We asked our readers to tell us about the weirdest coworkers they've ever had (as opposed to creepy bosses or workplace legends) and the response was overwhelming. In this first volume, we see the wonderful diversity in America's employment ecosystem, ranging from someone who literally asked for a book on common sense to dog-hair sweater knitters. If you have a story, click here for how to submit. Here are 15 of the best stories people sent us about their odd officemates:
1. If you're going to make up stories about your social life, you may as well go for the gold like this woman who worked with our reader Cecelia.
Fresh out of high school, I worked as a receptionist for a government agency. There was an older lady there who used to tell the tallest tales!
Once she said "I was going to be a princess once...I was going to be married to prince Charles, but I didn't want to be married yet so I left England and came back to USA" I looked at her and thought "is she waiting for me to laugh?" But she was dead serious!
Then she said she went to Canada and stopped at a bar; the bartender refused to serve her a drink and so she asked to use the phone: she called Queen Elizabeth and said "Queenie?! This is Muriel. This guy won't serve me a drink!..." then she handed the phone to the bartender and "Queenie" cussed him out and made him serve her for free the rest of her stay. She never laughed, or said "gotcha" in her stories....so I remained polite and refrained from rolling my eyes or ask if there were hidden cameras lol!
She's gone now (deceased) but I will always remember her stories ???
2. Jules wrote us an email about her coworker Autumn. You have known an Autumn. We have all known an Autumn.
I'm a mental health therapist who was supervising a master's-level intern at the agency I was working at. The intern, let's call her Autumn, was obviously book smart. But that's about it. I have lots of stories about Autumn, but the two that stick out I will include here:
One day, another therapist who is more blunt than I am told Autumn that she had no common sense. Autumn turned to me and asked if there was a book about common sense she could read. I had to explain that one to her for awhile.
Then, one day, I had saved a turtle from being run over in the street in front of our office building. Autumn says to me that she is shocked turtles live in [the rural southern state we were in at the time]. I asked her where she thought turtles lived, and she told me since she'd only seen them in zoos, she assumed that's where turtles in this country live.
3. Mirah on Facebook wrote us about a coworker with a pet and a hobby, and why those two things should never, ever go together.
A lady I used to work with spun wool, etc.
She shaved her dog and made him a sweater of his own fur.... she also wore a hat to work every day made of her dear dog's fur.
Responding to another comment, she provided more details.
Then there was the time she spilled patchouli on the wood counter. In an unintelligent attempt at cleaning it, she used alcohol. Which spread it and preserved it for about 3-4 months! P.S- it was an import shop! So, yup, we smelled of stereotypes for months!?
4. Jessie wrote us an email about two weird coworkers she's had... although frankly after reading the second one, bicycle man doesn't seem so bad.
One guy frequently rode his bike to work and on his lunch break... he would rest afterwards by laying on the front steps of the office with his tiny Speedo jumpsuit/shorts thing all unzipped with his chest hair blowing in the breeze... a few times he just laid in the fountain across the street. Same guy would attend potlucks with a SPOON. Yes, just one spoon, and he would proceed to take bites out of each dish with the same spoon... over and over.
Then there is the bat-shit crazy lady as I came to refer to her. So many things... but the best one is probably the time I cut my hair and donated to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients. She approached me, genuinely upset I had cut my hair, but WORSE that I have given it away! She stated that hair was a part of your body and you shouldn't part with it, especially to cancer patients who ought to know they will go bald and just deal with it instead of taking handouts.
In my shock of disbelief at her inhumanity I asked her what she does with her hair (it's not Crystal Gail long, so I assume she cuts it). She stated she keeps it... in a bag, in the freezer. I joking asked "Are you gonna knit a sweater?" and she dead-faced looked at me and said she wanted to be buried with it. So glad that lady doesn't work here anymore.
5. Let's vary it up with a short one. Deanna wrote us a two line story, one of which isn't that weird, and the other should be grounds for termination.
Old guy in our office who refuses to learn how to use any type of modern technology, at all. And pees in empty coffee cups in his office so he doesn't have to go to the bathroom. Puke.
6. Although Carroll on Facebook is writing about a real individual, it kind of seems like this is just a metaphor for management in general.
My very first job was at a relatively questionable debt collector's call centre. We were about 50 people crammed into a medium sized office and they literally took anyone they could find that could operate a telephone. Our team leader was a lady with an eye twitch who was going bald. She would nervously sit at her desk and count hairs that were falling out while zoning out completely to a point where she would pay no attention to her team for hours. She often sang to herself and giggled. To this day, I still wonder how she managed to get a leader position at all.
7. This story from an anonymous reader is the bro version of claiming you're best buds with the Queen back home.
I work in IT, software development. I used to work with a guy, he was fine, not that competent but okay. He was maybe late 20s, about 5'9", from South Africa.
He said he used to play basketball for the national team but then gave it all up to join the special forces. He was apparently really good at it, but then chose to give it up for some reason to retrain in IT. He asked us not to eat oranges in the office because the sound of peeling the skin sounded like dead bodies burning on a bonfire and he didn't like the flashbacks.
8. The rest of the commenters on Facebook were unsure whether Sheri's coworker is weird or whether he's really the only person here who has life figured out.
My 73-year-old co-worker is hard of hearing and farts every single morning while he's making coffee in the break room. I think he thinks just because he can't hear it, nobody else can.. Lol!
9. We had more than a few entries about gross employees, but this email from Tania manages to hit all the notes.
I worked in a large open plan office and had a colleague who used to take her shoes off, get the scissors from her drawer, put her foot up on the desk and cut her toe nails while sitting at her desk! She would then crawl around picking up the clippings...but never managed to get them all so we would find random bits of toenails across the office floor.
