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jonsblond's avatar

How would you handle this annoying coworker?

Asked by jonsblond (43942points) November 9th, 2023
24 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

I started a new job at a large hospital almost five months ago. My department consists of ten people who work closely in a confined area for most of the day.

One female coworker who is a few years younger than me is rude to the new people who are close in age. I’m one of them. Everyone else is friendly towards me. This woman talks nonstop to the coworkers who work directly beside her. She never shuts up. It’s very distracting. Half the time she is complaining about never having alone time when she gets home.

Yesterday she said something disgusting. The hospital had a code blue call for the entrance to the ER. These were her words: “They should have come earlier. Or maybe call an ambulance instead of driving yourself.” She laughed when she said this!

This woman makes my day miserable. I’m waiting until my sixth month mark so I can switch departments.

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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I would secretly pursue skills training, (online, weekend, self taught), and get a better job. Maybe even a totally different career path.

On the flip side 99% of jobs have a downside.

On another side while you are learning and getting ahead, your annoying coworker will still be at the same job.

Maybe she wants to get fired, for whatever reason?
Maybe she has a personality disorder?

I recommend descritly asking a counselor or HR for advice.

jonsblond's avatar

I get a state pension. There are no better benefits where I live. I need to stay at this hospital. I applied for three different positions before I was hired. That’s how determined I was to work here.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@jonsblond So she knows that you wont leave, and can treat you like dirt, because the hospital has leverage on you.

If you can’t beat them then join them?
If it’s OK to be rude to staff then maybe you could be too?
I would ask HR if she can recommend therapy for your coworker?

Sounds like a toxic workplace. I recommend reading up on whatever career advice that your local library has.

jonsblond's avatar

This is why I stay: The WRS is among the best funded and best managed public pension systems in the country. With some $142 billion in assets, it is the 8th largest U.S. public pension fund. Approximately 663,000 individuals participate in the WRS. The WRS is a hybrid defined benefit plan.

jonsblond's avatar

@RedDeer We are supposed to be respectful at a hospital. Stooping down is not the answer.

jonsblond's avatar

^Thank you for your input. You didn’t have all the information. I appreciate you. :)

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@jonsblond Your welcome. If she isn’t your supervisor, maybe you could be honest with her?

My mom, and I, both had different shifts in a conveniece store, and we spoke our minds, because we both knew that no one wanted the positions.

My mom was assertive with head office and her bosses.
She never got fired. That’s the advantage of having a shitty job. : )

flutherother's avatar

Look at the pluses; you have a good job with a great pension and you get on well with your coworkers with one exception. That sounds pretty good to me and it shouldn’t be too hard to battle on for another month.

If you get stuck with her for longer you might want to say something to her but talking too much is hardly an offense and the words shed spoke following the code blue strike me as the kind of humour that helps a team cope in stressful situations, but I may be missing something.

In short, I would just put up with her eccentricities for now and apply for another position later. In my experience in any group of ten there will be at least one person you don’t get on with.

seawulf575's avatar

There are many options you have here. You can ignore her until you get to the point where you can transfer to a different section. There is no guarantee there won’t be someone that is equally annoying there, but this one does sound like an original. Another option would be to talk to her as an adult. She seems self-centered though so that probably wouldn’t go well. If she is talking and disrupting your attention on your job, ask her to stop yammering (maybe don’t use that word) because you can’t focus on her and on your job. You could agree with her that you don’t get alone time at home either and hoped you could get it at work, if only she’d stop talking. When she says callous things like she did about the Code Blue case, you could calmly tell her “That sounds heartless” and let it go at that.

People like this act this way for attention. They will take positive or negative attention…all the same to them. Laughing at them will incense them but will also make them leave you alone, eventually.

