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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 14:53 GMT
What makes you angry at work?
New research shows lying, cheating, stealing and "incredibly loud" staff are causing a hotbed of anger in the workplace.

Occupational psychologist Jill Booth interviewed workers in the NHS, education, and shops and found a shocking scale of anger among staff.

Anger at colleagues and incompetent managers is affecting productivity, causing people to threaten to resign or take time off for stress and is spilling over into workers' private lives.

In a separate report, researchers also found that "threatening" e-mails sent by bosses to their workers is having a direct health effect on staff, causing their blood pressure to rocket.

Do you feel aggressive at work - towards colleagues or managers? What irritates and upsets you in the workplace? Have you received aggressive e-mails? How have you dealt with your experiences?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your e-mails. Read selection of your comments:

If you're not happy, change it
Ben, Yeovil, Somerset
People who put a higher importance on their salary than they do on their happiness, then spend their working day complaining about being unhappy. Get your priorities right, duh! If you're not happy, change it. You're in control of your own life!
Ben, Yeovil, Somerset

At my City bank, it's men who stay at their desks until 8pm because they're too scared to leave before the boss, call their wives and say they're working late, then just sit there looking at pornography, surfing the net for other jobs, chatting and drinking coffee. Then as soon as the boss leaves, off they run. And they call me a part timer for leaving at 6pm, getting all my work done, and having a life outside work!
KL, The City, UK

Listening to my Scottish work colleagues making up ever more ridiculous conspiracy theories on why Scotland is so crap at football and why David Beckham is so much more famous than Steve Crawford.
Simon, Edinburgh

Tea/coffee discrimination! I work in an office where everyone has sugar and UHT (eugh!) milk in their beverages. Now, I like fresh, real milk and a particular colleague insists on forgetting about my sugar-freeness and milk freshness. This is infuriating and I am considering escalating this to HR as I am feeling singled out over my beverage disposition!!
Max Richards, England

Being in the civil service and watching the full time staff go to another Union meeting and then spending the rest of the day moaning about it while us temps stayed behind and did all that days work uncomplaining as per usual.
Rachael T., Bristol

Having my Southern English accent badly impersonated by every wannabe comedienne in the office.
John Harland, Aberdeen

Not getting the rise I was promised, also knowing I'm on a lower salary than the rest of the male team regardless of the fact that I have an engineering degree and four years experience which is more than the rest of the team put together! Been taken for a ride and it's very difficult to find new work in the South. Will have to relocate from my home town.
Anon, Female Software Engineer, Bournemouth, Dorset

Pretending that I really love working here and I am not just doing it for the money because that would be sad. Why else would I be an accountant.
Adrian Dollar, London

Customers who call up and shout at me for problems with their service, it isn't my fault!
Joanne, England
1. Customers who call up and shout at me for problems with their service, it isn't my fault! 2. People I know socially giving me hate because of where I work, I'm only here because they pay me! 3. Sarcastic comments from my male colleagues (I am the only female on an all male team, also the newest and youngest member of staff on my team) about whether I am going to get their work to them on time - I do have other thing that need doing to!
Joanne, England

People who take advantage, regardless if managers or staff.
Raluca, UK/currently in US

Being under constant pressure to force extra products/services onto our customers that they don't want and are not calling up to ask for...
David, Maesteg, Mid Glamorgan

Workers who moan about management not because the management is incompetent but because they are simply management. Workers who moan about CEOs being paid millions when the workers haven't a clue what sacrifices the CEO has made to get there, and the weight of responsibility that rests upon their shoulders. Workers who moan about people getting pay rises and seem to believe that everyone's equal, when they're so clearly not. Jealous, petty little workers.
Helen Wheeler, Bristol, UK

I happen to be blessed with considerate, professional and genuinely friendly co-workers. Sadly, upper management is about to make a third of them redundant (probably including me). Oh well...

Speaking as the Managing Director of an IT company, the only thing that really winds me up is customers who pay their bills late. Dealing with the (sometimes) petty squabbles of my employees, battling against dodgy suppliers and paying Corporation Tax are sometimes irksome, but life's too short to get angry. P.S. - advice to those who hate their managers: Go get another job with a better employer, or become a manager yourself and effect change that way.
John, England

So what is the problem with the current workplace? Quite simply managers cannot manage. We need to get back to ethics and responsibility instead of the blame culture. Remember the same thing happened during the WW1 when the men were sent over the top without disregard to life. When officers (managers) had to go with the men the death rate fell. In other words when a manager is expected to take responsibility for his/her actions then the working environment is more stable
Andrew White, Edinburgh

I could do my managers job with my eyes closed and one hand behind my back!
Bored, Manchester, UK
BOREDOM! I know I'm a recent graduate and this is my first job but I'm serious, I could do my managers job with my eyes closed and one hand behind my back! Get on the phone lots, attend mane 'business' lunches, smile falsely, take lots of personal time off during the day for 'appointments' and push all the work onto other people (unfortunately NOT me)... work is soooo boring. I hate being patronised; I am capable of so much more. *Sigh* boredom and lack of passion for the job.. I need job satisfaction (or am I just being a naive graduate?)
Bored, Manchester, UK

Being sworn and shouted at. This happens daily... oh the joys of working in IT. I wish I could just moan about tea bags and bad breath, I REALLY do.
Mel, London

Bosses that bring their home to work - I have had bosses having children/grandchildren (whoever they are with most of the time away from work) of different ages and the way they talk (the worst, the way they expect me to react to their comments) has disgusting similarities to the way they deal with their children. The teenagers' daddy had been the worst of all.
Gita, India

People who constantly whinge about their job and the company yet never bother to go out and find anything better!

