The Nightmare of Colleagues

One of the most frightening aspects of working life is that we will, unless we are the beneficiaries of extreme good fortune, be required to have colleagues. The colleague is a creature who, endured over any length of time, in situations of high stress and procedural complexity, presents one of the greatest threats to calm, composure and soundness of mind. It was so much easier when we were kids. We could lie on the bedroom floor and, in a few minutes of play, build a plane, run a restaurant, or invade a country on our own. The problem with colleagues starts with the facts that they can’t guess what we want. Everything needs to be explained to them, often very slowly and repeatedly. If this were not bad enough, many colleague are at risk of disagreeing with us about many things They turn out to have a host of contrary opinions, their own quirks, pet peeves and obsessive interests and, yet worse, they are very sensitive. If lone behold we have to manage with them, unless we speak them in the right way, they’ll become offended, develop grudges, start to cry, or report one to a superior. In the good old days, you could just shout. When most work was physical, management could be abrupt, emotional distress didn’t hold things up. One could still operate the brick making machine at maximum speed, even if one hated the manager, or clean out the stables thoroughly even if one felt the foreman hadn’t enquired deeply enough into the nature of one’s weekend. But nowadays, most jobs require a high degree of psychological well-being in order to be performed adequately. A wounding comment can destroy a person’s productivity for a whole day. Without ample respect, recognition and encouragement, huge sums of money will get wasted in silently resentful moods. If one has any concern for the bottom line, it seems one has little alternative but to try to be a bit nice. Work relationships are no less tricky than romantic ones, but at least in the latter, we have a basic sense of security that enables one to speak one’s mind and make the necessary cathartic moves, to call them fuckwits and compress a range of ideas in the occasional expletive loaded outburst. The office environment misses out on the cleansing frankness seemingly possible only when two people know they will have the option of having sex together after the bust-up. At the heart of our office agonies is the complaint that we seldom like our colleagues as people. In a better world, we would be unlikely ever to want to spend any time at all with such disturbing, and often unlikely, figures. We shouldn’t be surprised by our daily discomfort, given that these people were never picked out on the basis of psychological compatibility. We were formed into a unit because they had a range of technical and commercial competences necessary for a task, not because they were fun lunch companions or were graced with a pleasing manner. We are like the unfortunate bride in a power-marriage in the middle ages. A princess would be obliged to marry a certain prince because he owned an important led mine or the archers in his country were especially proficient. It would have been nice if the two liked each other a bit as well, but the stakes were generally far too high for this to be a relevant factor. The success of the realm depended on such matters as access to raw materials and military strength, not on whether the partner had a maddening giggle or a daunting overbite. To work well around colleagues requires not talent per se,. but success at a range of dark psychological arts best summoned up by the word ‘politics’ But political skill has woefully little in common with the reasons we were trained and hired to do our jobs in the first place. We may, as part of a good business education, have spent years studying the way to navigate a balance sheet, analyse competitors, negotiate contracts, and administer a logistics chain. But life at work requires quite different skills: the capacity to quietly accept glory for things that were not truly our doing; to distance ourselves from errors in which we were heavily implicated; to subtly foreground the failings of otherwise quite able colleagues; to turn cold at key moments towards emotionally vulnerable superiors; to flatter while not appearing to do so; to mould our views to suit the currently ascendant attitudes. Our inevitable difficulties are aggravated by notions that offices are at heart really giant families, Our inevitable difficulties are aggravated by notions that offices are at heart really giant families, that colleagues can be friends, that honesty is rewarded and that talent will win out. Kindly sentimentality is in the end, just a disguised version of cruelty. It might be a lot simpler if, in dark moments, we could simply admit to what we know in our hearts: that it would obviously be a great deal better if we could be shot of the whole business of colleagues and could instead spend our days, as we used to do so well, on our own.

100 Replies to “The Nightmare of Colleagues”

  1. Hence why I work best alone at my workplace. Instead of tolerating a bunch of f***wits who don't get the basic idea of what I mean. thank goodness somebody gets it.

  2. This is so much bs how can you be so scared of working together with other people? There is strength in working together

  3. Dammit school of life, how do you know my struggles right now. I need this right now, the employer who hired me is a passive aggressive old woman and I don't like it:( that is why I resigned from my previous job because of people like that. 🙁

  4. In Switzerland, it's commonplace to just have "colleagues", also in private life, and not really friends. We don't even use the word "friend" much at all. Very sad.

  5. What's wrong with colleagues you autist? I've always got along with nearly every colleague I've ever had, and even the ones that I didn't I still managed to be civil to them, and they've been civil to me

  6. Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle – so true. I can't remember one work place where there wasn't some sort of bully or stroppy person.

  7. I have to disagree with this video. This is because ones colleagues may be driven by greed or superficial things, yet we are to. An individual cannot hold themselves higher then those next to us or problems are inevitable. If one keeps what makes them, but respects others beliefs with a smile, then in the long run there will be more productivity and emotional well being.

