things that annoy the crap out of me

by Ask a Manager on October 6, 2011

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I’m sick with a cold and cranky, so I hereby present to you nine things that annoy the crap out of me:

1. When you email someone a question and they don’t know the answer so they decide to wait until they do know before getting back to you, even if it takes days, instead of just saying, “I’m not sure yet, but I’ll let you know when I know.”  My condo association is doing this to me right now. Employers do it to job-seekers all the time.

2. When someone tweets me a question that has a longer or more nuanced answer than can be given in 140 characters, and when surely they should have anticipated this but for some reason decided to tweet rather than email.

3. The word “tweet.” It embarrasses me to use it.

4. Tyra Banks.

5. Job candidates who, not having heard back yet in response to the resume they submitted three days again, follow up to say that they feel their background “warrants” an interview.  (People who do this: Do you intend for it to sound demanding? Or do you not realize how it’s coming across?)

6. When a book infuriates you but you can’t stop reading it. Most recently this happened to me with The Magicians, which was so derivative of Harry Potter and Narnia that I threw it across the room at one point (when talking animals started called the main characters “sons and daughters of Earth” and told them about the four thrones that awaited them). And then for some reason I kept reading.

7. People who hover in your office doorway while you’re on a phone call. I am on the phone.

8. Blogs with comment moderation turned on.

9. Cleaning the shower. Someone should invent a self-cleaning shower, like a self-cleaning oven.

See, I told you. Cranky.

{ 111 comments }

Catherine October 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Oh, The Magicians. I never threw my copy, but I do remember pausing, staring at it, and then saying words that probably shouldn’t be written here. You are definitely not alone in that one.

JustMe October 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Hope you feel better soon! Being sick (and cranky) sucks.
#1 – My sisters do this all the time and it drives me nuts.
#4 – Ditto. Ditto. And Ditto again.
#7 – My coworkers do this, and some will even ask me questions anyway (and expect and answer!) while I’m still on my call.
#9 – Scrubbing Bubbles automatic shower cleaner. My husband convinced me to buy this and I am SO glad he did.

Ask a Manager October 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm

How does Scrubbing Bubbles work? You spray it on and just wipe it off, with no other work involved? I don’t even want to have to wipe it off, but I might be willing to compromise if it’s really effective.

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

You just push a button and it sprays your shower with cleaner. I usually do a wipe down once a week, but it stays pretty clean.

Cruella October 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Love the automatic shower cleaner! You hang the applicator from your showerhead. After you’ve finished your shower, you press the button and it sprays the no-rinse-needed solution into your shower. We tried it in the boy’s bathroom to test the “cleans a dirty shower in 5 days” claim (because I’m not cleaning up after grown boys who can take care of it themselves) and it really worked!

Sarah Fowler October 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Yes, yes, yes. The Automatic Shower Cleaner is amazing. I haven’t scrubbed my shower in 10 months, and even my mother complimented me on its cleanliness! Houseguests even have no trouble remembering to press the button when they get out of the shower. It’s perfection, really.
I recommend starting with a clean shower and use the ASC to keep it that way.

Laura October 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I am too afraid to get the automatic shower sprayed because my cat plays with shower water droplets and licks the up. Anyone else have this fear?

Samantha October 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm

It’s supposed to be non toxic to pets but personally I wouldn’t risk it especially if your cat licks the shower.

KellyK October 7, 2011 at 9:12 am

I wouldn’t risk it. I’d keep the cat out of the bathroom if you’re going to use it. (Assuming that’s even possible–our litterbox is in the 2nd bathroom, so keeping the cats out of there would be slightly problematic.)

Cruella October 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm

My cat can’t get into my shower. We have glass shower doors.

Ask a Manager October 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Now, what if you have a shower curtain rather than a shower door? Still works?

Samantha October 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Still works. Just pull the shower curtain closed before you hit the button. ;)

JustMe October 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Still works! I have a shower curtain. Just try to get it as flat as possible when you close it so it can clean that too.

Anonymous October 7, 2011 at 10:15 am
Elizabeth October 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I’ve got to say, the automatic shower cleaners kind of gross me out. The idea of my entire shower being coated in chemical cleaners on a daily basis, which then dry there until I get in the next morning and turn on the hot water… and then I’m in chemical-y steam when I shower. Ick.

