Hello there. Having a nice relaxed weekend? Good.
Now I’d like you to do me a small favour. Yes, yes. I perfectly understand that you’d rather spend the weekend watching that bastard child of cricket, belly-dancing and tax evasion on your TV. But give me a few moments.
Also Read | Sidin Vadukut’s previous columns
Who is the most annoying co-worker you have? Who is that member of your cubicle ecosystem that makes you want to commit what the Americans call first-degree homicide? And if all attempts to electrocute him fail, who is that fiend who makes you contemplate killing yourself with toner fluid?
Why do you hate this person so much? Is it the way he speaks? The way she comes into meetings unprepared and then takes credit for everything? Is it because he brings Alleppey Fish Curry for lunch, spends 45 minutes eating it with appams, refuses to share it with anyone, and then leaves the lunch box open in front of the window, with the sun beaming in, so that for the next four months the immediate vicinity smells of Alleppey Socks Curry. (You know who you are.)
Perhaps. But chances are, according to a new survey by LinkedIn, that what irritates you the most is his or her unbearable mobile phone ringtone. LinkedIn, regular readers will know, is this column’s favourite social networking service. Unlike things like the evil Facebook or that unbearable Twitter monstrosity, LinkedIn has a greater purpose. This network is specifically designed for professional networking. Here you can upload that only picture of you in a suit, taken at the wedding reception but not at the wedding itself where you wore an electric blue sherwani with shimmering sequined red trousers. After this you must upload your academic credentials and work experience. This is where I find LinkedIn most useful.
Like most people I used to find it somewhat difficult to tell blatant lies in interviews. But after making a completely fictitious profile on LinkedIn, and nurturing it for years, I have begun to believe in everything myself. As far as this newspaper is concerned I have a degree in International Relations from the US, can speak seven languages frequently, possess a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Office Culture, I am a go-getter, and my name is Svetlana Baryshnikov. (I always make it a point to insist on telephonic interviews.)
On Thursday, LinkedIn released yet another one of their thought-provoking studies of the workplace. This time they asked people what their top ‘office pet peeves’ were. In other words, they asked 17,000 cubiclists, all over the world, what minor behavioural quirks in their co-workers they found most infuriating.
The results are interesting. LinkedIn gave people a list of 38 potential ‘pet peeves’ and asked which ones annoyed them and how much. I don’t have details of what those 38 annoyances were, but I am assuming they included things I find terribly irksome such as ‘not reminding columnist about column well in advance’, ‘then reminding columnist about column every 15 minutes’, ‘making a BIG deal if certain passages of the column have appeared before in other columns’ and ‘body odour’.
It turns out that India is the most ‘peeved’ country in the world today. Indian responders said that a full 19 out of the list of 38 ‘irritations’ annoyed them terribly. Italians, on the other hand, are the least peeved, with 15.
Frankly, I am quite astonished. Given my experience with Indian workplaces, I am surprised that the Indian responders did not mark all 38 and then, using optional extra paper, add another 50 or so. That is because over the last many years I have found people who hate their co-workers for all kinds of large and small reasons.
I don’t mean ‘hate’ as in invite him or her last for the birthday get-together in the conference room, by which time all the Cornettos are over and the pet-peevee has to suck on a bloody Mango Duet.
No. I mean hate as in “I’m so sorry, did I drop the ERP server on you?” hate.
For instance, I know a lot of people who can’t stand any management trainees. In fact, most management trainees can’t stand each other. The guys who scrutinize expense bills, also, are widely reviled. Other popular peevees are those who overdress to work, people who got promoted beyond their worth just because they are US-return, anyone who has a perk you don’t, executive assistants, company secretaries, and, worst of all, regular gym goers who like to boast about their “50 high-impact incline dumbell fly bicep curl with inverted vulgar fraction”.
Also anyone who runs marathons. Shudder.
So there are way more reasons to be homicidal than just 19. Or 38.
Still, India came first. According to the survey, the peeve Indians find most annoying is ‘loud or irritating mobile phone ringtones’.
The survey has such results for several countries. But I urge all fellow Indian cubiclists to exercise restraint when it comes to their ringtones. It might look as if your co-workers are being nice to you always. But in reality they’ve been dosing your tiffin box with Arsenic for months.
Cubiclenama takes a weekly look at the pleasures and perils of corporate life.Your comments are welcome at email@example.com