Smokers five minute fag breaks every hour of the working day, which last longer than five minutes and are paid for this while us non smokers keep working. But they can go without a fag for 4-5 hours on a flight when they go on holiday. There's taking the mick and then there's taking the mick.
Mitch, Darwen, UK

Lack of planning,
lack of communication,
fudging of issues,
internal politics,
office parties - dreadful!
Dave, UK

Being employed for over five years (along with a third of the workforce) on a "temporary" contract - which amounts to half the pay of my co-workers.
Alison Shiel, Washington, UK

The only time I enjoy myself when working is when the manager is off. Need I say more?
Tim Smith, Buckley

Inconsiderate people in the tea room
Mary J, London, UK
Inconsiderate people in the tea room - ours stinks of garlicky food, is full of dirty crockery most of the time and the other day I saw a female colleague clipping her toenails on the coffee table. Charming!
Mary J, London, UK

Being made redundant... Oh, well, suppose I can treat it like one nice holiday (sob, sob!)
Tabbie, Oxfordshire

Co-workers with bad breath. This has to be the single most disgusting thing one has to deal with in the work place. Everyone, please have a mint!
Jane Featherton, London, UK

Managers! How is their often inflated salary/existence in the workplace justified? I would love someone to explain that to me please... also graduates who think they are entitled to the best jobs! Does life experience and hands on experience in a job count for nothing other than having that all important 'piece of paper?'
Mari, Dorset

Having more managers than actual people at the shop floor - and we get blamed for not being profit making. Talk about jobs for the boys.
Nick S, Crawley, UK

Being forced into an office with people I wouldn't cross the road to urinate on if they were on fire. What do you expect, the workplace is completely unnatural and people have to spend the majority of their lives there. No wonder most people detest work with a passion. And anyone who's not a blatant capitalistic moron gets called lazy or moaned about.
Jon, UK

Working after office timing Nine to five.
Dharm, Karachi, Pakistan

The almost universal absence of leadership - wonderfully exemplified by the TV series "The Office". The workplace today is awash with managers who don't seem to be able to actually DO anything let alone provide leadership by example. I fear our educational system and "me first" society has produced a generation or two of individuals who are lacking in ability and rarely if ever have the personal courage to provide the leadership that so many are looking for. And what does this personal courage amount to? It amounts to risking your job to do the right thing for the company, the organization, your peers and those who depend on you, who include your boss.
Phil Allsopp, Dallas, Texas, USA

People who eat my lunch out of the fridge.
Dain, USA

What annoys me the most are negative colleagues, so thankfully, I don't have to work with anyone who's made a comment on this page.. People should try and put things in perspective. If you're going to let minor things get to you, you'll be a constant loser. On the positive side, you get money for working remember, which allows you to do your own thing. Although I suspect you lot are pretty miserable in your private lives, too.
Gary, London, UK

Gradism and sexism are still huge problems. I hate being asked to ridiculous task just so my managers egos are boosts. By the time they have explained which document they wanted printing they could have pressed print themselves.
Liz, Leicestershire

Revenge was very, very sweet indeed
I once worked for a boss who had it in for me. He'd rush out for a cigarette break at 09:10 with the rest of the department leaving me to deal with everything, and would do everything he could to intimidate and/or undermine me in front of my colleagues. I'd get blamed for everything that went wrong, while everyone else would get a pat on the head so eventually I quit the firm, but not before I managed to "acquire" some rather controversial emails he'd sent around about me. I waited a few weeks and then sent copies of the incriminating emails to his boss explaining exactly why I left the firm. Revenge was very, very sweet indeed.

Fortunately, I am a recent graduate working at probably entry level but with quite a bit of responsibility. Judging by most of the posts on here, I am best to stay in this position for the rest of my career. I generally like my job, don't have to attend meetings about meetings about meetings, don't have to deal with senior managers, don't have to work overtime to finish projects. I just sit at my desk in my own little world! I think I'll sacrifice ambition for an easy (albeit skint) life!
Rina, Cheltenham

Extra breaks because they smoke, bosses who love scapegoats...not being able to afford to retire and live nicely at the grand old age of 25!
Emma, Bahrain

I find it amusing the females that complain about "Male colleagues". If I complained about female ones, they'd jump down my throat as sexist!!
Moo, London, UK

Struggling to work on two different busses to work, arriving soaking wet and late and having people who drive to work sitting dry at their desks and not believing that your bus was late!!

Novelty ties and socks (Disney or The Simpsons being the worst) - and people who wear "wrong trousers" on "wrong trousers day", just to show what wacky, crazy people they are. It should be a sackable offence....
AL, Bristol, England

I used to work uptown and was very young struggling to pay a mortgage etc.. the thing that used to annoy me was the people I worked with had money and were always in the pub at lunch time. Every day I got asked but had to say no to go with them and they wouldn't have it that I had no money to do these things - it used to make my working day hell.
Mary, UK

I think work place bullies are the problem. People who regard you as inferior scum and treat you like a disease. They are always the main cause of problems in business.
R Smith, Wales

Self-important idiots who send an email every time they step away from their PC's for five minutes - as if anyone cares
ex-pat Briton, US
My company no longer provides offices - we all work from home. I recommend it. Now all I need is to stop the self-important idiots who send an email every time they step away from their PC's for five minutes - as if anyone cares. Oh yes, and the MD who makes over 200 times as much as I do, while running the company into the ground.
ex-pat Briton, US