But I’m one of those types that mostly uses baking soda to clean my shower. I was at the wastewater treatment plant this morning (chaperoning a school trip) and they mentioned that the treatment process can’t remove 100% of the water-soluble chemicals that are in cleaning products, pesticides, etc. – and some of these can be harmful to the ecosystem where the treated wastewater is released.

Natalie October 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Method makes a more natural no-scrub shower cleaner that also smells like flowers. It’s in a spray bottle – no fancy dispenser – but works pretty ok.

Dan Ruiz October 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for that. I’m paranoid about chemicals too. I figure if I spray it in my shower, I’ll be standing in a puddle of it at some point. Ick!

Method seems to go out of their way to be eco-friendly.

Dan

Natalie October 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm

It’s part of their business model! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_Products

Nyxalinth October 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I’m a writer and working to get published, so books like the Magicians getting published annoys me. Derivative crap is obviously easier to publish than a fresh take on things.

Beth October 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I’ve long admired and respected you. I have learned a lot from you columns and am grateful for it. Now I am totally in love with you. #5 & #7 make me want to poke my eyes out. I thought I was unreasonably touchy about these things.
PS: You are allowed to be sick and cranky sometimes. You’re human.

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

6: That is, you understand, the point. The Magicians is basically Harry Potter and Narnia fanfiction, focusing on how screwed up it would be if they really existed.

Ask a Manager October 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Is that really the point? How did I not know this? But still, couldn’t it have been done in a less thief-like way? I mean, you could have a Narnia-like place that wasn’t actually Narnia.

lindsay October 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I liked The Magicians. It was supposed to be playing on those magical worlds, but I thought the characters were more real than some in the fantasies they’re based on.

Juniper October 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm

…but shouldn’t a parody of a fantasy novel still be fantasy? The Magicians came across as an existentialist coming of age tale, not an escapist jaunt into an unknown world. Grrrrrr.

Katya October 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Yes I was going to say the same thing! (As Anonymous) I feel very love/hate about The Magicians because, while I couldn’t put it down, it is soooooo depressing. It’s probably the most depressing book I’ve ever read. But I still think it’s good, esp. because it produced such a strong reaction in me. To me, what the book is really about is how depressing it can be to grow up. I don’t really have an opinion about the fact that it incorporated so much Chronicles of Narnia derived material because I thought it worked for the book.

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Number 1: I have feel the same about people who I send a work related email to asking them a question and they don’t answer at all.

I wouldn’t mind if I got a “I don’t know” or even a “not my problem” but these are the people who are responsible for the issues being discussed and they seem to think I have just asked the question for the hell of it. If I ask a question I need an answer!

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I also need an edit button… that should have been “I feel” not “I have feel”!

Dan Ruiz October 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Yes, please give us an edit button. I double and tripple check my spelling and grammar on AAM posts and still manage to screw up sometimes. :-[

Ask a Manager October 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I wish there was an edit button too. Count that as #11 on the list of things that annoy me. But absent that (because I don’t have a way to give you one without major work on my side), how about a blanket agreement that we will all make typos at times and we can just let them go without feeling obligated to correct them?

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

AAM- Thank you so much for this post. This is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately and it’s so nice having that validated. I hope you start feeling better. I’d wish that things would stop annoying you, but I don’t think that would stop annoying things or people from existing. :)

Cruella October 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Hope you feel better soon!

Lauren October 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Thank you for validating my anger at the people who linger in my doorway while I’m in the phone! Though there’s a couple who will actually try to start a conversation while I’m (still!) on the phone.

Also, I would have totally thrown The Magicians across the room if it wasn’t on my nook. Hope you feel better!

Wilton Businessman October 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Yikes, you’re on a tear today!

Regarding #1: My first mentor taught me that it was OK to say “I don’t know, but I will find out” instead of just BSing your way through it.

Regarding #4: or how about Miss J Alexander?

Regarding #7: I usually flash them 5 fingers indicating I will be with them in 5 minutes giving them opportunity to say it’s an emergency. If they stay there, I ignore them.

Regarding #8: I know, what’s the point? If you don’t like the comments, go back and delete them later or put a _readable_ captcha verification.

Hope you feel better soon.

Dawn October 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I totally agree with not BSing your way through something. I’ve had several co-workers over the years who, rather than admitting they didn’t know the answer, would make up something ridiculous. In my business (banking), giving a BS answer to the wrong person (examiner) could create a slew of problems.

