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Working with Flaky Colleagues

The flakes. The unreliables. The drama royalty!

They’re everywhere at work. There’s no way you can’t work at a company and not meet at least one of these types of co-workers.

They’re there. You HAVE to work with them, so….

…here’s how to cope

People are people wherever you go and, while many of us showcase our “professional” sides more than our “at-home, childish, selfish, self-absorbed, we-drive-our-families-crazy” sides, many others of…don’t.

Instead, we figure – at least some of the time – it’s ok to be our “authentic” selves no matter how annoying, and so we let our flake flags fly:

  • We gossip.
  • We yell at co-workers.
  • We become petty at others’ success and therefore work at undermining colleagues.
  • We do the bare minimum of work: just enough that we won’t get fired and then rely on co-workers to pick up the slack.
  • We make excuses as to why we can’t/didn’t do something…and it’s never our

Your game plan to retaining-your-sanity-AND-your-career in the wake of the “Flaky”

  1. Never join in.

No matter what a colleague is doing, saying, gossiping about – even if it looks “harmless” and maybe even a little “fun” – don’t do it.

Sure, it can be “fun” to dish on another colleague’s love life, but fight the urge to do so. After all, the person talked about probably will sense that it’s happening, if not someday know for a fact that it’s taking place. Any team cohesion and trust all of you have created together will be destroyed in an instant.

  1. Avoid the colleague – politely – as often as you can.

You don’t want – or need to be – rude. Remain professionally polite. But if you hear yet another whining session coming up, a “Psst, did you hear about…” coming your way, etc., it’s best to say something such as “I’d love to talk now, but I need to get XYZ done” and exit the area.

Continue doing this as needed. If the co-worker whines, gossips or is just overall annoyed all the time, avoid them as much as possible: you don’t want to become someone everyone thinks of as being the person’s “good friend” because your reputation could suffer.

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