Financial pinheads who count beans. They have this false belief that their's is the only "important" aspect of the company. This type is invariably utterly and totally oblivious of what actually happens at the grassroots level, with the people who earn the money, who don't sit on their pompous backsides doing nothing the whole day.
Mark Ferguson, UK

Tony, UK

I recently took redundancy from a job I had been in for over two yrs, I spent four weeks previous to leaving off with stress, I felt my managers Were incompetent, and spent most of there time making themselves look good in front of their bosses, any suggestions put forward for business improvements, were quickly shot down, as it would have to be recognised from another individual, that was not associated within the management team.
Jonn Glover, Poole, Dorset

Words alone can't describe to express my anger when I encounter a me-first attitude in my staff! And I still yearn to know why Stupidity is a default setting in most of us!?
Zelalem Wudeneh, Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

Anti-smoking colleague who whines about my two five-minute cigarette breaks a day but spends untold time cleaning her teeth 3-4 times a day and wandering off for countless cups of coffee.
Parents who expect priority when it comes to going home early or booking holiday time. If I wanted to be inconvenienced by kids, I'd have my own.
Bosses who break the cardinal rule: never expect your staff to do anything beyond the call of duty unless you're also willing to do it yourself.
Anon, UK

What makes me angry is the way managers suck the corporate teet, no matter what they have to say with regards to motivation and better days, if 'head office' decide there will be dramatic change or redundancies then you soon see them as just another messenger and have no sway when it comes to downsizing, its just the way corporate companies are taking over, and as employees we have no real rights to our jobs.
Mr Kerry Booth, Nottingham UK

Male IT/Software workers.
Female Software Engineer, Portsmouth, UK.

Smokers who go outside to smoke and whether it be hot or cold will always come in complaining
Spencer Rout, Surrey
What gets me is smokers who go outside to smoke and whether it be hot or cold will always come in complaining, "ooh its too cold out there" or vice versa. They have about 10 five minute fag breaks on top of there lunch, yet if you go out for a quick break they will usually say to you, "What are you up to, you don't smoke!"
Spencer Rout, Surrey

Workers who complain about poor wages then proceed to do hardly any work for the wages they do get.
Anon, UK

I'm a manager and try not to give my staff any bad health. I get mad with long phone calls with "mates" or surfing on the internet...things that can just as well be done at home or the internet cafe! This is on my time with my money!
Catherine, Heidelberg, Germany

People annoy me at work when they don't pull their weight and you have to make up for their slacking, and then people turn round to you when you make a small error and criticise it, ignoring your hard work! CHEEK!
Martin, Arnold, Nottingham, UK

My goodness. What have I been missing all my life? Thankfully I'm self-employed and about to retire, so will never know.
Judy, UK

The fact that I have to keep on doing it instead of living.
Nadine, UK

Some of these people are so lazy! "..the fact I have to come to work at all", what kind of slobs are these people? This kind of thing makes me ashamed to be British. The British worker is fundamentally lazy and wants something for nothing!
Nik, UK

Lack of support from lazy managers who think they are the be all and end all.
Anthony, Wales

Women that walk about the office barefoot. Who wants to see their disgusting feet? I'm also sure they would be the first to complain if they trod an a drawing pin!
Mark Pittman, Scotland

IT geeks represent all that is terrible in knowledged-workers
Barbara, England
IT geeks who wear ties like a piece of string, who don't iron their shirts, who stroll into meetings late, who can't speak unless you drag information of them, and who perceive their technical knowledge with such a deluded air of superiority, that they behave like scared little mice if they're challenged or need to share it. IT geeks represent all that is terrible in knowledged-workers: they think they know it all, but they know nothing and they see only their tiny section of competence as the entire world.
Barbara, England

People that quote "The Office" all the time because they can't think of anything funny to say by themselves. I don't approve of that in the workplace!
James Crosby, Telford, UK

Raj, US

From reading all these comments I have come to appreciate that I am pretty lucky. I am obviously strange, because I like the office I work in. Hold on, maybe I am one the people they are all referring to?
Simon, Berkhamsted, UK

People who go outside for cigarette breaks every 10 minutes. I am going to start smoking so I can get a break, too!
Matt, NYC, USA

Incompetent, inconsiderate and disloyal managers at all levels. I owe them a debt of gratitude though as they drove me to start my own profitable business. Thanks guys!
Msmo, London

As a pharmacist, the laws governing when prescriptions can or cannot be given out, drive me bananas! By law, the pharmacist must be present whenever a prescription is handed out (even if the patient has had it before, or even if it's being handed out to a relative or friend of the patient). This means that the pharmacist must be on duty for the whole day - sometimes 10 hours or more without any break at all, not even 10 minutes for lunch. Ours is a responsible job (health at stake if we make a mistake) which requires concentration; but the powers-that-be who make the rules have no regard for that.
L C, Devon

The lazy cow in my office who does a third as much work as I do and stops work to bitch for ten minutes every time I take five for a well-earned fag!
Andy, Surrey

Being Welsh and having worked for a few companies in England, there is always someone in the office who thinks it's hilarious to put on a fake Welsh "boyo" accent, crack sheep jokes etc. For some reason they don't understand why I don't fall about laughing too. This is pure racism, and for some reason they think they can get away with it when it comes to the Welsh. There would be uproar if I was black or Asian.
G, Wales

My interfering boss.
Maciej Kudanowski, Solihull, UK

Inconsiderate bosses that treat us like slave machines born to work for them. They day they treat us like humans, is the day we'll have some respect for them.
Matthew Wood, St. Asaph, Wales

