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Bosses' top 10 pet peeves

By Kate Lorenz

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We've all heard employees complain about their bosses. But the manager/employee relationship is just that, a relationship. That means there are two sides to the story, and employees are not the only ones who may have a beef about fellow office denizens.

Author John Putzier, who was a recruiter for 10 years, talked to employers and employees at various companies to compile information for his new book, "Weirdos in the Workplace: The New Normal -- Thriving in the Age of the Individual." Here are some choice gripes bosses had about difficult employees:

1. Abuse of sick leave: This is a hot button for many bosses. According to Putzier, recent studies cite that one out of three employees who calls in sick really isn't. That sure makes it hard for the boss to plan when and how the work will get done.

2. Poor hygiene: A bar of soap and tube of toothpaste can go a long way in improving relationships at the office. If you wonder how people know it's you before you've even rounded the corner, you may want to kick your personal hygiene routine up a notch.

3. Out-of-control cubicles: It's great that you have a thing for troll dolls, but when your decorative enhancements spill over and out of your cube, it's time to tone things down a bit.

4. Unorthodox noises: You may think it's cute that your computer quacks every time you click your mouse, but before long, you can bet your boss will need to step in to stop your co-workers from cooking your goose.

5. Obnoxious cell phone behavior: It is never appropriate to receive multiple personal cell phone calls at work. Don't force bosses to eavesdrop on your cell conversations to ensure they're work-related. They've got plenty of other things to do.

6. Extended smoking breaks: When smoking breaks become too long and frequent, you force your manager to keep tabs on your whereabouts constantly. It's a workplace, not a day care.

7. Lousy table manners: Nothing irks your boss more than displaying poor table manners during a luncheon meeting with a client. It's embarrassing, and it reflects poorly on the quality of people at your company.

8. Selling your wares at the office: It starts out innocently enough. ... Alice brings little Suzie's Girl Scout cookie order form to work. Then Bill counters with an Amway catalog. Next it's Maria with her Bike-a-thon sponsorship request. Before you know it, the office is transformed into an exotic open air market with everyone raucously hawking their wares.

9. Red vs. blue states: It's great that you're an involved citizen who campaigned for your candidate. But leave the political bumper stickers and buttons at home when you go to work. Your boss doesn't want to be the mediator of the political debates you start in the office.

10. The office sourpuss: Nothing gets under a boss' skin like the chronic complainer. Your company gives out bonuses -- the sourpuss complains it's not enough. Your manager is delighted to let his team know he just landed a great new account -- the sourpuss complains about the impending workload. Don't be a drain on the office. Lighten up.

The good news is these unpleasant quirks can be corrected easily. If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, then it's time to make some much needed changes to be the employee every boss dreams of.

Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

© Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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