Kristy October 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm

#7 is absolutely my biggest pet peeve. “I AM ON THE PHONE” is the only response I will give. A corollary of this is standing in my doorway talking on YOUR phone. GO TO YOUR OFFICE!

Christine October 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

#1 – DITTO!!

#5 – I think happens because of advice candidates have heard or read with regard to following up on job applications and being proactive. I think it’s okay to check on your candidacy, but three days after you’ve submitted your resume is pushing it, especially when it comes with such a demanding tone.

#7 – For me, it depends. If the person on the phone is facing the doorway, I may wait a moment to see if they notice that I’m there, then walk away if it’s not important. I may then just send an email or, if it’s really important, place a brief note in front of them saying something like “I need to speak with you about X”.

#9 – Funny you mention this because I was just working on our bathroom shower, and gave up. lol.

Feel better!!

Christine October 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Argh….I second the need for an edit button! “I think happens because of advice candidates have heard or read…” should read “I think THIS happens because…”.

Erica B October 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Everyone is cranky when they are sick, so it’s okay :) besides that, am I the only one that noticed Allison spelled Tyra’s name wrong? Ok, I find typos, although I find myself typing with lots of them, and not really caring about it (unless I’m trying to be professional). I also agree that Ms J. Alexander is a bit annoying, but mostly so her clothes. Speaking of cross dressers. Have you seen RuPauls Drag race? I’m sorry but RuPaul just looks odd with no hair and a pantsuit.

I also recommend the automatic shower cleaner thing.

Feel better!

Wilton Businessman October 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm

No, she meant Trya Banks, the more annoying sister of Tyra.

Ask a Manager October 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Crap! I fixed it.

Wilton Businessman October 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

JUST ONE MORE THING TO P!SS ME OFF TODAY!

Anonymous October 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Am I the only one that noticed that Erica B spelled Alison’s name wrong? ;-)

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Ok. I will admit that I kind of want to be Tyra Banks.

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Which is why I am not including my name.

Also Anonymous October 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I love this comment … and its subsequent one :-)

Perfectshinist October 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Many of these qualify for http://www.whitewhine.com

Adam V October 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Issue #1: My thing about this issue is that oftentimes, I will do a quick check of my inbox by looking at what doesn’t have a the “replied” icon. If I see the “replied” icon because I wrote “I’ll go find out and get back to you” then I don’t want to interpret that as “I’ve taken care of that already”.

Granted, you can say “that’s just bad inbox management” (which is true) but it might explain some of the mindset (only reply once).

Natalie October 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Assuming you have Outlook, the flag is handy for that function.

JT October 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

The other thing you can do with Outlook is to change a message status back to unread.

Nichole October 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I have a “to do” folder that I put things that still require action in-I use the flag more frequently, but if you aren’t using Outlook a folder is an option to separate out what still needs attention without having to remember what you’ve responded to. Of course, I have a habit of hyper-categorizing (I have no less than 5 folders in each Outlook account, and that’s not counting subfolders).

JT October 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm

One thing that makes me crazy is when people send me an email and them come over to ask if I saw their message. If it’s something urgent, say it in the email or come over and tell me. Either can be fine, but both is a waste of our time.

Another thing is someone asking me something, my answering, and them asking the question again, exactly the same way as if to confirm that I know what I’m saying. If there is some problem with my answer, or you think I misunderstood you, be explicit about that, don’t just repeat things. Same question twice will get you the same answer twice.

molly October 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I only do that to people who have their inbox so filtered and foldered that they won’t see my email until they decide to check the emails for that project. I want a reply, dammit!

Josh S October 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Also, Tyra Banks.

Josh S October 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

And in those few brief seconds, you corrected your typo.
Now my comment just looks silly. :p

Ask a Manager October 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm

That’s what you get for mocking me in my time of sickness!

PB October 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

#7 is my personal pet peeve too, but it’s even worse at my office because I have a giant window next to my door. So when my door is shut or when I’m on the phone, the sales people with their “ever so urgent” question stand there looking at me through the window. What drives me more crazy is that we have an internal website with 99.9% of their questions answered on it, if they were willing to take the time and just look at it.

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Once when I was consulting, I needed to spend time at the parent office, working out of my cubicle. I was on the phone on a conference call with a prospective client (and I worked in an ‘eat what you kill’ environment, so every prospective client was just gold to me) dealing with a topic that was difficult to understand under the best of circumstances.

I’m sitting there, hunched over my phone with the handset glued to my ear, my finger jammed in my other ear, trying to hear what the heck is going on so I can make a decent proposal to this client, and a voice starts whispering behind me:

“Are you on the phone?” and Lord help me, repeats it for FIVE MINUTES. It was a co-worker, and I was so infuriated that I knew if I raised a finger to indicate I’d get back to him in a bit it would have been the wrong finger and I would have gotten in trouble, so I just ignored him for FIVE MINUTES while he hissed at me.

If I had turned around, I would have lasered him to death with my eyes. When I got back with him to see what the heck was so bleeping important, it turned out he wanted a phone number from our database that he could easily retrieve.

On the shower front, I highly recommend the automatic scrubbing bubbles. I have a shower stall with a closing door, so I don’t have to worry about cats.

Satia October 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I have comment moderation turned on because my blog gets about ten spam comments a week. While I assume my readers have the sense not to click on a link in a comment, I also know that sometimes people click things accidentally because of a lag that causes a page to jump or scroll with hiccups.

I don’t think of it as a discourteous choice. But I can see how it can be annoying. I would rather not get a comment from a reader who finds it annoying than have a reader accidentally click the wrong link because some spam/phish site is using my blog to promote their nonsense. The lesser of two evils, I suppose.

Ask a Manager October 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Are you using Wordpress? They have really good anti-spam plugins that you can install. I get lots of spam, but it all goes into a spam folder; it’s rare for it to end up actually posted. But if you’re using Blogger or another platform, it’s harder to control.

I’m pretty sure that turning on comment moderation suppresses comments, because people don’t get the immediate gratification of having a dialogue. If you like comments, like I do, you might play with having it off for a few weeks and see if it makes any difference. (But you also might not care, which is also legitimate.)

Lina October 10, 2011 at 12:29 am

Ok, I’ll take your word for it. Going to try for two weeks!

It annoys me when I click send on a comment, realize there is a typo, but can’t edit!

Natalie October 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I have a manager who violates #7 a minimum of weekly. It’s compounded by his confusing need to tell me what calls he’s expecting* and his writing/email phobia. So I spend 5 uncomfortable minutes wrapping up a phone call just to get a list of pointless minutia that would have been better conveyed in a sticky note or not at all.

*It would make sense if he expected me to interrupt him for these calls, but he doesn’t and usual won’t take the call if he’s occupied. I’m anxiously awaiting the day we replace our phone system and he gets a direct line.

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm

This weblog is wonderful. I read it every week and most days.
I found it when I was looking up tips to interview for a job. I didn’t get it because the hiring manager is an astronaut and I’m kind of glad. Anyway, feel better soon and keep up the good work!

Also, you should read The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.
Your mind will be blown.
Along with Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles. Prepare for magic!

Anon. October 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

*”I didn’t get it because the hiring manager is an astronaut and I’m kind of glad”

What? lol..

Anonymous October 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm

astronaut = space cadet = idiot, maybe? I don’t get it either!

Anonymous October 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Maybe he really is an astronaut and is annoying? I was married to a real rocket scientist and I can tell you from personal experience they are annoying and actually not that smart. ;)

Anonymous October 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Yes. They are an idiot. I’m glad I didn’t get the job. I should have been more clear.

Kelly O October 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I have to add another.

Drug reps at your doctor’s office. Particularly when you’re sick and the front desk is very nicely trying to ask you to call and make an appointment for time with the doctor because she, you know, has patients and stuff. And then the rep doesn’t listen.

I think that’s a time the sick person in the waiting room ought to get to cough on you, or lick the top of your coke can or something.

Beth October 8, 2011 at 9:38 am

As a Practice Administrator of several walk in clinics, I agree that Drug reps are annoying. Most of the staff doesn’t want to see them either. It’s annoying for everyone but the doctor that wants the free samples. Even when they pretend they are being nice and bring the staff food, it is disruptive to the process of caring for our patients.

Also Anonymous October 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm

OMG I got a delicious giggle out of that one!

Bob G October 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I couldn’t agree more about people who stand in your doorway or start a conversation with you while you are on the phone. That drives me crazy. I also hate people who do not respond to emails (or even voicemails) to at least acknowledge they have it and they are working on an answer/response.

