I keep an imaginary pet dog in my head. His name is Cujo.
On my first day of work, there was one coworker (Mike) in particular that Cujo just hated.
I didn’t understand it at the time. Mike seemed like a nice fellow.
He would pop by my cubicle often, give a goofy smile, and check if it’s all good with me.
And Cujo would growl and snarl as though there’s an annoying piss ant on his nutbags.
Not long after, I figured Cujo’s reason of annoyance. Apparently, he can read the whole autobiography of someone simply by smelling. And he smelled dingbat in Mike.
“Hey, you are doing it wrong!”
Mike would give me constant advice on how to do my work and insist that I follow his best practices (which are basically procedures with more steps and less efficiency). Of course, when I explained my approach he would immediately rebuff me in no uncertain terms. Sometimes I wonder what would he do with a brain if he had one.
I don’t know why he is telling me how to do my job — he ain’t even my boss.
Anyway, if you have a bossy coworker like Mike, try the below steps.
1. Voice out politely in the moment
DO NOT ignore him because that would only encourage him. Let him know nicely that you are certainly capable of doing your own work and he should get on with his own. Don’t be mean, but don’t put too much thought into saving his feelings. And remind him that he is your peer and not your boss.
2. Go out for a drink.
It’s good to get to know a coworker by spending some time together away from the office. Chat with him, dig deeper, and add some foundation to your relationship. Who knows, you might see him in a different light.
You may take this time to present your case to him on why your approach is more efficient and how it would translate to better results. Let him know it’s 2017 and we have 4K HD televisions with curved displays and nobody even charges a convenience fee to pay bills online and jeez, it’s time adopt the new, cool methods already.
But if you end up only to be interrupted the entire time—
—move on to the next step.
3. Establish your boundaries
Do what you have to do to protect your territory. Post your own distinctive “Keep Out” or “Enter at your own risk” signs by peeing around your office cubicle. Guffaw and cackle maniacally at intervals to scare the shit out of any intruders.
No, please don’t do that.
But, you can put up this awesome sign to broadcast your feelings.
4. Boss, Yes Boss
Start calling him boss. Every time he drops in to interfere your work, you respond with: “Yes, Boss. Thank you, Boss. Love you, Boss.”
There’s a good chance one day you will end up calling him Boss in front of your real Boss. Then you will be able to broach this topic with your manager in the presence of your bossy coworker.
That should open up doors to highlight your displeasure and to discuss on how to remedy it.