The LLoyd blog: hidden talent.

How to Annoy Your Coworkers and Lose the Assignment

Everyone seems to work with someone who grates on their nerves – at least once in awhile, if not daily. We all have our quirks and idiosyncrasies, but many of the things that irritate are easy to correct by simply being a more thoughtful coworker. It is much easier to earn the respect and support of others when you keep close check on bad habits that you may even realize you are doing. This is especially true of individuals who are working on a temporary assignment. As a kind of “visitor” to someone’s home workplace, it is especially important that you are not the elephant in the room. Here are 10 ways to ensure you’ll annoy those around you and will probably find your assignment has ended earlier than planned.

1. Live your personal life out loud.
Temps get points for using their cell phones for personal phone calls instead of the business phone, but doing so at your desk and doing it loudly is not a good option. A quick personal phone call is generally acceptable, but planning your brother’s 30th birthday party or using the internet for personal surfing is not, particularly when your monitor is in full view of others. Use breaks and lunch for non-work related tasks.

2. Disregard the dress code.
Everyone wishes they had your confidence to ignore policy and wear jeans, too tight sweaters or furry aviator hats in the office, but play by the rules. This means you might have to squelch your fashion sense in the name of a paycheck.

3. Send out an email with a joke you think is funny or content intended to touch an emotional artery.
Save these messages for your personal network and facebook or twitter or whatever. Delete anything like this before you lose control and hit the send button.

4. Eat someone else’s snack or lunch.
Oops you thought that can of soda or muffin was up for grabs? What made you think that? Raiding the office fridge or sneaking a taste is basically stealing food. If you are hungry, ask someone if they have food to share. Better yet, you’ll win friends quickly and may even prolong an assignment if you arrive with a box of munchkins to share with the team. Another variation – don’t leave a trail of crumbs at your workspace or leave the community kitchen in a mess.

5. Keep your headset decibel so loud, people can hear it without the earpiece.
If you are fortunate enough that your client manager lets you listen to music during your workday, keep the volume low. Not everyone shares your musical tastes.

6. Leave a voice mail that goes on and on and on.
Forget the Gettysburg Address, just get to the point. Plan your message and hit the key points. If you talk so long you have to call back to continue, you have broken the TMI rule. Too much info.

7. Play smartphone samba.
Just silence the damn phone. Having it vibrate so loud it jumps off the desk is as annoying as a weird ringtone. Check your messages on break and stay focused and in the moment when meeting with coworkers one-on-one or in a group.

8. Be a human helicopter.
Hover over a coworker or hang over their cubicle while he or she is on the phone. Better yet, read their screen, too. Stop it!!! You know you are just being nosey. Don’t invade space or privacy.

9. Generously spread germs through excessive coughing and sneezing.
We appreciate your dedication. Honest we do. Attendance and punctuality are valued commodities; however, if you are truly sick, call and email your LLoyd contact so that we can find someone to fill in for you.

10. Complain too loudly, too much or too often.
You hate your life? You hate this assignment? Your coworker or client manager is not your shrink. Keep the whining in check. Let us know if something isn’t working for you, but don’t share it with the client company.

We know it can be hard to be the temporary associate on the job. You are always required to step in on someone else’s turf. That’s hard, but pat yourself on the back because what you are doing is learning to deal with controlled stress. You have come in perform like a champion and adapt to new people with each assignment.

One of our seasoned pros had this to say about temping, “I don’t believe there are too many jobs out there with the exception of cardiac surgery and nuclear physics that can’t be mastered within two weeks. People who think they are irreplaceable should know better. Even the President of the U.S. is basically a temp job. I arrive, am pleasant, do the best I can, ask intelligent questions and am as flexible as possible. “

We think that’ some good advice. Remember, if it’s a great gig and you shine, you might have the opportunity for full time hire…and if it’s not as ideal as you hoped, it won’t last forever. Use the experience to refine your skills, learn new ones and build your professional network.

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