What makes me angry in work is the fact that many of us are treated appallingly by our managers. Promotion is not given for the skills one possesses but only to favourites. This leads to poor working relationships and a very poor morale.
Angela m Williams Johnson, Anglesey, North Wales

Being self-employed means I have no boss, nobody to annoy me by telling me I'm late, nobody taking credit for stuff I do, nobody blaming me for stuff I didn't do, nobody taking-off for an extended lunch and leaving me holding the fort, and nobody to tell me I can't leave early to see the game. HAHAHAHAHA - ENVY ME!!
Ian, Brit in USA

Dishonesty is the worst thing to deal with in the workplace. Most work environments require trust and teamwork. Dishonesty ruins both.
Tonya, USA

Dreadfully dysfunctional, treacherous, lazy, incompetent, lying, cutthroat co-workers
Matt Labudzki, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
At my last job, I had a horrifically incompetent, clueless, unethical and arrogant manager. He was a typical "see nothing", "hear nothing", "do nothing" type of Manager. He could only be relied on to do absolutely nothing! On top of that, I was working with several dreadfully dysfunctional, treacherous, lazy, incompetent, lying, cutthroat co-workers. This was a group from hell!
Matt Labudzki, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Managers who take credit for successes, and shift blame for failures.
Martin, England, UK

My boss is fantastic, good looking, fun, generous... (I work for myself).
James, UK

Many things aren't quite right where I work, and I feel powerless to do much about it. But I can't get angry or irritated about things out of my control, this is the easy life ;)
Chris Hayes, London

The short and blunt emails you get which plainly reveal that the boss has not read your enquiry. Then you get the one which completely contradicts the previous one. What happened to talking? I work from home and it used to be great, but now the lack of communication really depresses me. Mind you, it is still better than working way over in Essex, underpaid, overworked and reporting to an utterly incompetent director!
Bee, Oxford, UK

Women who climb the ladder by having sex with their managers.
Max, Rotherham, UK

People who are above you making mistakes then lying about it and getting the full support of the management. If you are the sort of person who feels you must speak up when you witness an injustice, the first couple of times the boss will listen to you...from then on in, they see YOU as being the "problem" because if you hadn't mentioned it, then they wouldn't have to be pretending to do something about it!
Ziggy Vincent, Orkney, Scotland

I am a sales director for a small company. It irritates me when my Managing director tells me not to get involved in the business. I am the sales director and he simply tells me not to do my job....I'm thinking of telling him to shove his job where the sun doesn't shine.
Anon, UK

Never ever being told I'm doing a good job, even though I'm a great performer at work. Is this a British thing?
Kayleigh, US, living in the UK

Smokers and parents
Anon, UK
Smokers and parents - they seem to think it's their God-given right to take time off to have a smoke or leave early to pick their kids up, and leave the rest of us to do their work for them!
Anon, UK

Offices with no light switches on the walls and that dreadful fluorescent lighting in silvery housings that bring on migraines in five minutes. We need the calming effect of natural light to cope with all of the above!
Andrew, Manchester

I recently started a new job at an assistant level and could not fault anything until today when I found out a small writing task I had been given has now appeared on our new marketing literature - with the Head of Design taking full credit for the work I did! Even my boss won't stick up for me. Time to hit the job pages again..........
Sal, London, UK

What makes me angry is work colleagues who spend their day posting stuff on internet sites and not doing their work!!!!!
Chris, London, UK

I despise each and every colleague I have save but two. Every day there is something new to rage over and it is a miracle that my blood pressure is as low as it is. Manipulation, lying, stealing, accusations and unjust gossip are just a few of the things that are common at my workplace. I understand those unfortunate few who take up arms and come to their jobs, guns blazing.
K. Wikman, Sweden

Emails that get sent to the entire office that say something like "Has anyone got a paracetamol?" or "Does anyone know the code for the photocopier on the sixth floor?" Muppets! The rest of us have top find out ourselves, you can too. And then they follow it up with another one saying "Thanks I've got it now". NO ONE CARES!!!
Arran, Cheltenham, UK

Unfortunately it is rather like a soap opera with one secretary in our office. Continual huffing and puffing, slamming things around like they are ten times heavier then they really are and to top it off screaming and shouting down the phone arguing with friends and family!
Andy, Essex, UK

If they think listening to people winging all day is easy, let them have a go!!
Rachel, London
I'm a Manager and have worked very hard to get here, but it doesn't matter how much hard work you put in, extra unpaid hours you do when everyone else has gone home or pressure from above you get, being a Manager is a thankless task, most of the time the additional money does not compensate for the stress and aggravation. I'm fed up with non-manager complaining about the managers all the time. If they think listening to people winging all day is easy, let them have a go!!!
Rachel, London

Ignorance and stupidity! I'm an IT professional in the relatively small company, and one of the three with university diploma in IT related science. Often I have to spend hours of precious time to answer "smart" questions and remarks coming from geologists, historians, economists and others with 3 months course in Windows and Visual Basic.
NC, Amsterdam, NL

Callers who assume that when a female answers the phone she is the receptionist, and who, when disabused of this, ask incredulously "Can YOU deal with a technical query?" Sexism is alive and well.
Kate Corwyn, England

It's not work that makes me angry or stressed, but the morning commute. The congested roads, over crowded metro trains (subway) that never run on time, and easily irritable people all leave one to start the day off on the wrong foot. So, despite enjoying my job and co-workers, we all come to work stressed out because of our commute to the District.
Denise, Washington, D.C., USA

Can I just run that up the flagpole?
Stuart, UK
Business speak! Let's touch base, helicopter view, blue sky. Please, let's all just speak English! Can I just run that up the flagpole?
Stuart, UK

