In part 2 of the annoying coworkers series, we're going to tackle oversharers and eager beavers.
- Offers unsolicited personal information
- Inappropriate conversation or behavior (often sexual or flirtatious)
- Sometimes also a downer
- Spends a lot of time talking rather than working
How to deal with an oversharer: Oversharers aren't good at social cues (see above) so a simple look or facial expression may not get through to them. I usually stick with a simple, "Whoa, TMI!" (in a somewhat jokey manner) but another thing you could try is noting times where you don't feel the conversation would be appropriate for you to continue: "...but I shouldn't say any more...it's a bit inappropriate for the workplace." Passive aggressive, maybe, but it shows you see boundaries without directly attacking them.
What if you're the oversharer? If you hesitate on sharing something, just don't. Let the other person lead the conversation, and keep your discussion within their preferred scope. If a joke isn't appropriate to tell your spouse's grandmother, then it's probably not appropriate for work (a sliding scale, I know, but you get where I'm headed).
The Eager Beaver
- Overly enthusiastic
- Moves and speaks quickly (sometimes too quickly) and loudly
- May take on too much
- Often speaks and acts before they think
- Finishes work before the deadline
Why someone might be an eager beaver: Eager beaver behavior often comes with inexperience. These people mean well and desperately want to do a good job and be liked. They're just trying to make a good impression, and don't realize that they may be stepping on toes or shattering eardrums in the process.
How to deal with an eager beaver: Offer some (but not too much) praise and recognition. Give them research-based projects to use their abundance of energy. Encourage deeper thinking and let them in on your thought process or strategy session so they see what goes into certain actions or decisions.
What if you're the eager beaver? Cut back on the caffeine and sugar (don't cut it out, it's good for you). If you find yourself finishing up your work way ahead of the deadline, lay it aside for a few hours and come back to it later to consider how you could hone it more or add more to the finished product. Read up on industry practices or strategy to inform your decisions...you may be surprised at what you may learn.
Of all the personality types (including the upcoming ones), eager beaver hits closest to home. I'm pretty high-energy even without coffee, and I'm sure I've annoyed others with my enthusiastic and optimistic take on life. I've mellowed out a lot as I've racked up some experience behind me, so I can speak firsthand to how I've become less crazed rodent and more savvy Sally (but still optimistic).
Missed last week's installment? Check out the downer and the bulldozer.
Do you have an oversharer or eager beaver at work? Or are you one? Any tips to add?