She also used to tell anyone who would listen that the best way to stop having diarrhea is to eat KFC because it makes her constipated.
10. Elizabeth has worked with several chronic liars and exaggerators (or has she?! Yes, probably).
I worked with a guy I called "adventure vest." Every day, he wore a fishing vest with like 50 pockets which were bursting with notepads and bits of paper. As he sat with my coworkers for training, he would tell each person a different story about his life. Married, one daughter. Married, twin boys. Not married. Spent ten years as a high school teacher. Spent 15 years working in a salt mine. Eventually, my coworkers realized what he was doing, but no one could figure out why. He would pull his notebooks out and scribble secrets when he thought no one was looking. And he would freak out about our security swipe cards. He always tried to walk in with someone so he didn't have to swipe. Weird guy...
One guy told tall tales. He used to be an EMT, and said he restarted a guy's heart with a car battery and jumper cables. Then he told how he could stop his own heart. He would grunt loudly and cock his head to one side, then hold out his arm and try to get you to feel how he had no pulse.
11. An anonymous Someecards reader wrote us this extremely amusing tale of the chocolate thief who hid out of shame for 3 days.
I have worked with this one weird coworker for almost 20 years. This is one of many incidents involving her.
We were in a small staffed school (she is an Educational Assistant), and some parent had brought us a box of turtles candies. A few of us had taken one, but the box was 75% full, and after this coworker's 15 minute break, the box was empty. Turtles are delicious, but come on!!
Our principal was lots of fun, and put out an email stating that he was going to look into the case of the missing turtles. He mentioned that he would be checking the camera in the staff room (which was an old web cam on a shelf that wasn't working and not even plugged in) for information.
Well, this EA went home that day and did not return for 3 days (and the weekend) and she was never confronted about the turtles. But we all knew who ate them and to this day (8 years later) she is still the laughing stock of our school board.
12. Tracy on Facebook must work for Time Warner Cable.
I worked in a call center at one time and there was a gentleman there that every time he was on a long call would rub his nipples. I think he was eventually pulled into HR about it... oddly enough, he still works there.
13. Amanda just barely beat the deadline to get in this awesome story of confirming exactly what you suspected your quietest coworker was up to.
When I worked midnights at our local hospital, we'd often have a slow time at night. Some people would stock rooms, or chat, or read to pass a few hours. One of my coworkers used to read and snack. One day, she happened to leave her desk to use the restroom and left her e-reader on. We glanced over at what our quiet, keeps-her-personal-life-to-herself coworker was reading, and our jaws dropped. It was hardcore porn novels and short stories. Mostly involving vampires and werewolves and wizards. She has no idea that we saw it, and went back to her desk reading silently. Frequently getting up to 'use the restroom'.
14. Let's not jump to conclusions and say that Beka M's coworker is nuts. He could just be really passionate about journalistic ethics.
I used to be a news reporter for a small county newspaper. We had a sports editor who worked there for about a year. He was always mumbling to himself. The other reporter (now my husband) and I joked that it sounded like parseltongue. One day the three of us were working in the newsroom when all of a sudden in an extremely intense, yet low, voice he said to himself, "Don't. Make. Assumptions." He then got up and left. The guy was also known to fart loudly at his desk and pick his nose then wipe the snot on the bottom of his chair.
15. This anonymous reader's coworker isn't that odd, to be honest, and you should just let the guy eat. BUT, the way this is written perfectly captures what it's like to be slowly driven insane by someone you'd probably get along with fine if you didn't have to sit by them all day.
Okay. I don't even know where to start with this guy...
My 60ish-year-old, morbidly obese coworker sits directly behind me in an open-concept office, so is basically 3 feet away from me AT MOST, at all times. Here's the list of sh*t I get to deal with on a daily basis:
9am: arrives at the office, says good morning to literally everyone on his way in, proceeds to chat at top volume for an hour.
10am: actually sits down at his desk, with either a) a full bacon, egg, and hash brown greasy breakfast OR b) a Starbucks frapp and a scone/muffin/pastry (EVERY. DAY.).
10-11am: proceeds to chew WITH HIS MOUTH OPEN and talk to himself while reading his emails. Usually this goes something like,
"eugh. I feel like garbage" *chew chew chew chew smack smack smack*
"oh. Oh my god. 8 pages?! Ha!...(30 seconds later)... no way. No no no no no no. No way I'm doing that!" *chew chew chew smack smack*
"eughhhhh..." etc. Etc.... then he licks his fingers and makes a smacking noise like he's licking off sweet, sweet BBQ sauce.
11am-12pm: continues to chatter to himself and his subordinate over the cubicle wall at top volume.
Lunch hour: purchases a full hot lunch, two bags of Doritos, a chocolate bar and a pack of almonds from the cafeteria and proceeds to repeat the 10-11am routine. Throws his container in the communal garbage because he doesn't want to get up from his desk, therefore filling the garbage can and rendering it useless for everyone else.
12-4pm: alternates between telling me about all the art galleries he's been to and how I should go visit said galleries, telling me how he isn't feeling well (NO SHIT), and telling his subordinate "no no no no no" (always in multiples) and name dropping while talking to himself.
4-5pm: ????? Who the fuck knows?!
This is just the average day... I'm not even counting the times he's jumped in on my private conversations (the perks of being in an open concept office), or when his mess of papers have spilled over onto my desk... that's another story for another day.
God help me.