You just realized you are not alone. Your uncontrollable feeling of dread as you enter the office knowing you will have to speak to a certain coworker at least once today is not abnormal. Sure, every office has its typical cast of characters: the old folks close to retirement, the middle-agers who actually enjoy their jobs, the new parents, the assistant supervisor doing all the work, the brown noser, the know-it-all, and the recently hired young-gun who’s happy to have some decent-sounding position to list on Facebook. The biggest unknown to recent grads is the kind of people you will have to put up with. Office relationships = the ultimate #postgradproblem.
The character missing from this shit-stain of a sitcom is the absolute worst. Yes, I am saying it now: worse than the supervisor constantly reminding you about the work-from-home policies. Worse than the know-it-all, and worse than the Unofficial Wikipedia Checker (entirely different beast). Even worse than the office slob whose mere presence leads to you subconsciously apply hand sanitizer.
I am talking about the dreaded and feared, Overly Competitive Coworker.
As someone who recently graduated and entered the working world, my experiences are new and striking. My primary job duty is editing, and many take their writing so seriously they refuse to acknowledge their mistakes. This can lead to some awkward exchanges, and I have had to experience my fair share of veteran employees refusing to appear incorrect. One certain employee has gone ahead and smashed all expectations of professionalism with her defensiveness and relentless competitive edge. I am telling you right now to stop wondering why this person is such an animal. There is nothing you can do but deal with this creature that must be dealt with.
The OCCW is not a new discovery, just a species not frequently discussed as one of the aforementioned types usually takes the spotlight when discussing our office woes. This person takes competition to entirely new level. Every conversation becomes a fact-finding mission usually over a pointless subject that can lead to shouting over inaccuracies, and an awkward ending as he or she pulls out an iPhone to settle the discussion.
This sounds like a know-it-all, or the Unofficial Wikipedia Checker, right? This is because this person incorporates those traits into their assaults. In addition, the OCCW does not take criticism well, and when wrong, he/she will either fight tooth-and-nail in order to shift the blame on their training or another coworker, or wait as long as possible to correct you in an attempt to get you back.
My personal office OCCW has been known to stew for weeks and be waiting outside the cubicle of an unprepared coworker, ready to pounce over that one time your work was less than perfect. Yeah, she’s batshit crazy.The OCCW has no limits and will stop at nothing to exercise their right to feel right.
An OCCW will have the brownest nose of all the brown nosers, as none can match the energy required to stop him/her. A truly skilled OCCW will usually be younger, but not necessarily the youngest in the office. Its most dangerous skill is the ability to blend many negative characteristics usually seen in different office species. This can range from complaining enough about privileges usually reserved for senior employees that the boss gives in, to getting into an argument over grammar, to engaging in a shouting match over Apple versus Android, all while having a Windows phone.
The real crux of problem with a OCCW is this: when it boils down to it, normal employees are there to work, and the OCCW is not. He/she is there to create drama while simultaneously making money. They will try their hardest to correct you, seem smarter than you, point at others when criticized, and, worst of all, focus so much energy on being a nuisance that their own lazy tendencies are overlooked. Alas, beware of the OCCW as they are skilled, manipulative, and overzealous try-hards at the worst things.
You are now thinking two of these three things:
I know exactly what this guy is talking about, and I hate my OCCW
Which office member is the OCCW? (Be afraid, as all signs are now pointing to you)
What can I do about this?!
I will now provide a list of how to overcome this hurdle that is definitely NOT insurmountable. Remember: you are NOT alone, and you WILL get through this.
1.Do Not Engage: The OCCW literally feeds off of any altercation. Even if he or she is wrong or discussing something they have never heard of, they will not stop. The goal is the pursuit; the chase; the thrill of seeing someone feel uncomfortable and question their facts or opinion. The way to win the situation is to not partake in any sort of conversation with this person. Sound harsh? It’s not. Limit your responses to one syllable and listen to the silence that will follow as the OCCW attempts to find something to talk about.
2.Be the Bigger Person: When walking into the office, do not be upset or be preparing for the next inevitable spar with the OCCW. Instead, realize that this person is insecure and needs to be reminded that he or she is smart and important. This does not make this person’s aggression okay, nor does this make their issues your problem. Just be mindful that this person could be going through an emotional situation or need some sort of mental assistance. You will soon be able to pick up on the OCCW’s mood, habits, and favorite subjects. Know when to avoid interaction and know that staying quiet doesn’t make you less of a person, it makes you the smarter person.
3.Patience is a Virtue: The chances are high that this person is a straight up asshole who has never actually been disciplined. The OCCW knows that he/she is protected at the office as most professionals are mature and appreciate their jobs. Whether your job is permanent, temporary, or just for paying the bills, you should not hate your work experience. Learning to be patient will help you the most in the long run. An OCCW will tire out and most importantly, the OCCW will be exposed to the boss. All you have to do is wait it out and the OCCW will be forced to settle down.
Keep all this in mind the next time your OCCW strikes. Once you realize how sad his or her life is, you will be that much happier. Until then, good luck..
Image via YouTube