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December 6, 2017

How to Deal With a Coworker From Hell and a Bad Bartender

Hey, Bonita…

Hi,

I just started a new job, which I would describe as my dream job. I'm writing because I have a shared office and I absolutely CANNOT STAND one of my officemates (there are four of us in this office). This person has been there much longer than me—about 25 years longer—and is extremely messy. They have filled up the space with extremely old work materials that are never used, even bringing in additional furniture that there was no space for, really, and covering up almost all unused surfaces with things like fans, teapots and craft materials. Our office has several large windows, and they have covered the window closest to their desk with craft paper, making the room dark on one side.

This person speaks constantly, almost like a person having a manic episode, and I am finding it extremely hard to focus and get work done. My coworkers talk about this person as soon as they leave the room, commenting on how junky the space is now and how this office “used to be the quiet office.” I am getting to the point where I loathe seeing this person walk in the door, and I have started to just ignore their constant chatter. They also tend to provide constant TMI about their personal and sex life, which is simply inappropriate.

I do not want to change offices, as I am new and worry that it would look bad. Also, the only other office that I could move to is awful and has no windows, plus it is extremely messy and noisy.

Ugh, help!

Heya,

Sorry, but you're either gonna have to change offices or confront your horrible officemate. Unfortunately, she's got piles of seniority on you—it's dumb, but it matters to certain generations of Americans—and will most likely not be receptive to your concerns at all. Find out how other people in your office have dealt with her in the past, but don't be too hopeful. I think you're probably gonna end up switching offices, but you described your other office option as just as bad, so settle into the harsh realities of office work and sharing space. This won't stop. There will be other nightmare coworkers that you won't be able to avoid. Talk to her, move, or just deal with it. Wear your headphones if it's allowed.


Hi Bonita,

A popular local restaurant's weekend bartender makes sitting at the bar (formerly a favorite date-night activity) no fun at all. He barely utters a word, and gives off a vibe that's standoffish, bored and seemingly disinterested in patrons. I've given this guy the benefit of the doubt multiple times (everyone has a bad night once in a while), but he's consistently curt instead of courteous. I want to sit at the bar and feel welcome, but unless he ups his service game significantly, I won't be back.

How do I tell the restaurant this without sounding like a jerk? Is that even possible? Am I being unreasonable? I don't want the guy to lose his job; I just wish he'd do his job well.

Over It

I doubt this bartender's boss would take this kind of complaint so seriously that they'd suspend or fire the employee. You're basically saying that this guy doesn't make conversation, just makes your drinks and goes about his business. He's doing the bare minimum, sure, but he's not being rude or confrontational in any way—is he? That's not my favorite, either, and I'm sure this guy's lazy service is reflected in how well other patrons tip him. Also, it sounds to me like this is a newer employee at one of your old haunts. Don't give up one of your favorite spots because of this guy.

I say leave the bar manager a message on Facebook, and avoid the place whenever he's working. Friendliness isn't an ingredient in a good drink, but it definitely is in good service, and that's where this guy is lacking. He's operating below the standard of service that I think we're all used to seeing in this town, so let his boss know, and take your business elsewhere whenever he's on the clock. There are plenty of great restaurants around here with friendly and talkative staff, and if this bartender is trying to make a career of this job, then believe me, he'll fix his attitude and warm up to his patrons.

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