I sit in a quiet office with only four staff members, one of them is a continual sniffer, it drives me up the wall, and is stressful. HR are useless as they can't intervene. I also have an arrogant MD who will not even acknowledge you, but sends out "warm", "fuzzy" emails of how we should work as a team, be energetic and supportive.
Ngaire, Berks

The long hours compared with those on the continent would be enough to drive anyone mad. Lets have a 30 hour, 4 day working week and watch everyone brighten up.
Pete, Durham, UK

Air conditioning wars 3: Being forced to wear a suit and tie in an office which is far too hot, while women who wear practically nothing complain about the cold.
Solution: go freelance and work from home - pure bliss! I can wear anything I want, or nothing at all on hot summer days.
John Rogers, Bristol, England

Work isn't fine, although I can get annoyed by those few people who lack any kind of initiative or common sense. What really gets me is the journey to work each day; the traffic has been unbelievable this week, I have to get two buses to get to work and they don't always bother to turn up. By the time I get to work I am stressed, and I need my work just to calm down! (It helps working in a library, although a busy one!)
Sarah, Birmingham

Colleagues who talk very loudly on the phone
Anon, UK
My colleague who talks to others as if she is still talking to her 3 year old son. She also insists on repeating the same thing over and over, just in case you didn't understand the first 10 times she explained it! Also colleagues who talk very loudly on the phone and in a small office, you can't hear the person on the other end of your phone because of them. Also the fact that I have to come to work at all!!
Anon, UK

I get angry when my boss who has achieved the post through influence/nepotism tells me something which I already know better than him.
Riaz, Srinagar/India

Air conditioning wars part 3. Women wear next to nothing in the office, complain it's cold and get the thermostats put up. Men are expected to wear a suit, shirt and tie and accordingly boil.
Gerry, Scotland

As someone who is shortly to be made redundant, what makes me so angry is management's attitude to the Indian staff who will be taking my job. I am told time and time again that the Indians are "enthusiastic and intelligent", so this means I must be really thick. And why can't management also go to India as this would save a lot of money?
M. Wood, Reading, England

The fact that most managers see themselves as demi-gods irritates me so much. I personally hate to be ordered around by somebody who is no better than I am.
Kennis Audible, Nigeria, Onitsha

I've quit to return to university
Mike, Newcastle
What irritates me at work? Nothing! That's because after many years of tax contributions I've quit to return to university. Ha Ha Ha - suckers!!!
Mike, Newcastle

Open plan offices and the lack of natural light and air are the underlying causes! There will always be instances where one person does not like the other and everyone has got different personal space requirements. Open plan offices and the lack of "refuge" in these cases are the root cause of anger. Then some people prefer a different temperature, some colder, some warmer. That's also bound to cause problems in open plan offices.
Alex Keel, London, UK

At the first company I worked for, the managers used to abuse us verbally. This caused so much stress to all of us in the office, and I started getting sick all the time. Stress in the office is a horrible thing, and it eventually affects your whole life - private as well. I am now very lucky to have a good job and to work with people who are mostly easy to get along with.
Tessa, Boksburg, South Africa

Top management that cancels all bonuses for workers then divides the money between themselves. And the boss's favourite who gets promoted and a pay rise even after being caught trying to steal money from the company. (they no longer work there, hurrah)
Ajana, Singapore

Breathing down our necks about their precious targets is a definite turn off
Dave, Nottinghamshire, England
Statistics. Statistics are the scourge of mankind. I work in a communications room whose managers and inspectors set targets they expect us to reach. The fact being no matter what targets are set, it is not the grunts' responsibility to meet them, it is the line manager's responsibility to employ adequate numbers of staff to make the targets attainable. Breathing down our necks about their precious targets is a definite turn off.
Dave, Nottinghamshire, England

I'm sure I speak for all office receptionists when I say the most annoying thing is when everyone presumes that because you sit at the hallowed reception desk that you automatically know everything about everything from how long somebody has been in the toilet to how to unblock a drain.
Receptionists Everywhere, Yorkshire

I work with my husband. Need I say more?
Salli, Shropshire, UK

At the end of the day, if you ain't happy in your job then move on. I've managed some of the most frustrating people I have ever met, but I have still done what I could to make the best of every situation. You only have yourself to blame if you ain't happy with your job.
Alex Cohen, Glasgow, Scotland

The on-going air conditioning wars part 2: I am sitting shivering at my desk - wearing a heavy sweater - my lips are blue, my fingertips white and numb, and all around me are seriously overweight men in a heavy wool suits complaining that it is too hot.
Susan, San Mateo, CA, USA

My blood boils when co-workers invade my personal s-p-a-c-e. Knowing what someone ate for lunch simply by the smell of their breath is just WRONG.
Wendy, Virginia, USA

A guy across from me. He constantly listens to other people's conversations, but never talks to anyone!! And he blows his nose constantly. Also, people who make no effort to welcome new people to the company.

