? It was literally the year 0. Was he going to the mall to get the new Air Pontius Pilate sandals?

9. The Weirdo I’m not talking about people who are socially awkward or outside the mainstream, because I’m that person. I’m referring to the one person in every office, factory and retail setting who gives you the heebie-jeebies. The dark-haired white girl in the HR department who is a wiccan and has 13 black cat figurines on her desk. The stockboy who talks about dragons a little too much and has a funny mustache. They always have a funny mustache. And a sword. These people are the answers to one of the most asked questions in the universe. If you ever wondered “whatever happened to that Emo, goth girl who used to sit behind me in social studies and hum Marilyn Manson songs?” Now you know. Have you ever watched the HBO show “Real Sex” and about the different kinds of sturdily-built white people who wear have leather dominatrix dungeon parties on the weekend, or like having sex with Shetland ponies. Have you ever seen the show “Hoarders,” or “My Strange Addiction?” Well, those people have jobs. And coworkers. 

8. The Holler-er There is always one coworker who constantly tries to holler at you even though you rebuff them every time. It usually doesn’t rise to the level of sexual harassment, but it falls just below the line. It is as if they took the company’s code of conduct and studied it so they will know exactly what to do. They compliment you on things that aren’t sexual, but are just creepy. Like the guy who notices every time every time you change your toenail polish. Sigh. Now you gotta wear closed-toed shoes because this weird motherf****r has a foot fetish. Great.

7. How did you get this job? We all work with someone who has no idea what they are doing. They have a single-digit IQ and are not mentally or emotionally capable of doing the job. I once worked with a secretary in a public relations officer who couldn’t type or spell. Every memo and correspondence from her was like one of those word jumbles from the comic strip section of the newspaper where you have to rearrange the letters to spell the sentence. To be fair, English was her second language (she didn’t have a first). Even though they have worked there longer than you, you wonder how they got their job. Did they win a raffle? Did they just start showing up and somebody put them on the payroll? How Sway?

6. IDGAF If you’ve ever worked somewhere where your coworkers were annoyingly called a “team,” then I’m sure you have dealt with this headache. It is a cruel rule of the Universe that your job’s interdependence on others is inversely proportionate to how many people you work with who don’t give a flying fuck about their job. Unlike the previous category of coworker, it is not that they can’t do their job. It’s that they don’t care about their job. They do the bare minimum and wait for their paycheck. They don’t have any aspiration, because they are two years from retirement, or just working there while they finish their degree. When you’re caught in their web of not-giving-a-fuckery, sometimes it is easier to do their job and yours. It is easier to tie two knots than it is to unravel one big tangled ball of string.

5. Work Zealot The only thing worse than someone who doesn’t give a fuck about their job, is someone who gives too many fucks. Have you ever had a “team” member who loves to work extra time and volunteer for projects? Usually this is an annoyingly young person who still has career goals, and hope in their eyes. Their outlook on life has yet to be sullied with the knowledge that the people in the position to notice their hard work and dedication are out playing golf or somewhere living a real, purpose-filled life with families and actual friends who they met outside of work. If I am ever teamed up with this guy, I make sure I sit with them at all meetings and kick them under the table whenever they volunteer to do anything on the weekend. Nigga, I’m not missing Howard’s Homecoming or the Magic City Classic because you want a promotion next year. I will fuck your ankles up!

4. The “Saved” Coworker If you haven’t worked with someone who is saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost, you haven’t lived, because it will make you want to kill yourself. First of all, we work in an age of Google, computers and operations manuals, so you can’t answer every question  with, “Well, the Bible says.” And church people can never take a joke. If I’m laughing and making jokes about what Brandy’s little brother was doing at the Chris Brown standoff, please don’t grab my hand and ask me to join you as you pray for them. I want to roast Ray J! Plus, I have an aversion to people I can’t cuss around. Knowing their backgrounds, I’m willing to bet at least one of the disciples had a filthy mouth, and if God sees and hears everything, I’m sure he’s used to profanity. He knows my heart.

3. Assistant Boss You will inevitably have one coworker who is a little too proud of his or her title. They will never be a boss, but they will wield their middle management position like the sword of Damocles over the rest of the workforce. These are the people who get to wear the button up shirt at fast food restaurants, or have titles like “Executive Assistant to the Vice President” and tell people their position in the company is “right under the Vice President…” Assistant Bosses come from a distinct lineage. They were the kids who took names when the teacher left the room in grade school. They were the “managers’ on the high school football team. They were dry snitches, just before they were promoted to Assistant Boss. In fact, thats how they got the job—dry snitching on the previous Assistant boss.

2. Gossip Some people can’t hold water. Those people work with you. They always want to talk about your coworkers with you, so you know they are talking about you to your coworkers. Of all the other categories, this is the one you should stay away from, because my grandmother told me that people who like to gossip really just like to talk about others, and when they run out of information to tell, they’ll just make stuff up. Beware the office gossip. They are a combination of Dry Snitch, Assistant Boss and Satan. Right now they’re probably telling someone who you’re sitting at your desk reading NegusWhoRead when you’re supposed to be working.

1.  Embarrassment I love being Black, and unapologetically so, but when you are one of two or three Black people at any place of work, you must be aware that your actions directly reflect on the actions of the rest of the Black people who work with you. They think we’re all the same. When Jane is late, it’s because she is always late. If Jamaal is late, it’s because Black people are always late. Therefore, we all have the pressure of showing up on time, lest we embarrass our entire race. That’s why it’s tough to work with the Black coworker who always wants to fight because they think everything a white person says to them is an affront to their masculinity or their Blackness. I’m always the one who has to diffuse these bombs. “He just said your report was a day late, Robert. He didn’t call you a lazy, shiftless nigger!” Or the coworker at the corporate, conservative Blue-suit Fortune 500 company who wore a Dashiki to work. Or the front desk manager who you have to tell that it probably isn’t good idea for them to play Young Thug’s new CD as the lobby music at the Marriott. But I have to let them know, because I don’t want them fired.

Who else is gonna bring the potato salad to the company picnic?

We all we got.

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot