your top 10 weirdest coworkers

Last week, I asked readers to tell us about the oddest coworkers they’ve ever had. Here are my 10 favorite stories over at the Fast Track blog by Intuit QuickBase — including the boss who faked a heart attack (twice!), the pants-less coworker, and more. (And if you haven’t read the comments on the original post, there’s tons more hilarity in there.)

1. Faked a heart attack – twice

“Between college and grad school, I worked at a library where my boss faked a heart attack for attention/to get out of work. Twice. An ambulance was called the first time. The second time, she just stopped showing up for about a month. Didn’t get fired though, and left for another, better job after I’d left for graduate school.”

2. No pants in the workplace

“I had a coworker who noticed people would go to the restroom and change into workout clothes before leaving the building. She decided she’d be okay to change into her bathing suit with just a long t-shirt over it and then she came back into the office space to finish filing. She did it twice before I had to go ask my manager to talk to coworker about wearing pants in the workplace. I wish you could’ve seen my manager’s face when I led off with that statement.”

3. Amateur restaurant reviewer

“I worked downtown for four years in a city I had lived my entire life. They hired a new guy on my team and every time he went out to lunch, he would send an email to the entire team telling us where he went, what he had, a link to the online menu, a review of his meal and the service and the ambiance of the place. After a few weeks, I responded to just him and said, ‘Please take me off these emails, Joe. Thanks Jane.’ He never sent me another email, period.”

4. That’s not the bathroom

“We have a coworker who apparently does not like to use the restroom facilities. Instead, he pees into the bushes at the far end of the parking lot (still in full view of those with window offices, those on smoke breaks and others milling about).”

5. Compulsive liar

“I worked with a woman who was probably a compulsive liar. We kept a list of crazy things she said, like one time Bill Clinton tried to seduce her, another time she was on a boat with U2 and Elvis Costello and the boat capsized, and that she was responsible for inventing a number of famous products.”

6. Business expenses at a strip club

“I used to work for a major weekly news magazine. My coworker got in trouble for trying to get reimbursed for an $800 bill from a strip club. He attempted to convince us the stripper was a ‘source’ for a story. He finally admitted he let the stripper take him in a back room and then was shocked that the bill was so high and didn’t know what to do. Amazingly, he didn’t get fired for it. What got him fired was getting caught hacking into our top editor’s email to try to delete a message he regretted sending.”

7. Craigslist obsession

“I once worked with a guy who was obsessed with the free section on Craigslist. He was two cubes in front of me and all day long (literally 6-7 hours) he would yell out anything he found of interest. ‘Anyone interested in a kayak, it’s free on craigslist’ or ‘Anyone interested in a pile of bricks, it’s free on craigslist’ or ‘anyone interested in a couch, it’s soaked with cat urine, but it’s free on craigslist’…ARGH, so annoying! He was eventually laid off.”

8. Backscratcher in a briefcase

“In my first office job, there was a guy who carried a briefcase every day. Inside the briefcase was a plastic fork taped to a pen, and nothing else. He’d use it as a back scratcher, loudly proclaiming his pleasure as he shoved it down the back of his shirt.

He also loooooved estate sales, and would tell us all about the amazing deals he would get on used personal hygiene products, saying things like, ‘It’s like 3/4 of the bar of soap, and it was only $0.05!’”

9. “I call his job!”

“At a previous job, a meeting was called and the team supervisor announced that a senior team member had just been let go and that we would discuss the transition. As soon as the supervisor had the words out, the Team’s assistant blurted out, ‘I call his job!’”

10. Making out in the drive-thru

“I had a coworker who would conduct long conversations with his online dating prospects at his desk, in a loud voice that everyone could hear. At the time, our office was in a building that was previously a bank so there was still a window for the drive-thru, with parking right outside. He met one of his online dating prospects there and they proceeded to have a hot-and-heavy make-out session in the car, where everyone on the ground floor could observe them through the drive-through window.”

{ 55 comments… read them below }

  1. Dang*

    OMG, these were just hilarious. My favorite was #8.

    The Amateur Restaurant Reviewer made me a little sad, though. Annoying, bizarre, yes… but possible that he was just trying to reach out to people and didn’t know how?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I actually would love to work with the amateur restaurant reviewer! For some reason, I’m picturing him being like Tyler Cowen, the economist who runs a site with really hilarious (and on-point) reviews of D.C.-area restaurants. (His site is here, for anyone in the area.)

      1. Dang.*

        Ha, that guy is hilarious!

        I would want a coworker who did that! Then again, I love food. And eating at restaurants. So.. there’s that.

