Greta, I hate the people I work with.

Hi – thanks for stopping by.

Well, you’ve got straight to the point, which is commendable.

First off, take comfort in the fact you’re not alone; millions of people struggle to like/not hate the people they work with. Consequently, you’re part of a very large club.

Saying that, there’s a vast spectrum in the club; your colleagues or employers may be mildly irritating, or they may be placing your life in danger. Think the garment factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh, in 2013. A total of 1,129 workers were killed in the accident, completely redefining what it means to work for tossers.

It’s a funny thing but in school, you’re not taught how to deal with people at work. In fact, school leaves you with the impression that academic qualifications, skills, talent and competence is enough to survive the world of work.


It’s the people who form your working context that make the difference as to whether you’ll fail or succeed, stay or go.

Never fear.

As you’re a reader of my blog, I’m naturally on your side. So here’s a quick guide to help you identify what kind of wrong’un you’re working with/for – and how dangerous they might be to you. Hopefully identifying the type will help dispel your hate, as you find new and inventive ways of dealing with the ongoing joy of going to work.

  1. Unknowing idiots

These people have got the job through lucky breaks. They’re only partially competent, so their mistakes and blunders are completely unintentional. The greatest danger they pose to you is forgetfulness or mixing up meeting rooms. Treat them kindly; they’re a dying breed, except in politics, where they’re mostly in government.

Threat level: 1

  1. Knowing idiots

These people know they’re stupid. Because they’re self aware, if you’re intelligent, they’ll either see you as their greatest threat or their best friend. Knowing idiots are needy, because they need your ideas to survive at work.

Threat level: 1-2

  1. Willful idiots

These people make a profession out of being comedy thickoes – think Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. But they’re far from stupid and can often be accomplished manipulators. Their village idiot image exists in order to milk the good will of all around them, and can be used to shirk responsibility and dodge blame.

Threat level: 2-3

  1. Gossip mongers

You can never trust one of these; their friendship with you exists for the sole purpose of furnishing them with information. It’s like the relationship an opium poppy has with a drugs dealer; you can never be friends because you’re being farmed for product. Main threats from this type of person is reputation destruction, which can be very nasty indeed.

Threat level: 5

  1. Former stoners

This type is happiest smoking a spliff at a summer festival. Usually male, he longs for the free and easy days of his youth. He’s looking for an easy ride, so will get on with you if you’re a hard worker who makes his job easy.

Threat level: 1

  1. Entitled mothers

These women have procreated and think this gives them additional human rights. They are zealous about their ‘right’ to leave work on the dot of 5.30, even if the workload is massive, even if there’s a presentation to a client first thing in the morning. People working with them usually end up subsidising their lifestyle by picking up their workload. As they’re not amenable to reason, you won’t be able to argue your point. By working with them, you’ll join their husband and siblings in a victims list.

Threat level: 2-3

  1. Eat-your-still-beating-heart-ers

Paradoxically, this workplace type is easy to spot. They’re the people who’ll stab you in the back so regularly that you’ll wonder what your jacket looked like without the additional holes. Usually located in marketing or media, this type is anxious to dominate by obliterating any and all opposition. They’re nasty, duplicitous and should be kept at arm’s length as much as possible. The more competent you are, the more at risk you are.

Threat level: 5

  1. Mafia

Ever wonder why a person is so high up with no discernable skills and yet commands absolute respect? This workplace type is an organised crime member. They own shares in or control the business outright. They’ll know nothing about your white collar problem, so don’t ask them about it. Unless you are Eliot Ness, or have your own personal Sean Connery handy, zip-it.com and steer well clear.

Threat level: 5

  1. Serial shaggers

These people aggressively sleep with everyone who counts, creating a vast base of sympathetic human resources. If you challenge them, be aware that you’re also challenging everyone they’ve slept with – and make sure it isn’t your boss.

Threat level 2-3

  1. The genuinely lovely person

These people are rare. They go through life trying to bring a little sunshine into the lives of others. You have no reason to hate them, even if you feel dead inside – because life isn’t a competition. And if you listen to them, they’ll give you wisdom for your life, strength for your days, laughter for the gloom and chicken soup for your soul.

Threat level 0.

© greta von szabo 2016


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