Tuesday, July 26, 2011

10 Signs You're a High Maintenance Employee

There's been publicity in the past about demands by high-profile celebrities and music stars. They insist on only white in their dressing rooms -- from white M&Ms to white sofas to white flowers. Or, they may request that special water is flown in from a small town in the south of France via Air Force One. (The water is for their dog, of course. Their water must come from a monastery in the Alps and hand carried out by Russian eunuchs.)

You get the drift. These are high maintenance people who aren't really worth the trouble, and eventually they will fall by the wayside of all the other people who weren't worth the trouble.

Maybe even you.

While you may not think you fall into the category of high maintenance celebrity since you're not selling jewelry on HSN or serving as a judge on a talent show featuring only people who can sing while dancing backward, the moniker of "high maintenance" may still apply to you.

Let's see if any of this fits:

1. You're inflexible. You insist on a certain chair in the conference room. If you don't get it, you pout or glare at whoever is sitting in it.

2.You don't like new things. You complain when the brand of coffee you favor isn't used in the office coffee pot.

3. You claim you hate gossips, but have sent emails passing along the latest scuttlebutt concerning a colleague's dating habits after you overheard her on the phone. You use the office Skype system to pass along the tidbits to overseas colleagues.

4. Your personal dramas are always front and center. The dog getting fleas is worth a 10-minute discussion in the breakroom. Your mother criticizing your hairstyle is complained about for days. Your landlord's refusal to replace a leaky faucet is whined about endlessly, each conversation with him replayed for co-workers in great detail.

5. Whenever you travel for business, you always run into problems and have to call the office for help. It's often nothing more than you can't find a shuttle to the hotel or a meeting time has been changed. But you figure everyone 3,000 miles away in the home office should know you're having a really bad day.

6. You can't figure out Twitter. Or LinkedIn. You have no idea how to use the company Intranet, and have to ask others how to make a spreadsheet. Even though the company trained you to have that skill...about five years ago.

7. You're always losing or misplacing something and others have to stop and help you find it.

8. You're always late. Doesn't matter if you called the meeting, you're late. You keep your colleagues waiting at a restaurant for a lunch get-together. You are always stuck in a traffic jam, on a broken-down bus or in a slow-moving line at the post office. If you're involved, it means others will have to cool their heels waiting for you to show up.

9. You're too much. You wear too much perfume or cologne. Your hair color is too fake, and so is your spray tan. You're too loud on the phone, you're too sure your opinions are correct and you're too nosy about things that don't concern you.

10. You dither. You can't make up your mind on anything, even if given time to think about a decision. You flip-flop so much on the issues you look like a carp just hauled out of the water and plopped onshore. Your lack of conviction throws off schedules, delays projects and adds to the stress of co-workers.

If you recognize any or all of these behaviors, I am glad I don't work with you. For your co-workers, I have great sympathy.

And, for you....I'd advise you stop being high maintenance unless you're Jennifer Lopez. Because no one -- not a boss or a colleague -- will put up with it for long. And "high maintenance" is rarely a skill sought by other employers.



Shadeed Eleazer said...

The fact of the workforce is that everyone has encountered the high maintenance employee. It's great that you covered the subject in such detail. I shared this post with my network. Thanks for sharing - Shadeed

Anita said...

Thanks for spreading the post to your network. Appreciate it!

Michael Brown said...

I love this line it is so true and clear.

"..high maintenance people who aren't really worth the trouble, and eventually they will fall by the wayside of all the other people who weren't worth the trouble."

We all know a couple and they are typically never worth the trouble to employ.


Anita said...

Probably wouldn't surprise you that I was envisioning several people I know when I wrote this post...and none of them were Jennifer Lopez. :)

Apex RS - IT Jobs said...

We laughed at this in the office, cause I think we all know someone like this. We never really saw the comparison before of high-maintenance, but rather just people you don’t want to know in the office. In the IT Jobs vertical, you could also add the technological platform enthusiast – the person who is so married to their platform of choice they refuse to listen to anything or anyone else about something new and they exist on both sides of the open-source fence.

Anita said...


Thanks for the addition to the list!

Newton2k1 said...

Hmm, Shadeed, Anita and Michael I don´t envy you. To be honest: Somehow WE don´t have those high maintenance employees here and I then only one out of the mentioned ten characteristics appears very randomly here. Here is/was the last 20 years of my working life in about six different companies.

Somehow I feel like the luckiest men in the world...

Marco from CH

Anita said...

You're indeed lucky and thanks for rubbing it in to the rest of us. :)