I once worked with a guy who would basically lecture everyone about any and all topics. One day he was on his soapbox and one of the other guys listened for a while and then calmly said “Yes Jim, but you’re wrong”. That got “Jim” going even more, trying to push his point with even more vigor. The other guy listened for a bit more and said “But you’re still wrong.” then got up and walked away. “Jim” followed him ranting even more at him so the guy stopped, turned around and said “But you’re wrong”. Eventually “Jim” just about popped a blood vessel but did quiet down. And for a while he stopped using the soapbox.

janbb's avatar

I would just tolerate her for another month and apply for other positions when you can since you want to keep working there. I’ve had annoying co-workers at the reference desk—ine was just stupid, one was close minded, and another bossed me around. Generally, I just did the work that I was hired to do. It doesn’t mean that I never snapped back but I didn’t let it spoil what was essentially a great job. But – even if you get another position there may be someone there you don’t like.

cookieman's avatar

Are headphones an option?

gorillapaws's avatar

How’s your supervisor? If you’ve developed a good rapport you might consider a private conversation to the effect of:

“I don’t want to create waves, cause any drama, or get anyone in trouble by making any formal complaints, but one of my coworkers made a joke in poor taste about a code blue arrival. I know gallows humor can be a coping mechanism in this industry because we have stressful jobs that deal with difficult situations at times. That said, I was pretty disgusted by the statement. Do you have any advice?”

I would only do this if you’ve already developed a good working relationship with your boss. I would avoid HR. They’re required to file complaints sometimes and it could backfire quickly.

Forever_Free's avatar

I personally would wear earbuds with focus music.

If that is not possible or doesn’t offer relief then I would respectfully say something like “It’s really hard for me to focus on my work when you talk loudly”.

smudges's avatar

Whew that’s a hard one! If you say anything to her she’s likely to just lash out at you. If you complain to anyone in power it could end up being made public. If you can’t wear earplugs, I guess I’d just keep my nose to the grindstone and wait until I could transfer out. It would be hard because a month doesn’t seem like much, it’s still 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, so it does drag, but in the end you might be rid of her. Sorry you’re having to go through this.

jca2's avatar

I’ve had some annoying coworkers over my 30 years working in local government. Most I would ignore and try not to engage, other than saying hello and goodbye. If they said something bitchy to me, I’d try to not show that it bothered me. If they were not team players, I’d silently enjoy when they, in turn, needed a favor and I wouldn’t help them, nor would anybody else. Most jobs I worked at had a coworker who was annoying in some way – either with their personality or their calling out sick all the time or a host of other things.

SnipSnip's avatar

If she is disruptive and her constant chatter interferes with others doing their job, management should be informed. As for the remark about the code, I can’t believe that no one said anything to her. I certainly would have told her it was awful thing to say.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Those people usually self-resolve. I’d personally suck it up and wait that out if you’re really happy with the job otherwise. You’re not going to like all of your coworkers, and not all of them will like you. I get she is like fingernails on a chalkboard, but it’s just one of the unpleasantries of the job you get paid to put up with.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Stay professional and kind, others will notice !
I agree with @Blackwater_Park that eventually others will notice and it will resolve itself.

Zaku's avatar

I have a skill I’ve developed for people like that (or other people I can’t stand), where I compartmentalize them and their behavior, as if they’re an annoying song I can’t get out of my internal sound track, but I interact with them as little as possible, and when I do, it’s just my professional level persona.

I might also indulge in a little side daydream fantasy, where I pretend I’m in a scripted TV drama, and that character is the one the writers are building up audience hatred for, and ironically foreshadowing their eventual demise through her insensitive comments. (For example, she’s going to find herself needing to drive herself to the ER in heavy traffic, or she calls for an ambulance for herself but it breaks down, or the driver who’s heard some of her comments, intentionally gets in an accident on the way to pick her up.)

jonsblond's avatar

Thanks everyone! We are allowed one earbud so that does help at times.

My ultimate goal is to be a medical coder which is work from home. That will give me freedom from annoying coworkers. I’ve been studying for almost two years and I’m almost done. I was advised to get my foot in the door at a hospital because that’s the easiest way to get a coding position without experience. Hospitals like to hire from within.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, you go @jonsblond!

cookieman's avatar

@jobsblond: That’s fabulous! A great field to get into.

chyna's avatar

Coders in the hospital I work at make really good money and most of them work from home.
It sounds like a win win situation.

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