      2. M-C*

        That one made me squirm a bit. Because I have repeatedly put together web pages with reviews of restaurants around a new workplace. In my defense, it’s because pretty quickly everyone starts sending me all the new people to tell them where to eat, and I think literacy is useful that way.. But they were web pages, not emails, the victims had to look deliberately :-).

    2. Recent Diabetic*

      I am pretty sure that my brother-in-law is #8. He once spent six hours or so making high-class brownies for a cook-off at his office and described his competition’s brownies as too ‘pedestrian’.

      1. Sascha*

        What are high class brownies? I’m guessing made from scratch, hard to find ingredients, maybe a splash of liqueur?

            1. Kelly O*

              Did the grower talk to the plants daily, and name them? Were they protected from the harsh elements, and provided a noble memorial service upon harvest?

              (I seriously understand the importance of locally grown and organic food, I just get a kick out of some of the things I’ve seen asked.)

        1. Recent Diabetic*

          LOL!!! I think it was sourcing some obscure but very expensive chocolate and then using some very refined organic products + some cooking process and treating that chocolate in a few different ways that took a very long time. It was just ridiculously outlandish.

          1. Cat*

            I have to say, I’ll put up with a lot of pretension if it comes with free brownies. I wonder how they tasted?

            1. Recent Diabetic*

              yes, but then after eating the brownies you’ll have to bend over backwards and tell him that he is the Overlord of all things cookery and lavish hyperbolic compliments until your tongue bleeds honey. Oh! you will also be reminded for six months about those brownies and its orgasmic qualities.

              1. Oxford Comma*

                I bake a lot from scratch and I bring stuff into work all the time. I brought in my from scratch brownies and they went over big. A month or so ago a colleague told me to bring some in for an event (told, not asked mind you) and when I said that I didn’t have the time or the money (the recipe has 3 kinds of chocolate), she was like “it’s just opening the box and it’s like $2.” And I shut that down right away. Haven’t made them since.

                1. Jamie*

                  If you and I ever find ourselves working in the same office I promise to not only appreciate them and thank you profusely…but I’ll make sure all your IT requests go to the top of the queue and get you the best gear.

                  Seriously – I would sell my pink stapler which I love beyond reason for a brownie right now.

    1. C-suite Diva*

      Made me think about a former coworker who was so bizarre in so many ways – but the icing on the cake was that she started dating a guy who worked down the hall from us and, after a few weeks of PDA’ing in the parking lot, they had loud sex in the bathroom in between our offices. Awkward.

      She also took a day off work when she found out she had a spot of skin cancer to go and lay out on the beach … aww, youth!

    2. Windchime*

      Haha, #10 was my co-worker–believe me, he wasn’t a hero. He was super wierd and creepy. He did a lot of staring.

  2. Rob (Bacon) Bird*

    I had a co-worker once who spoke Klingon. Now this by itself wasn’t too weird (there are people who still learn Latin and to me, that’s WAY more weird….).

    What was weird is that his wife spoke it too and whenever they talked to each other, they only spoke Klingon. She would call him on the phone; they are speaking Klingon. They go shopping at Wal-Mart; they are speaking Klingon. They go to garage sales… get the point.

    1. Sascha*

      Lol I always thought it would be fun if me and my husband learned Irish Gaelic to speak with each other, but I imagine that would be much less surprising to hear in public than Klingon.

    2. ProcReg*

      If this isn’t on Big Bang Theory soon, I’m going to scream! This is weird, you’re right.

      1. Josh S*

        I have a friend who toasts with that any time he’s with people who don’t know. He does it just to see who will toast in Klingon in a big group setting.

        1. Ellie H.*

          That is so great. I absolutely love shibboleths like that. I can’t think of any other examples but I have definitely come across analogous things before.

    3. Cat*

      That’s amazing. I would love to work with that guy; I feel like you could come up with endless office fun involving Klingon.

  3. Kelly*

    I once worked with a 60 year old woman who would try to sabotage other peoples work to get people fired because she was afraid of being replaced.

    She was our supervisor so everyone was afraid of her but I didn’t need the job so I called her out in front of her boss. She totally flipped out and LITERALLY threw her self on the floor and started rolling back and forth and bawling. It was hands-down the weirdest thing ever!

    She somehow managed not to get fired (or committed) that day and about a week later the home office had me do an audit on the petty cash account. She saw that happening and, I kid you not, started digging her fingernail into her nostrils and caused her nose to start bleeding all over the place! There was blood on her desk, on the files, on the invoices she had on her desk! It was so bizarre and crazy … and gross.

    Thankfully she resigned after that since she figured the audit on the petty cash account was going to prove she was stealing money. Her daughter still works here (another lovely person) so we still hear about her crazy life events. If she was my mother I would change my name and move to a deserted island!