My biggest issue are the people who send you an email/voicemail with some problem/question/issue. I read through it, find an answer, contact them back and they already got an answer and didn’t follow up to let me know to disregard. These are usually the people who leave the message and because you weren’t available immediately they continue to harass people until someone answers them. Now you end up with 5 people working on this one issue and the original person has already moved on. In my office the worst offender are usually sales people.

I also hate the people who call my phone and get my voicemail but instead of leaving a message or waiting a bit and calling back begin calling back every 30 seconds. I can only have one conversation at a time.

Liz in a library October 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I hate this so much! I have a few major offenders at work who do this constantly. I sometimes wonder if they don’t realize that their names show up on my display, so I know that it was them who called 14 times during my 30 minute conference call…

Anonymous October 7, 2011 at 4:38 am

I had a manager once who would email people on every email address he knew about, and call them on all their phone numbers (work, home, cell). If he didn’t get the person, he would let a voicemail on EACH.

Christine October 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm

This happens ALL the time at the place I used to volunteer/temp at (a professional association with limited staffing)….drove us all nuts. I’ll readily admit that I’m not the most patient person in the world, but some of these people just would not let up!

Henning Makholm October 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm

So do you all expect me to do when I need information from a coworker and find they’re on the phone? Go back to my boss and tell him that unfortunately I won’t be able to complete such-and-such task because N.N. was on the phone and I’m not allowed to wait until he’s not on the phone anymore?

Also, one thing that annoys the crap out of me is when people send me urgent emails in the morning and interact with me several times during the day without ever hinting that they’re actually waiting for me to discover that they’ve sent an email. Then as I’m closing windows and preparing to go home I find it sitting in my inbox, and I could have handled it in no time if only the schmuck who sent it had given me a tip before he himself left for the night! If you have something written you need me to react to, by all means paste it into an email that I can pull up and look at when you come talk to me, but if you want any kind of prompt service from me, DO NOT skip the step of telling me that there’s an email for me to pull up and look at.

Liz in a library October 6, 2011 at 8:46 pm

What about shooting a quick e-mail to the person asking for the information you need? Or stopping by a little later when they are likely off the phone?

I have frequently responded to easy e-mail requests from colleagues during periods that I am unavailable because I am in a telephone meeting or otherwise unable to speak to them in person.

Natalie October 6, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Leave NN a note to see you once they are done? Send them an email to that affect?

Doesn’t seem that hard.

KellyK October 7, 2011 at 9:21 am

If the task is “within the next 15 minutes” urgent, that’s an excuse for hovering. Otherwise, as other people said, e-mail or leave a note on their desk.

Malissa October 7, 2011 at 11:56 am

First you go away and do something for five minutes. Go to the bathroom, get a cup of coffee or a can of soda. Check back if it’s that urgent. If the person sees you circle their office a few times they’ll come looking for you when they are off the phone, knowing that something is up.
Second, it’s up to the employee to actually check their email during the day. If you tell me that you didn’t see the email I sent you this morning until you got ready to leave, I’m going to be pissed. It’s an electronic world, checking email or having automatic notifications is the normal course of business.

Dan Ruiz October 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Agreed.

Not knowing someone needs your input because you don’t check your email is so last century. Please check your email at regular intervals during the day. Your coworkers probably expect that from you.

Dan

Natalie October 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

And when you can’t, set up an auto-reply. My boss does this a lot if she knows she’s not going to be able to check that often: “I will be away from my desk in meetings most of the day. If this is urgent, please call the office at…”

Malissa October 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Out-of-office-assistant is the best thing ever! I only wish learning it was mandatory. I have one coworker that just can’t use it, so I never know if she’s in or out. I gave up and just started emailing everything to her boss, he used to her job and helps me out.

Dawn October 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm

“Second, it’s up to the employee to actually check their email during the day. If you tell me that you didn’t see the email I sent you this morning until you got ready to leave, I’m going to be pissed. It’s an electronic world, checking email or having automatic notifications is the normal course of business.”

