Bob Goldman

Let me say this at the onset -- I like you. I really like you.

Unfortunately, your co-workers may feel differently.

I know it's difficult to imagine that anyone would not instantly gravitate to your winning personality, your amazing good looks, your willingness to offer advice to everyone in the company -- whether they want it or not -- and of course, your knack for borrowing money from everyone in the company -- whether they can afford it or not. Clearly, anyone who doesn't want you as his or her BFF has to be bitter or jealous or nuts.

Given your overall wonderfulness, the fact that anyone could dislike you is definitely a mystery. Fortunately, the solution to this mystery may just have been published in The Wall Street Journal. I refer to an article by Ruth Mantell, titled "Why Co-Workers Don't Like You."

According to the eminently likeable Mantell, "your co-workers are judging you. Beneath a veneer of professional collegiality, they're taking note of the mess on your desk, how loudly you chew, even your word choices."

This may be perfectly true -- especially, if your co-workers are the judgmental idiots that you judge them to be. (You would think your co-workers would observe you so they can learn how you minimize the time you spend working and maximize the time you spend playing Angry Birds.)

So, what sets off the riffraff?

Bad behavior No. 1 for Mantell is "Sucking up to the boss." She backs up this judgment with a quote from Meredith Haberfeld, an executive and career coach. According to Haberfeld, "the boss's pet who ingratiates himself at the expense of his co-workers incites negative judgments." While this may seem true in the myopic little minds of your co-workers, it completely misses the point. Who's to say that you're sucking up simply because you use your lunch hour to detail the boss's Jaguar or bring shoe polish to meetings so you can apply a nice shine to the boss's Ferragamos? You're just being helpful.

Taking too much credit for the work of your team can also result in resentment. To solve this problem, don't decrease the amount of credit you take. Cut back on the amount of work you do. If you do 25 percent of the work and take 100 percent of the credit, your co-workers will be miffed. If you take 100 percent of the credit and do 0 percent of the work, your co-workers will be impressed. And if they tell management -- they'll be impressed, too. Taking credit for all the work you didn't do is what being the boss is all about.


Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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