11 Things That Annoy the Boss

Rachel Farrell, CareerBuilder.com writer

Annoy the BossWhether you think so or not, you're annoying. Maybe not all the time -- maybe not even some of the time -- but at least once in your life, you've annoyed someone.

Probably your boss.

We asked bosses to tell us what their employees do to irritate them on a daily basis. Straight from the source, here are 11 things you do to annoy your boss:

1. "By far the biggest annoyance is when their actions don't even faintly reflect a minimum level of enthusiasm for a given project and despite being told how excited someone is to be working on something, you wind up with items that either have obvious errors, common sense mistakes or show a minimum of effort.

Bottom line: You can tell when someone has phoned something in, and it's aggravating having to micromanage and go back to fix obvious hiccups that could easily have been prevented. Which always fascinates me: How do people not think you'll notice?" -- Scott Steinberg, CEO, Lead Analyst, TechSavvy Global

2. "Asking the boss to make your life easier.

True story: 'I would like to work from home three days a week. How can you make this happen for me?' This one really ticked off the boss.

Try instead: 'What would I have to do to make telecommuting three days a week possible?' Now you sound like a contributor!" -- Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach.

3. "Consistently going off on personal tangents in meetings. Get organized and get to the point. Time can make or spend money. Which do you think the boss prefers?" -- Nasser

4. "Many of my contract teachers annoy me -- why? They ask things that make me question whether or not they are actually 'all there.' Because of the nature of this job, everything is communicated online. I send VERY detailed e-mails with all the information plus some -- and yet still get silly questions. 'What are the hours again?' 'What days do I work?' Another annoying thing is when I hire a teacher -- and they accept all of the terms and then play the 'I want more money' card because they feel they deserve it.

It also annoys me when I do interviews. I set up a time to interview people and they don't answer their phones. Or they don't include their number in their confirmation e-mail. Make my life a little easier -- please and thank you." -- Jillian Zavitz, programs manager, TalktoCanada.com

"When I was an HR Director and now, when I'm a career coach, what annoys me a lot was/is:

5. Questions asked before information was presented (because the answer was usually in the presentation.)

6. Employees who 'miss' the spirit of the issue and make literal (unimportant) statements or who respond with the 'rules' because they miss the point.

7. Employees who make no effort to get along with others in the department and look for faults.

8. Employees who forget that no matter what their job is, they work in a business that needs to make money."

-- Bettina Seidman, Career Coach, SEIDBET Associates

9. "An employee who consistently, day after day, arrives a few minutes late and/or leaves a few minutes early. [Also], when an employee's personal cell phone rings. I don't mind if it buzzes or vibrates, but I ask that all ringers be turned off." -- Alexander Seinfeld, Executive Director, Jewish Spiritual Literacy, Inc.

10. "Where do I start? I own a boutique public relations agency, and the most irritating thing my employees do is they do not check their work. I've told them innumerable times how to compose successful e-mails to clients and press, and each time they write an e-mail it's like the first time all over again. Spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, missing info -- even though they've seen me craft identical e-mails dozens of times, could simply use spell check, and do a quick re-read to find and fix their errors. It's beyond irritating, especially because it's so preventable. It's gotten to the point that I have to write every e-mail for them before they can send it -- even when it's as simple as 'Hi there, I just wanted to check in to make sure you received the package we sent you last week' -- otherwise it will be filled with errors." -- Samantha Slaven-Bick, Samantha Slaven Publicity

11. "Working in numerous radio stations, I've been supervisor and trainer to many newcomers. The one main thing that positively drove me crazy was that people would come to me with questions before they'd even attempted to find the answers on their own. It was the largest red flag of laziness. I'm always happy to answer questions, but if you have no ability to answer them yourself or seek out the answers yourself, why did we hire you into your role, again? -- Natalie Nicole Gilbert

Related stories from Forbes.com:

Get the latest job search news and advice on CareerBuilder.com's job seeker blog www.TheWorkBuzz.com and follow us on Twitter @CBforJobSeekers.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

I just stopped hiring the top 3 to fix the problem: Dumb, dumber, and "dumberer" no more staff issues. (period)!
Now stop the bitching and get back to work!!

