Ask Barb: Annoying Coworkers

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Mar 2, 2012

Dear Barb:

Two of my co-workers are driving me crazy and I don’t know how to handle this. They share every up and down with the entire office, constantly discuss personal problems, and distract those of us who are trying to work. The problem is that both recruiters have been with our firm forever and are friends with our owner out of the office. How do we tell her that these recruiters are costing us all money and she needs to fire them? I know two of my co-workers are already looking for another job and I’m very close to doing the same thing.

Anonymous in Chicago

Dear Anonymous:

You owner is in business for one primary reason – to make a profit. This is difficult because she is obviously friends with the two people who are disrupting your office. Much depends on their contribution to sales. If they are both big billers, it will be difficult to show your owner how they are costing her money. If they are not, your owner might be more open to listening to your concerns. You can’t tell your owner to fire them, but you can discuss problems that exist.

It sounds like you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having a conversation with your employer. You are already thinking of leaving and you know other employees are interviewing. Stay positive during your conversation, give specific examples; try to stick to facts during your conversation, not emotion, and show the owner why it would benefit her to address these issues. You might suggest that she talk to other co-workers as well who will confirm your observations.

Most owners in our profession are owners, managers and also work a desk. This demand on their time may make it difficult for her to observe what you have outlined. Ask to meet with your owner, let her know you are only concerned about what is best for her company and bottom line. Most owners would appreciate this feedback from a concerned employee.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on