  4. Angela*

    Thanks for the good laugh. Those were awesome and make me feel a heck of a lot better about my own weird co-workers. Although, I did have a co-worker who talked about her bowel movements all of the time. It was a lot of TMI. “I’m going to take a poop” “dont go in there for a while, I just took a poop”, “man, I have been going poop a lot today”, “I shouldnt have ate, that , it’s gonna make me poop”, “my stomach hurts cuz I havent pooped today”. LOL – and we all sat in cubes so literally everyone in the department heard her announcements.

    1. Anonymous*

      I feel awkward sharing those kind of things where it’s socially acceptable (like in the privacy of your own home, with people that are close enough). Can’t imagine how someone does that at work!

  5. Elizabeth West*

    D2mmit, I can’t think of anything! I must have had the most boring coworkers on the planet! :P

  6. Anonymous*

    I love #8. I have a coworker who takes his shoes off in meetings and scratches his feet but he just uses his hands. Maybe we need to get him a scratcher with a special case.

    1. Jamie*

      The hell??? Does anyone say anything to him? In my meetings the world would stop until he put his shoes back on and knocked that off.

      That’s seriously so gross.

      1. Dang.*

        We had a guy who would whip out a comb and brush his facial hair in the middle of meetings. Minor detail, he was the boss. Ha!

        1. Windchime*

          Yeah, we had a guy who would do this and he would also floss his teeth at his desk. I’m not talking a discreet, quick toothpicking…..we are talking full-on floss, in a mirror.

        2. tcookson*

          To me, combing the facial hair is grosser (more gross?) than scratching the feet . . . at least the feet are under the table. I used to work with a guy who would pick his nose while making direct eye contact. And I used to wonder why I was the one embarrassed by it, not him!

      2. Anonymous*

        I don’t know if anyone else notices! He sort of does it under the table, but I used to sit next to him and he did it at his desk too so I know what’s going on. He has many personal habits I find objectionable, and I’m afraid I might be sitting next to him again soon when we move offices so I’m steeling myself for the moment I need to have a talk with him. Though, I’d take the foot scratching as a trade if he stopped eating so loudly and chewing and talking at the same time with his mouth wide open. I’ve seen so many of his half chewed lunches in his gaping maw.

        1. Jamie*

          I don’t know who you are, Anonymous, but I want to rescue you and bring you to a workplace where that kind of thing NEVER HAPPENS.

          Guy needs a case of Lotrimin and Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

          1. Anonymous*

            Ha, thanks for the support. I have so many “good” stories about this guy and wanted to submit him to the original post, but given he is a CURRENT coworker, I thought I’d better refrain just in case.

        2. Rana*

          Man, I’d be half tempted to bring in a can of foot spray and spray him when he does it. Ew.

  7. Ellie H.*

    This is so great. I was away for the original post but am catching up with its comments and thoroughly enjoying all of them. I am absolutely positive that I am the weird coworker.

  8. Karma*

    This morning I was talking to a co-worker and I looked over and the guy sitting next to him was at his desk, brushing his teeth-full on foamy mouth. Just. Not. Right.
    I told him that was meant to do in the restroom, not his desk.

  9. Christine*

    Just wanted to say that in reading all of these stories makes me feel a heckuva lot better about my standing as a human being. lol. I definitely have some annoying quirks, no question, but it’s just so freeing to see that there are people who have far, FAR worse quirks!

    1. PJ*

      Yeah, I’m feeling pretty normal now. Don’t ask my co-workers, though. They’ll just lie about me.

  10. Melanie*

    It’s not often I feel the need to chime in here, but for once I think I can top you all.
    I once worked in a firm where my dept was quite near the IT helpdesk, who’s supervisor had a medical condition where he needed to take very strong painkillers and use a (loudly clicking) walking stick. As it was a workers-comp-related thing, he would come into our dept and very deliberately photocopy his medical receipts each week and tell us all about the illness and its progress. Wait, it gets better.
    So one day my co-workers said to me ‘that’s nothing, have you heard him retching?’ I was agog. A few days later I heard it, and now that I knew what it was I couldn’t block it out. They all sit in cubicles, the medication causes nausea but so fast he generally couldn’t make it to the bathroom. So he kept a plastic bag handy at his desk. I kid you not. Then minutes later, we hear the clicking walking stick and he comes through with his little heavy baggy, only now I know what was in there.
    Seriously, HR couldn’t give him an office for the short term? Maybe they offered, but he clearly enjoyed the attention of doing it all out in the open. I left soon after, for other things but it was certainly a factor in how I viewed that company afterwards.

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