• Hayley Zablotsky

How To Be Rude At Work

The other day at work, this little beauty showed up in the kitchen:

You can't say you weren't warned when your $98 Anthropologie mug disappears.

I should start out by saying I support this kind of thing 100%.


Because here's the thing: being nice is nice. But sometimes, it's just not feasible.


Fortunately, we can practice Professional Incivility. This is a term I've just made up for something that has existed forever. It's a close relative (first cousin on the mother's side) of Pettiness and dear friends with Passive Aggression.


I can't take credit for the note about the dishes, but I have plenty of my own ideas. Here are my best tips for when your patience is gone but you don't quite want to get fired.



Hayley's Top 5 Tips for Professional Incivility


1. Say "In the future, I would appreciate it if you would..." threateningly in an email.


As in: "In the future, I would appreciate it if you would [do basic and uncomplicated task you are paid to do]."


Have I done it: yes

Will I do it again: yes

Why it works: it uses positive words like "future" and "appreciate" but basically means "don't let this happen again or I'm telling Steve."



2. Tell coworkers you are doing "well" after they tell you they are "good."


You: "How're you, Linda?"

Linda: "Good, thanks. You?"

You: "I'm well. Thank you for asking."


Have I done it: yes

Is this entrapment: possibly

Why it works: there's no turning back for your uneducated coworker when they say they are "good." Your grammatically correct response will make them wither. You've established your dominance and your only crime was excellent grammar. BOOM, LINDA.


Nice chatting, Linda. I'll be in my office.


3. Use the phrase, "not sure if my message went through" when you know damn well that it did.


Then you can add, with a knowing glint in your eye, "Has your email been glitching lately?"


Have I done it: yes

Do emails ever glitch: almost never

Why it works: obviously you're too cowardly and non-confrontational to make any real accusations, but your gracious offer of a technological excuse will shame just about anyone.



4. Answer your office phone when your coworker is in the middle of telling you a thirty-minute story.


If you're really feeling it, put up a single condescending finger to hush your coworker as you answer your phone.


Have I done it: yes

Was it my mom calling: yes

Why it works: answering your office phone is your job. You can't be faulted for that. It doesn't matter who is calling. They need you. And you must answer.


*Despite the fact that you often watch your phone ring and ring — kind of glazed over, stuffing your face with peanut butter pretzels — and let it go to voicemail.



5. Wish everyone a lovely weekend as you waltz out the door at noon on Friday due to a "dental appointment."


Because oral health is important.


Have I done it: yes

Was it actually a dental appointment: prefer not to say

Why it works: They can't call you out because dental appointments are important and necessary. It's not your fault the dentist only had availability on a Friday afternoon and it happens to be Memorial Day weekend.


Those teeth aren't going to take care of themselves, after all.

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© 2020 Hayley Zablotsky

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