July 12 2010 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's amazing what a lot of comments on this article reveal about the working population at large. Seems the author was offering up some landmines to avoid, and what does the discussion become? "Let's turn this around as to what we hate about our bosses." Those interested in actually developing their careers (long-term) would simply review the list and reflect on their own tendencies. The rest are just turning this into a boss-bitch-fest, and what does that accomplish?

July 05 2010 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeff's comment

Jeff- good comment. I think the big understatement is that "two heads are better than one." Regardless of whether you have a good/bad boss, sometimes throwing out something (even when the 'answer' is obvious or could be found easily) gets people's minds working. So, if you're working with good people, unbelievable things can evolve from a simple or stupid question. It's terrible when you have overly-political and/or insecure people around you which prevent or hinder this type of cooperation from happening.

July 06 2010 at 6:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a high school teacher and, interestingly, I hear most of these complaints in the copy room every day. I tell my students they are developing lifelong habits that will not serve them well in the work force. Of course, I sound like Charlie Brown's teacher: Wah, wah, wah, wah.... They are the same issues: sloppy work, turned in late; students showing up late, leaving early; students not listening to directions or taking careful notes; students wanting the easy answer or for someone else to do the work for them. My praise is reserved for those who take care of business--which is many of them, by the way. Those are the ones who grow up to lead, not make excuses.

July 05 2010 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would venture to guess that Samantha Slaven-Bick makes mistakes too. While her employees may not be the best writers in the world, that's her fault for inadequately training them. I wonder how happy her employees are working under someone who sees herself as perfect and everyone else as inept. According to Samantha, not a single employee ever composed even a half decent e-mail. Samantha on the other hand is always correct.....please spare me.

July 05 2010 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Hutchinson

This sounds like bosses whining because they can whine. You are dealing with human beings and not a computer program. If you aren't a people person of some sort then get out the chair.

July 05 2010 at 8:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John W

As a manager for over 20 years, I always welcomed questions but also wanted the employee to bring me what they thought was the answer. This served 2 purposes. 1. I was assured that my employees always knew exactly what I wanted, but more importantly, 2. I had the opportunity to judge the skill/effort level of my people. This way I could judge how much effort they were putting into finding the correct answer themselves and helped me judge their ability to move upward in our company

July 04 2010 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree totally! I don't smoke. But those who do are constantly out back for their 10 min about 5/6 time a day while I hold down the front desk and then if I run to the restroom for 2 min once a day the boss tells me I have people to wait on. Last week I flippantly said on pupose with a smile on my face "I think I'll take up smoking so I can get about 60 min of breaks a day". She was furious and asked me if I was trying to be a smart aleck. "trying?" I replied. Ha! I told her I was so aggravated by the obvious favoritism I was about to explode! She didn't speak to me the entire morning but when I told her I was going to go outside for a breath of air for 2 min and I'd be back long before the smokers returned she didn't say a word. That's discrimination. How much do you want to bet I'll have hell to pay for standing up for myself?

July 04 2010 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Or how about the boss who preaches they are always available for ?'s or concerns and then when you ask for either you are told "that's not my job". Or the one who micro manages everything down to the verbage you use when talking to a customer and then reprimands you for being too cautious? Bosses can be detrimental to a team atmosphere. I've got one now who purposefully says one thing in front of her superiors to appear on board with mission statements and then the opposite when alone with the workers. Or who preaches team work and then tells the highest paid workers to get off the clock and makes the lower paid staff do the work for the rest? Do they really think that will promote cohesiveness? Bosses expect people to leave their problems at home then want you to lend an ear because their husband was out all night! I've had a few terrific ones but the bad outnumber the good.

July 04 2010 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lesson #1: Check over your work. If the boss has to do this for you, you should be out the door. I was a solo practitioner (lawyer) for 30 years. I believed in paying my employees well and they received great benefits. For this, you'd think they could at least check their work without constant babysitting. If I go to court with pleadings (for example, a trial brief) with spelling errors (even though SpellCheck underlines the word in red!), papers upside down or missing or run through the copier sideways (even though there's a collater on the copier, you still have to check every page), I could go on and on. Sloppy work reflected on me and just DROVE ME UP THE WALL.

July 03 2010 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with the person that said, a good manager knows how to bring out the best in a worker. I had a manger who knew how to motivate me, and it caused both of us to excel in the company.

July 03 2010 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web