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Your Guide to Being a Miserable Person to Work With on a Project

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 9/30/2011

If the annoying people on Project Runway, Apprentice and Master Chef have you thinking "Wow, I'd really like to aspire to those levels of losing friends and alienating people," you're in luck! Learn different behaviors you can add to your everyday functions that will make others detest you.

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    How will you lose friends and alienate people on your team project today? Sometimes, I suppose, it's nice to be the obstinate one. While I originally thought this list would be a great "what not to do guide," I thought again. Surely there are people out there who want to behave this way. I mean, think of all the people on Survivor who instead of helping to build the hut, sit there in front of the camera and explain why everyone else on their team sucks and they're the best.

    It's hard work to complain and moan to the camera guy while your team members are slaving over their project. Not only can this behavior lead to your infamy, but it can also help to ensure that you're never picked for that high-profile project in your company again. I mean, who doesn't want to strive for the position of working by yourself on menial tasks for the rest of their life?

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    1. Lack Any Sense of Empathy

    I mean, empathy is overrated anyway. Nothing bad ever happens to other people, and those who are struggling have earned their lot in life, right? When your team member comes to you and says, "I'm sorry, I haven't progressed further in my project, but my dog died this week," the best course of action is to scream at the individual about their incompetence. When the new guy or gal at work asks you how to do something, make sure to point out he or she is stupid. I guarantee you, people won't continue to approach you with their problems.

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    2. Don't Recognize the Efforts of Anyone Else

    That person who stayed late last night fixing the bugs in your project? He or she was just brown-nosing it. I mean, really, you better tell the boss that the late-night bug fixer seriously missed the mark and now to everyone's dismay, the project is back on track. While you're at it, when someone lends you a hand at putting together the perfect line of code, don't thank them. It's overrated. Instead, widely complain about the fact that you have to do everything yourself or it doesn't get done. Post on Facebook about how ineffective your team members are. That way, no one will stick their necks out on the line for you—because come on, who wants that anyway?

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    3. Don't Give Others Their Due

    So, Larry, who just landed the huge investor for your company's newest product development efforts, he's just a dope. Even though you're his manager, you should definitely take credit for this one. Make sure to brag loudly to everyone about how you had to do all the hard work and following up yourself—that there was no one else there to pick up the slack. This is even better executed if others know that Larry did the hard work. You can convince them otherwise! Then, maybe Larry might quit and you'll get to take over his tiny cubicle and move out of that huge corner office. I mean, who needs windows?

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    4. Be Totally Inefficient

    When you're asked to do something for the team, the best thing to do is sit at your computer and play Farmer in the Dell all day, switching it up to Bedazzled Bombers every once in a while. You get bonus points if you post about how you wish you'd be challenged at work on your social networking page. Also, when at the end of the day, your boss asks you for the TPR report with a cover page, it's best if you simply make a big deal about your red stapler. That way, you won't be offered any more work to complete while at your desk. You might not even have to deal with one of those pesky paycheck things.

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    5. Do Something Asinine

    While you're at it, do something that makes people question your intelligence. This can be no better executed than if you come from a top-tier university. When everyone's working on code for the new software, make sure you create the line that not only will destroy the entire program—and crash many computers during the testing phase—but that you also do so with flair. The best way to accomplish this is by refusing to check your work for accuracy. Who wants to take the time to go through something line-by-line anyway?

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    6. Complain Every Chance You Get

    Oh, you're on that team working with those people in your office? You got the hard seat and everyone else has the soft seat? The best use of your time, and the fastest way to ensure that no one in your office (or possibly on your block if you're really masterful at employing this technique) will run the other way when they see you coming, is to complain. If there's nothing to complain about, complain about the perfect weather you've been having. People can really go for that.

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    7. Trap People and Talk to Them Much Longer Than Necessary

    Okay, so complaining didn't work. Here's a better idea. After complaining for 45 minutes, make sure that you catch that person at their cubicle, on the way out of the restroom, out of the board room and block his or her exit completely. Bonus points if the individual really needs to be somewhere or doing something. Now, talk about the dust bunnies under your bed and muse about the lint in your belly button. Nothing will make people duck away into their work faster. This is a great technique if you're the boss. People will at least appear to be busy if you walk by. After all, who needs pesky team member interactions anyway?

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    8. Consistently Disagree

    It can be annoying to be approached for advice. To help your coworkers get the hint, disagree. If someone on your project team thinks the background of your project should be blue, argue vehemently that it should be yellow. When the person caves and says "okay, fine, have it your way, yellow it is," it's best if you tell them, "Ugh, where would you get such a stupid idea? Clearly blue is the best color for the background. Or you know, orange is great too!"

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    9. Never Display a Sense of Humor

    What's so funny about life? It's the STD everyone is born with. There's nothing funny about that, and you should never laugh at jokes. In fact, when someone makes a benign joke, find something, anything that's offensive about it and point it out. "Did you hear the one about the broken pencil?" Make sure you explain how broken pencils remind you of Aunt Sue and her chronic obsession with breaking pencils in half—then burst into tears. Points if you shut down the entire conversation.

    More points if you're sitting there scratching your head right now. If you find yourself thinking, "But, I thought these were things that everyone should avoid doing at work," and you're not laughing, please get up from your desk immediately. I believe you might be having a bad day. Before you risk taking it out on other people, please touch your finger to your nose and hop on one foot. When you're done with that task, start over. The second time through, call your boss and moo into the phone. Trust me. If you're not laughing, at least you can spread the humor. Your coworkers will thank you for it.

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    What are some of the faux pas you've done or coworkers have done that have made it unbearable to work with them? Come on, I know you've got some story about the guy who comes in sweaty from his bike ride to work and then puts his elbow up on your filing cabinet when greeting you, or the story about the boss who fails to recognize anyone's strides forward on the project you're working on.

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