Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Workplace Whiners and the Other Coworkers You'll Know

ARCHIVES
Image via Lipik/Shutterstock.com

Today in The Wall Street Journal Sue Shellenbarger discusses a type of coworker you've surely had the occasion to work with, assuming you've been working in an office environment for any time at all. This is, Shellenbarger writes, the "workplace whiner." Not only are such coworkers an inherent productivity problem—did you know that just listening to someone complain constantly can undermine your own performance?—but also, God almighty, they are annoying. You're just trying to complete that spreadsheet peacefully, a bagel and coffee by your side, and suddenly you have to listen to innumerable gripes about the office water bubbler temperature, really? 

Shellenbarger points out, though, that it's not always so easy just to shut your ears and try to ignore. Listening and nodding can backfire and make you the subject of the complainer's next complaint. Telling someone they complain too much rarely goes well. And while the experts recommend "setting an example" and attempting to bond, that's not too appealing in the fifth hour of your coworker's screed about his or her latest perceived injustice. You can buy headphones, of course, but will they even work? All of a sudden, you're complaining, too!

Tips in Shellenbarger's piece to combat all this include changing the subject, zoning out, asking your whiny coworker what he or she plans to do about the issue or suggesting taking it to a superior, moving your desk to a complaint-free zone, and so on. Some bosses have even incorporated cash reward programs for workers able to keep from complaining or gossiping for a certain amount of time. But this got us thinking: Is the workplace whiner the worst sort of office inhabitant? There are plenty of others, too, and they are indisputably grating in their own ways. The list goes on and on, but here are a few.* 

The Employee Who's Never Had a Bad Day in His Life. Arguably worse that the workplace whiner, this coworker is insufferably happy. Really, just thrilled, rainbows and teddy bears and cupcakes and roses, about everything. Mr. Sunshine, you call him, behind his back, but you could say it to his face because he wouldn't mind. He takes it all—compliments, criticisms, the fire drill, the fact that the only available coffee is hazelnut—in stride, and he has been known to laugh at his own jokes as hard as he laughs at those of others, but mostly, he's just a big grinning fool always on the verge of another positive statement or belly laugh. Especially egregious on a Monday morning, the EWNHABDIHL is, however, probably your best bet for happy hour drinks, and can stop a workplace whiner in his tracks because his mood cannot be felled by anyone. (You may have no idea what this person's job is. It doesn't matter.)

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

(Image via Lipik/Shutterstock.com)

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.