  8. I find this very interesting because I have experieced the EXACT opposite in the last few weeks. I just started a new job where every single employee is an amazing person with a beautiful personality. I have been working alone in my home office for the last 4 years or so, doing things exactly like I wanted them to be, with nobody to deal with and perfect goals that were adapted to my needs and to be honest, I grew tired of being always alone at work. I realised that even though I very much enjoy spending time on my own, it can be difficult and depressing in the long run. I became a little jealous of my friends and members of my family when they told stories about their interractions with colleagues, how they eat lunch at the same table and how they achieve things and reach goals together using their own completely different minds and unique competences.

  9. The way i see, and have been investigating in my journey, is that these problems only exists in our minds, it is really arbitrary to feel bad for situations, because situations is just that, a context that could be any other, including one that could make us happy in the same instant on time and space. One might say that is quite obvious, but i'm not talking about the surface understanding of this, but a deeper contemplation which give arise to the ability of being able to manage our feelings.

    I'm not a master of this, nor claim to have found the bottom of this ideia, but it surely is giving signs during my journey, and so i believe it is possible for you too if you try.

  10. I have to admit I don't really think I understood the message of what was being communicated here. Was there a point being made at all?

  11. I expected you would mention the problems of trying not to get involved in after hours romances with the married ones

  12. Can you do a philosophy video on Solipsism? It's a interesting idea but very few people have ever heard of/understand it.

  13. I can't stand one or two of mine…. there's this one young lady who criticizes EVERYTHING about everyone! But she knows all of these "highly intelligent people" she also talks more miles with her mouth than I think she walks or runs a day.
    I've asked her to join me on workouts or runs and she will turn it down with some criticism or another. "I don't run 5 Ks! I run marathons"…. "and why would I want to do a Mud Run. I only run marathons"…she doesn't run shit! And she speaks so loud in the department like the whole room needs to see her act…
    She drains me.

  14. Seams to me like my colleagues don't have life after work so they take out all of their negative energy at work. I get stressed from their acts, cause they are horrible colleagues. Or is it that I just didn't got used to gossipy, back stabbing, and so many evil people around me.

  15. I think everything on this is very true, however I also have learnt a lot from my colleagues and as Humans we only progress when we get out of our comfort zone and deal with people who have different views because you also question why you do things or think the way you do. Is the same as why kids go to school, yes it can be a horrible experience but also you are learning valuable social skills which you will need throughout life. As the saying goes NO MAN IS AN ISLAND.

  16. I have the same problem with my classmates when we have to do a group task.
    It feels like they don't have any ambition. And I'm always the one who has to be the leader, or else we wouldn't get the job done. On the same time, everyone hates me for being the leader. I don't want to be the leader. It feels really weird and unfair.

  17. Can't help but think that this video is some sort of a passive-agressive message from the main editor of SOL to his colleagues.

  18. wtf is this video trying to do??? colleagues are the best pool of people to grow our continuously shrinking social circles. colleagues are necessary to have second opinions and so many other things. this video is bullcrap or has it become so bad in the workplace in england and america???

  19. I'm not nearly as impressed by this video as I am by their channel on-the-whole. Yes, they usually leave things open ended, and often are frank about life's stark realities, but this is just too bleak. I expected better.

  20. I honestly cannot relate to this, It sounds like a truly awful workplace. I've worked in management positions and have been responsible for large teams for the last 7 years and feel that anyone who allows a workplace like this to continue is doing a pretty average job at people management. If my team were behaving this way I'd be aghast, it's totally rotten culture. I can see how it exists, I've had to work hard to change some team environments around and its exhausting, essentially a never ending job of keeping the team above resorting to schoolyard tactics by pushing a culture of accountability and encouraging mature personal development. It blows me away that this might be someones only perception of what it is like to work with others :S

  21. I just do what I have to do to get my work done, but somehow there is always that one bitch who has to make drama. You don't even have to be involved, yet your name gets dragged in.

  22. "for us to really be on our own". Or more so the freedom we had on whether we wanted to be on our own on not (with exceptions obv)? It's defn the opposite to the now rigid schedules we usually fall into, with other said strangers aka coworkers.

  23. I've dealt with everything from genuine friends to management enemies at work. I think it's natural for people to get along. Especially over time. Maybe people who play on computers for a living are more socially retarded than people who do more manual types of jobs.

  24. It's intimidating when starting a new job and not knowing who you will be forced to work with on a daily basis, but usually it always turns out to be surrounded by friendly people or at least people who know not to push your buttons. Does this make you wish you could startup and choose your own hires? Again, only reserved from the people with lots of monetary value. OR if you just happened to be friends who could see a business opportunity working out between each other.

  25. I've found interacting with people of differing interests, opinions, and attitudes has forced my own identity to adapt and grow stronger. Of course it's painful in the short term, but across all the times I've been forced to interact with vastly different people (e.g. work, school, the gym, and family), I've found long term improvement. Seclusion will stunt your growth, and with time you'll only become a bigger joke to the people on the outside world.

