10 Of The Most Annoying Colleagues You Will Find At Work In Singapore
STORY: Pearlyn Tham
09 January 2020
ILLUSTRATION: EILZAH INSYIRAH
People who claim undue credit or backstab you or ignore you in the office lift are so 2018. These are the ones you will recognise right away. And you could be one of them.
1. The not-so-humble bragger
“Not say I want to say but my husband bought me a Birkin just for fun yesterday.” “I shouldn’t reveal this but my sales commission this year paid for my condo in Tanjong Pagar.” “I usually don’t share this but my girlfriend is a Youtube star.” Just some examples of the not-so-humble bragger in the office who volunteers little nuggets of information about his or her life without you having to ask or wanting to know. What differentiates the not-so-humble bragger from a braggart? The former adds in disclaimer lines before launching into the real topic.
2. The name dropper
Similar to the not-so-humble bragger is the name dropper who will find the slightest window of opportunity to weave in any mention of how his father is the cousin of the neighbour of the sister-in-law of the former schoolmate of your CEO. A more modern version of the name dropper prefers dropping names of the elitist schools that he or she went to.
3. The gossip
Admit it: we all love to gossip but there are some people in the office who seem to make it their career, complete with widening eyes, conspiratorial voices and long visits to everyone’s desk.
4. The kaypoh
While the gossip likes to spread news and fake news, the kaypoh is seemingly less malicious, preferring to snoop around on the most mundane things like asking you if it was your wife who dropped you off at work this morning or why you cut your hair. I once had an extraordinarily kaypoh colleague who enjoyed poring over documents and notes at everyone’s desks and asking us what we were working on. Of course, she never got any of her own work done.
5. The pity party
We love frolleagues whom we can confide in but colleagues who offer their unsolicited sympathy – especially when you are already in a tense situation – are another breed altogether. Case in point: the entire world just saw you getting screamed at in your boss’s room and the pity party colleague (whom you’ve only spoken to thrice in your six years at work) will always be around the corner, asking you if you are okay and if you want to go with her to a nearby café and share more.
6. The food thief
It’s not that we are frugal or stingy but when you have to clock in hungry OT hours and your only rations are the kaya buns that you saved from lunch, you do not appreciate the food thief nicking them from the communal fridge – even though you had labelled your name on it in font size 72. Other food items that food thieves love include milk for your morning coffee, Japanese limited edition Pocky biscuits that you bought for your team and mints you hid in your drawer.
7. The stationery thief
This one “borrows” your precious stapler, highlighters and tape dispenser whenever you are out for meetings. And never returns them. Then you have to beg the admin department for fresh supplies… again. Sometimes, the stationery thief evolves into the umbrella thief, happily borrowing your one good brolly on a rainy day and keeping it forever.
8. The straggler
Not that we have to finish first in a marathon race but the straggler is someone you don’t want in your lunch kaki group. Why? Because she never sees the importance of heading out to lunch at 12 noon sharp (hello, because lines at that popular fish beehoon soup stall start forming by 12.02pm, okay?) and is always rushing work or disappearing into the washroom just before lunch.
9. The “dabao for me”-er
We are nice, generous people and don’t mind buying food for you once in a while. But when it becomes a habit (because your dewy skin cannot take long walks out in the sun), it’s a different story. Also annoying is the colleague who asks for takeaway favours and never has money to pay up or the one who has Michelin-worthy instructions like “please get the soy sauce chicken noodles for me but I only want thigh meat and boneless, please, and please get the uncle to add extra soy sauce but I do not want spring onions, only fried onions, and can you pack the gravy separately and can you also get me one taro bubble tea with 10 per cent sugar, peach pearls and less ice, and can you also…”. No, just no.
10. The historian
This person has an inexplicable need to record everything that you do or say every minute, from the way you slouch in your seat to what you said at tea break. Not that she is your greatest fan; she just wants to put everything on Instagram Stories so her 54 followers know that you had diarrhea last night or that you have six potted plants on your desk.