I agree 100%. A co-worker of mine does this all the time. I’ll send an email first thing in the morning (nothing urgent) and then ask her in the late afternoon if she got it. Nine times out of ten the reply is, “Oh, I haven’t checked my email yet.” WTF?? The whole reason I use email is to cut down on the number of distractions during the day. It gets pretty annoying when someone is in your office every ten minutes. Email greatly reduces the frequency of interruptions. Obviously if I need an answer right away, or need to explain a complicated situation, I’m going to call or visit that person.

ImpassionedPlatypi October 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

As others have stated, there are definitely better ways to go about non-emergency communications with someone who is on the phone than hovering in their doorway. Also, don’t you just feel kind of weird standing there doing nothing? I know every time I’ve gotten to someone’s office and thought about hovering to wait for them I’ve felt kind of weird about it.. I mean, you’re just standing there doing nothing while other people might be passing you in the hallway wondering what the hell you’re doing. It’s just strange.

I’m more concerned about your email rant though. If you work in a position where you actually have a company email, you should really be periodically checking that email throughout your day. There should be absolutely no need for someone to tell you they’ve emailed you. That’s part of the point of email, so people can communicate with you without having to call or come over and talk to you. Requiring people to come tell you when they’ve sent you email completely defeats the purpose.

Liz in a Library October 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Gotta agree with this one. I do not understand when people refuse to check e-mail.

I understand doing it during set times, so that it doesn’t take over or disrupt your day. I even understand having e-mail-free days, as long as your work group knows that is what you are doing. But I do not get simply not checking your e-mail. Usually, that’s considered to be part of the job…

I have a colleague who refuses to either check e-mail or look at the department’s shared calendar. She’ll then get angry if there’s a scheduling conflict or she doesn’t receive an important piece of info. Drives me batty!

Jamie October 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Agree!

I have the opposite pet peeve – if you send me an email don’t call or stop by to tell me you sent it.

I’ll know you sent an email because in my email box there will be an email from you. It’s a perfect system and doesn’t need the addition of annoying verbal alerts.

For those of you not checking your email and reinforcing the verbal pony express…check your email!

Anonymous October 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

“I have the opposite pet peeve – if you send me an email don’t call or stop by to tell me you sent it. ”

Ditto. My boss routinely calls me to reply to my emails. HATE IT! Can’t he hit the reply button like any other competent professional? Apparently not…

I could understand if these were urgent-require-prompt-response or follow-up “I never heard back from you after a few days” emails, but they are not. Ugh!

Jamie October 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I know – why oh why do people fight the perfect form of communication which is email.

I am not saying that face to face conversations aren’t important – they have their place. But ask a simple question send a simple answer – email. You have a record of it, you can reference it later, you can attend to it when you have a second instead of stopping what you’re doing because someone had the urge to tell you their needs right now.

Worst offenders for me on this? Users.

User on phone or driveby: Launches into tech problem they are having with no preamble (no “are you busy, do you have a second? etc.)

Me (after assessing that nothing is on fire): Please log a help ticket (which they do by email or user portal).

User: logs ticket. “tried to open file. won’t open. think file is broken.” (a real ticket I received.)

Me: reply to the ticket (they get reply via email): What type of file? From email or on our server?

User: CALLS me or stops by to say it was an excel file (or whatever.) But it isn’t that important and can wait until Monday.

So now you’ve not only interrupted me for something even you deem can wait – but now I need to type the information you gave me into the ticket. Which wouldn’t have been necessary if you had simply replied via email in the first place.

UGH – seriously – of all co-worker issues the “I prefer to chat rather than email” is right up there with the people who chew with their mouths open and the loud speakerphone talkers.

JT October 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Yes, in general email is great.

But there are some principles of communication we have to consider. For example, if a senior person inside or outside your organization makes a lot more money than you and/or has massive time pressure, then she/he calling rather than emailing may make sense: it’s faster for her/him, and the burden of documenting what was said falls on the person whose time is less valuable.

I occasionally have to deal with extremely busy and powerful people outside my organization, and communication to them has to be clear and brief, and their communication back tends to be even shorter unless they have a question.

Ask a Manager October 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I agree — this is an important exception.

Also Anonymous October 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm

To Jamie: “loud speakerphone talkers” – can’t agree more! Nextel users should be clanged on the head with an iron pan unless they are workers on a construction site (not chatting loudly away in Applebee’s as if everyone wants to hear their inane walkie-talkie conversation) :-)

Bob G October 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

“do you all expect me to do when I need information from a coworker and find they’re on the phone?”