Apart from back stabbing people, lazy people, stupid people, loud people, people who can't use the bathroom properly, nosey people, clients, managers, users, and service providers...i.e. people, I am quite happy with work.
John, Australia

The problem with so many bosses in the UK is that they think that you can get more out of staff by bullying them
Kevin, UK
The problem with so many bosses in the UK is that they think that you can get more out of staff by bullying them. I know of an organisation where the boss actually believes that keeping his staff in a permanent state of stress keeps them on their toes and makes them perform. Not surprising then that he gets 30% effort out of most of his staff and continually moans about them 'coasting'. His reaction is to try and create even more stress. He is getting the effort he deserves but is too dim witted to realise why.
Kevin, UK

Bosses who deny you a pay rise at a staff appraisal because you are just not good enough and then, not two months later, describe your indispensability when you have the guts to leave and start your own company.
Pete, Wales

It's a pyramid hierarchy, in companies. The closer you get to the top, the smaller the brain/bit of pyramid.
James, Bristol, England

Pointless targets - We have to perform a specific task that fills no other purpose than glorified paper shuffling
Alastair, Durham, UK
1. Peoples complete lack of IT knowledge and ring me up when they've accidentally sent their mothers credit card details to 3 printers in different offices and expecting me to know exactly where they've been printed out.
2. The phone - it rings incessantly, they are evil and should all be burnt.
3. Pointless targets - We have to perform a specific task that fills no other purpose than glorified paper shuffling.
Grrr, all of these make my blood boil!
Alastair, Durham, UK

My biggest anger inducer is not my relatively low salary or benefits, but the sheer lack of support from my senior management to achieve the objectives they issues me. I just want to able to do my job effectively and go home at the end if the day with a sense of achievement.
Mark, Manchester, UK

It's the whining complainers in offices that I hate. They'll moan about all sorts of petty problems but always to the wrong people. I usually smile politely and make a quick escape but I often want to say "Why tell me that you hate your boss? I couldn't care less." or "If you think you're worth more money then go and get a job that pays better".
Attitude is the key in business. Some people just don't get it.
Kulu, Basingstoke, UK

After reading all the comments in this column I feel a little bit of perspective may help people deal with their anger and problems. I worked in Zambia at a government hospital and we had an unbelievable patient load, very little resources, worked many hours, and earned very little. Regardless, I have found that if I think of the patients I served who were very poor and had very little, I would always feel blessed and it made my day go a little easier. Sorry if I sound like I'm preaching.
African Doctor, Lusaka, Zambia

What I hate is you work you butt off, it comes to annual salary review time and you get the same management cliché each year, "There is only so much money in the pot and it's fixed, so I have to be fair to everyone (including the slackers I might add), you have done better than most, 3%" which equates to a Mars Bar an hour rate increase. It makes my blood boil. What also annoys me is the BBC never, ever publish my comments when I submit you the "Have Your Say" forum!
Bill, Cheshire, England

Wake up and smell the marker pen!
Anon, Reading
Work colleagues irritate the hell out of me. Top of the list are those in love with the sound of their own voice. Can't these people be rounded up and all put in the same office space so they can shout at one another? Next comes the office nerd in charge of the stationary, just because you have a key does not mean you have any power! Wake up and smell the marker pen!
Anon, Reading

Sardine tin tubes to work in the morning and the same when you go home, open-plan offices where you're practically sitting in each other's laps, senior staff who get off on ordering subordinates around and giving them dirty work that isn't in their job description, corporate team-building exercises that don't relate to the job in any way, un-paid overtime, companies reading your emails, people who never make the tea and the cleaner moving my wastepaper basket to the LEFT side of my desk EVERY evening when I clearly like it on the RIGHT side! Grragghh!
Sandra, London

As a manager I get uptight about the sort of petty moanings from staff like many of the submissions posted already. Noisy colleagues! Mobile ring tones! Making tea! Emotional difficulties with personal relationships! I could go on.
Jason, Chesham

A teacher of 35 years, having to follow the instructions of head teachers, who are now no longer teaching, and could not teach if their lives depended on it.
Dave, Middlesbrough, UK

Two things:
1) People running their 'career' over and above any consideration for others, their job or professionalism. This goes for managers, peers and subordinates alike.
2) Plain bad management - poor people skills, bad judgement, lack of integrity, lack of honesty or spine.
Tim, London

What really annoys me is when those of a higher rank than you send you on personal errands! Pick my laundry, buy my watch battery etc. I have far more important things to handle during my spare time, like going to a bar!
Very disgruntled, Washington DC

I hate management that have the 'favourites'
Stacy, Manchester
I hate management that have the 'favourites'. I would love to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work. But what really annoys me is when people say you shouldn't let work get to you. Lets face it we spend most of the hours of our lives at work so that is pretty hard.
Stacy, Manchester

Recently we had a "Manager" who was everyone's friend to their face and implacable enemy behind their back. Fortunately the MD did take action and the offender is no longer employed by the company. I feel sorry for the next company he works for.
Nigel, Worcester Park UK

What makes me angry is why mangers get paid more than the workers. By definition they only 'manage' people they don't actually do the valuable work, baffling when you think about it.
Tony, London

My manager really winds me up by only ever speaking to me with the phrase "I know you are busy, but..." then trebling my workload. She should know I am overloaded already!
James Ainslie, UK

What I can't understand is how all the stupid, lazy and unproductive people get promotion while the rest of us have to toil under the burden of our own excessive workload whilst also carrying the workload of the others who are too stupid, lazy or absent to carry out their own work?
Tricia Neville, Carmarthen, Wales, UK

Bosses who tell other workers that their secretary fancies them. One such man once boasted just that to my other co-workers, much to my dismay. On one occasion, he handed me his mobile phone so that I could talk to his colleague and arrange for them to view a seedy French film. He told me to "be really posh" down the phone. I did my best Janet Street-Porter impersonation and was never asked to phone a friend again!
Fiona Lister, UK

People that say "Absolutely" every five seconds
James, Devon
People that say "Absolutely" every five seconds. My Manager who cant even spell her own name and work computers being the slowest known to man!
James, Devon

When a team of people have a conference call with colleagues in the states. One Engineer hits the mute button and slags them off. He then proceeds to talk to them as if they are the best thing since sliced bread.
John, Swindon Wiltshire

The reason most of my colleagues are angry is because of the state of our city (London), and the dreadful battle we have twice each day to get to and from work! With 3 hours of agonising, dangerous strife just to get across London each day, is it any wonder that when we arrive at our desks we're nervous, angry, quivering wrecks?
Patricia, London, UK

I have the misfortune of sitting next to the man with the biggest itch - he just never stops. He sits sideways on about 30cm away from me, with his feet up on my desk harping on about who will be making the next round of teas. Fortunately we have the last laugh with his nickname. His surname is Seaman...
Dan Stewart, London

I work for an organisation where colleagues get on incredibly well and enjoy their work. Our only problem is our boss (AKA 'Madam Saddam'), who is just downright rude and unpleasant. She constantly undermines staff and has no regard for their professionalism or feelings. We are praying for her early retirement.
I'm-scared-she-might-read-this, UK

Bosses who maintain their "superior" position by not telling you enough information to do your job. And people who laugh down their noses at their own jokes. And people who never make the tea. And menopausal women who want the heating on MAX in July. Small desks. People asking "Do you know who I am?" to try and jump queues... I think I'd better go home know before I throw something (or someone) through a window...
Steve, Leeds, UK

What really does annoy me is a work colleague who e-mails me when they sit opposite me
Fiona Lister, UK
What really does annoy me is a work colleague who e-mails me when they sit opposite me or a few paces down the corridor. Face-to-face communication is becoming sorely eroded. Furthermore, if the nation is getting fatter, then we should be getting up out of our chairs and getting some exercise, instead of being glued to a computerised inbox.
Fiona Lister, UK

It is bad enough getting 30 business related emails a day, but to receive forwarded email jokes that have been recycled hundreds of times, or emails with inane picture attachments, or the "forward this to 10 people you know to avoid back luck etc. etc for the next year...please just lay off!
Bob, Hemel Hempstead, UK

Many things make me angry at work. I will have to say the number one thing - is how loud the person in who sits by me speaks on the phone. It's been so bad at my current position, I've actually had to stand up and yell at her to shut up. In fact, I found out that two people before me quit because of the situation. I can hear her now and I'm getting more angry. Thanks for getting my Irish up BBC.
Mike Daly, Hackettstown, NJ - USA

The public really make me angry. I work for the local authority where I'm the admin who gets to take the flack from the public. They come into the office and say to "I want to know how I'm expected to live on £200 a week benefit, it's not enough!!" I then ask them to wait to speak to an advisor all the time thinking "You lucky git, I work full time pay full rent/council tax etc and don't earn £180 per week. You get £20 more than that and you get FREE RENT and COUNCIL TAX, treat me like dirt and expect me to be happy about it." I wish that the people who use services would remember the front line staff are on crap wages, that includes shop assistants. PLEASE BE POLITE TO THE FRONT LINE STAFF IT DOESN'T COST YOU MUCH.
Mo, Scotland

I have the pleasure of working with a man who has severe PHLEGM problems. We share an office just me and him and his phlegm. Everyday I have to pretty much pray that I don't stab in the eyeballs with a pen, what with his continuous throat clearing, spitting it into a tissue WHILE I AM HAVING LUNCH and coughing and sniffing. I am going to end up in a lunatic emphasis on TIC asylum. *whimper*.
Anon, London

Management that pretend to listen to what you say, and then carry on regardless. Then when something fails, guess who takes the flack!
Ray, Southern UK

Once at a show, I was asked to "go and look pretty somewhere else" by a salesman who wanted to have a customer meeting
Catherine O, Maidenhead
Being asked to "help" with the coffee i.e., get it, or to cover my ears because someone is about to swear or to stand in for the secretary, just because I am a woman. Once at a show, I was asked to "go and look pretty somewhere else" by a salesman who wanted to have a customer meeting. He then had to ask me back to answer some technical questions, which I did, standing up, before being sent away again. I have an Honours degree in Electronic Engineering, but I am treated as if I don't have a GCSE to my name.
Catherine O, Maidenhead

Everyone complains that they don't have enough time to get everything done, but they are perfectly happy spending an hour talking about their children/grandchildren. Of course there's another hour spent talking about the American Idol or whatever show was on the night before. The "at work social club" is an interesting phenomenon: I want to be able to know what my co-workers do in their lives, but I also want to be part of a functioning team that is not constantly plagued by accidental procrastination. My answer: If we are all going to be this friendly, why don't we have a breakfast club or attend a happy hour? Then it seems like suddenly no one wants to invest time in social involvement. But we're perfectly willing to steal that time from our employer- causing annoying chatter and unnecessary delays.
Hallie Richwine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

In my cosy (read "cramped") government office, the guy who sits behind me clears his throat every 5 seconds. It is insanely agitating. I bought an MP3 player to drown out the noise.
Sam, US

I start work at 08.00 take half an hour for lunch and try to leave at 16.30. What I hate are the people who breeze in at 09.45, take 1 to 2 hour lunch breaks, spend most of their time in the smoking room, then when I am leaving remark loudly "Going already? Half day is it?"
Chris, UK

I seem to have the misfortune of having sat next to the only 2 people I've ever met who are unable to blow their noses. This leads to a disgusting sound similar to a disposal unit trying to clear itself of 2 litres of jelly.
David Vogel, Coventry, England

Relax and enjoy yourself
Jeff, Springfield, VA, USA
I don't think it's worthwhile to get angry at work. Life is too short to get upset by petty problems between co-workers. Relax and enjoy yourself.
Jeff, Springfield, VA, USA