Not to accuse you of this but in my place the only people who show up and need an answer immediately are the people who waited until the last minute for something they’ve known about for days/weeks. Trust me if there is a major emergency I’m OK with someone interrupting my phone call. That is not usually the case.

JT October 6, 2011 at 7:58 pm

“So do you all expect me to do when I need information from a coworker and find they’re on the phone? Go back to my boss and tell him that unfortunately I won’t be able to complete such-and-such task because N.N. was on the phone and I’m not allowed to wait until he’s not on the phone anymore?”

Yes.

Quiana October 6, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Wow what a great list! Hovering, shower cleaning and comment moderation – UGHHH! Get well soon.

Anon y. mouse October 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I actually prefer comment moderated blogs, but that could be because many of the blogs I read will quickly descend into flamewars and trolling if left unchecked. (Apparently when you make a habit of calling out animal abusers and abusive ‘accepted’ practices, and describe them using the appropriate profanity, you acquire enemies. Said enemies then retaliate by trolling your blog. Frightening, I know.) Flamewars haven’t been a problem here so far, I hope it stays that way.

Tyra Banks annoys me too. It feels like she really, really wants to be Heidi Klum on Project Runway… but Heidi is like that naturally, while Tyra is trying to force her persona. It just doesn’t work.

KellyK October 7, 2011 at 9:22 am

Same here. It’s annoying if every single comment has to go through moderation to be posted, but I like the general check by a real person for new commenters that they’re not spammers or trolls. I think it depends on the level of controversiality of the subject and how passionate people get about it.

Sabrina October 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm

You know what drive me nuts? When you ask someone a question and they answer with something that makes no sense at all. For instance “Are we going to hold the event in conference room A or in the cafeteria?” Answer: “Yes.” GRRRRRR

KellyK October 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

I hate that too. I tend to respond with “Um, that was an either or question.” (To be fair, I mostly get this in conversation and I think they’re answering yes to “Are you going to do A” before I finish saying, or they realize I’ve said, “or B?”)

ImpassionedPlatypi October 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I am completely with you about infuriating books. I read all of George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series a couple months ago and I think every book after the first one just progressively pissed me off more and more, but I just couldn’t stop reading them.

Anonymous October 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

DO NOT read The Magician King (book #2 in that series). It was more annoying than the first

Dan Ruiz October 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Get better soon.

Dawn October 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Sorry about the late post here, but I was out of town and couldn’t get my AAM fix until today.

#7 by far pisses me off beyond belief. Hello??!!! I am ON THE PHONE!! I am obviously helping an employee at another location or getting help with something. Standing there staring at me with that expectant, pleading look in your eye isn’t going to cause me to have pity on you and hang up on the person I am talking to. If it’s urgent, be an adult and slip me a note that you need me. Don’t just stand there staring at me, pacing back and forth.

I’d like to add one more to the list: people who have a loud conversation with another co-worker while the person in the nearby cubicle (3 feet away) is on a phone call. It’s so rude! I’ve never understood why certain people don’t understand that. How can the person hear the caller on the line when people are talking loudly right in front of her cube?? And it’s not even work related!! Have some respect for your co-workers, please.

Dawn October 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Ok, I think we need a top ten pet peeve list compiled by AAM readers. I think it would be quite entertaining and would be some great venting. :)

Lacey October 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I’m glad to know Tyra Banks irritates other people. She is annoying.

Lina October 10, 2011 at 12:41 am

Extremely annoying: Someone adjusts your front seat and mirrors to drive your car for five minutes! Do you know how long it took me to get it just right?!

Anonymous October 12, 2011 at 9:24 am

You know what annoys me? Spam protection/captchas that don’t work. Like the one you have on another post right now that says that 7+10 isn’t 17.

Ask a Manager October 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Agggh, sorry. It keeps looking like it’s fixed, and then malfunctioning. I’ve disabled it for now.

Hella October 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm

6. The Magicians – I had the same reaction to the book as you! After throwing it across the room, I picked it back up and put it into the Goodwill pile. Maybe someone else will like it better then I do.
I picked up “Magician” by Raymond E. Feist. Much more to my liking!

Ask a Manager October 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I’m now reading The Night Circus — and it’s amazing!

Hella October 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Who is the author of that?

Ask a Manager October 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm
Hella October 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Thank you!!!!!

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