Smokers who walk in to the kitchen while I'm microwaving a curry and complain about the smell.
David, London

The fact that I'm overworked, underpaid, there's no union, I get no holidays, rarely get a lunch break and I end up working overtime every day. I am a mom.
Sherry Beth, USA

I'm so glad everyone else has about as good a time at work as I do. Makes me feel much better. Thanks!
Anon, Reading

The fact that desk space and privacy are factors that just simply do not count any more. Most workers around the City now work almost literally shoulder to shoulder. Looks like the rat analogies are all too right.
Carl, UK

I blame anger in the workplace as part of the typical English non-confrontational attitude
Catherine Coulthard, Solihull, West Mids
I happen to work in what I consider the best office environment ever. With managers who adopt open door policies, colleagues who have a good laugh together and work as a team. I blame anger in the workplace as part of the typical English non-confrontational attitude. Communication is key. I wake up in the morning eager to get to work!
Catherine Coulthard, Solihull, West Mids

Shouty Dom Joly sales types that march up and down the corridor yelling into their mobile phones, usually talking about something completely inane.
Dave, Nottingham, UK

Having read a few of the messages in this list, it strikes me it's not anger but tolerance that needs addressing. Anger management indicates to me that you still get angry but deal with it. Tolerance management would address the fact that some like to live their life in a bubble, totally removed from everyone else, apparently! Living in reality means you have to tolerate you fellow man. Get real!
TJ, Norwich

My colleague Tim, who constantly makes sarcastic comments, treats me like his secretary and surfs the internet all day. He then proceeds to show us all his latest magic tricks, which apart from being impressive, disrupt our work. Nice chap though!
Andrew, UK

The ongoing air-conditioning wars
Nick, Bradford, England
It has to be the ongoing air-conditioning wars. I'm sitting here in my shorts and no top, my cactus has died from dehydration but there are still some people who are moaning it's too cold.
Nick, Bradford, England

Hear hear Steve from Surrey!! I've just read out your comment to everyone in my part of our open-plan office and they all cheered their agreement! Sales reps take note!!
Jo, UK

People with annoying ring tones who don't take their phones with them when they leave their desk. The rest of us have to suffer the annoying warbling or act as personal receptionist to the inconsiderate individual by answering it.
Steve, Surrey, UK

Bad manners in the workplace is so annoying. If I take tea and coffee for twelve people into a meeting the least I expect is a thank-you. Instead I often get glared at and in the best case scenario am simply ignored!
Louise, London

We have a guy in our office who drives us all mad! All he ever does is make strange noises at the top of his voice and slags everyone he comes into contact with. Having said that, the management are no better!
Sean, Glasgow

It drives me up the wall!!
Bob, Leighton Buzzard, UK
I work with a guy who seems to constantly crack his knuckles, drum his fingers on the table, snap his fingers together and hum or whistle throughout the office day. It drives me up the wall!! And when he sees it gets to me, he does it even more.
Bob, Leighton Buzzard, UK

Open plan offices as quiet as a bus station in rush hour!!! Whose bright idea was that? Ah, yes the managers who are all comfortably tucked away in cosy offices.
Wendy, Birmingham, UK

I let nothing upset me. Aggressive attitudes of work colleagues or managers and aggressive e-mails are all dealt with the same smile, polite response and sense of humour. Once you accept that it's only a job and that everyone else is incompetent, it doesn't seem worth getting upset about!
Pete Woodman, Preston, UK

The main pet-hate I have in an open plan office is people who need to telephone a colleague who is sitting no more than 10 yards from them! Why not just walk over and talk to them?
Jason, Stoke-on-Trent, UK

At the end of each month my FD always sends out an e-mail informing us of that months sales, debtor days etc. He also tries to congratulate us on our efforts but does it in such a patronising manner that it just makes us furious instead. He is also an expert at giving a compliment with one hand and taking it away with the other.
Anon, Staffs, UK

Work from home; speak to people only when you have to. No problem.
Ben, UK

What annoys me the most are managers that have a "I'm your friend" attitude. Then proceed to stab you in the back at the first opportunity. I would much prefer them to keep their distance, it's more professional.
Richard Collins, Reading, UK

Then despite sitting two desks away he communicates with me exclusively via e-mail
Xenia, The City

My newly promoted boss who is inexperienced and frankly useless has been driving me mad over last nine months by claiming that I was doing great over the year, yet when it came to the annual review it turned out I was not competent and screwed up my chances of a prospective internal move. Then despite sitting two desks away he communicates with me exclusively via e-mail. I could not sleep for a month, could not concentrate and bored my friends and family to death with my constant complaints. I am still quite shaken, but hopefully my agent will get me a better job anytime soon.
Xenia, The City, UK

Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Vivaldi may have written some beautiful music, but when their works are performed by a mobile phone in an open office environment, they always fail to move me. Please, fellow office workers of all nations: when you go into a meeting, don't leave your mobile on your desk. And do select a ring tone that is short, and set your phone to ring once. Your fellow slaves will appreciate it.
John, London, UK

Awkward, obstinate people who take great pleasure in being obstructive. If company's had the guts to fire these donkeys they would save a fortune and speed up their processes considerably.
Gerry, UK

What makes me angry? My boss who has badly fitted dentures and eats at his desk making an horrible clacking noise all the time... three girls who unfortunately sit near me and spend the whole time chatting and cackling like witches.
Carla , London, UK

Blood boils in UK workplaces
08 Jan 04  |  Business


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