  26. It comes to mind the paraphrased statement that 'you cannot change others to be nicer, but you can change yourself to be more assertive'. But that can mean the not-nice colleague never has to change, even if they are the biggest source of social friction in an organisation…

  27. When you're stuck in a politically correct battery farm of wankers, whose only interest is a fake life on social media, or a pointless diet and what they've eaten for lunch, it's hard to get along.

  28. Videos like this is why I unsubscribed to School of Life. Yes some colleagues may not be so likeable but at the end of the day, you are there to work. And in my experience, being helpful and understanding of those you work with, helps them do the same for you.

  29. It didn't give any solution, because unless it's an culture of treading working environment as families, this is the issues we will continually struggle. As in the western history showed, the culture has been gare towards emotionless productivity, not only working environment, also hostile family relationships, that means you have to put yourself away, for the ideal of power and production.
    If we could function as cooperative, and a society generally protects the weak and the poor, the people that fundamentally have struggles that they had no environment that can support them from personal life, can have a choice to work in an environment they know they'll get the support of their needs, while maintaining the health working environment for their colleagues, been accepted as themselves, and we can put less threatening behavior towards our colleagues, but more with a professional medical help.

  30. I like being around colleagues. She many don't know how to be mindful of others as people and lack the skills to use words appropriately. However nonetheless it is a challenge worth taken on and overcome

  31. Try explaining this to a manager of fast food or a chef. They don't understand that treating people like shit actually negatively affects the bottom line. The food industry is fucked. Fucked in the fucking head.

  32. The trick I have found is to identify another colleague who shares the same "most hated colleague" list with you, and form an alliance with him/her. If you both have a common enemy, it's much easier to forgive the relatively minor flaws of your allies by talking about and highlighting how bad the enemy is.
    Ideally the perfect office is a perpetual war zone , divided into factions with at most 3 people in each. It's important that no one is left alone without allies, and that the factions are evenly matched. The reason for this is that the war is not meant to be won, it is to be sustained, because at a workplace, war is peace.

  33. Colleagues are just imperfect as we are. I believe the skills required to go through work life are the same than life in general. You cannot tell yourself that everyone is bad and faking it. My workplace feels very similar to a family; there are disagreements, people being unreasonable, jealousy, etc., but there are far more forgiveness, kindness, friendship and positivity. You don't have to like your colleague, but don't be the asshole and everything will work out in the end!

  34. That's why the role of People department is so important. Políticos is also very important, but what eases suffering is that People department does not hire someone who won't at all blend in. I've seen job positions that were not got for anyone.
    This video does not quite nail the problem, although the channel is filled with great insight. To me what works is a blend of politics, honesty and sticking with the group you enjoy to be with.

  35. Here's a fun game. So in the book The Psychology of Survivor (about the popular TV show Survivor), they reveal how a contestant wins. To win, you gain the trust of someone until they reveal some damaging information about themselves. And then you wait until the moment of maximum damage to betray that person's trust and you crush them.

    Some people have depression. Others are carriers of the disease.

  36. Important to also realise that you are all of these things to other people. You cause this distress on a daily basis, too. You do not suffer alone, nor are you perfect.

  37. dang i usually love this channel's videos but I gotta disagree on this. Everyplace that I've worked at I've found that my colleauges are one of the reasons that help me enjoy my job more than the job itself. Any job you work at can will almost always make you feel that its become repetitive and boring but if you work with people you like and even become friends with it makes everything so much better. On the other side if you're work environment is filled with too many toxic people then you probably need to make a change to find a better work environment or find a healthy way to cope or else you'll go crazy.

  38. This is true! Although I have made most of my friends at work, I think the reason I have is because I'm working jobs to jobs, and I'm not in my career yet like the people in this video.

  39. I realized that I couldn't deal with working with assholes and office politics so now I'm starting my own business and it's the first time in my life I'm looking forward to work! Hell is other people.

  40. Am I the only one to like my colleagues then? Either that or I have been very lucky, but I have come across really wonderful people.

  41. So, is this video really just saying there is no solution to the colleague problem? And that all you can do is suffer and complain? Not even a new way of thinking about the problem!? That's uncharacteristically unhelpful of The School of Life… Does anyone else find the views presented here to be blatantly obvious?

  42. Does this apply to extroverts too? I was always under the impression that they like being around others for 8+ fuckin hours a day.

  43. When you realise that your colleagues are largely simpletons who are unfit for their roles and are barely scraping by with very little interest in doing a good job and supporting eachother, that's when you know you truly hate office life.

  44. Everything was fine until oversensitive women and social justice warriors invaded the workplace and lawyers began suing like crazy. Now you have to self-monitor all the time, or some woman will complain to HR, and they’ll overreact on her side for fear of being sued. And you all wonder how we ended up with Trump. YOU are responsible, even if you didn’t vote for him because YOU allowed this to happen.

  45. I actually disagree with the premise of this video. I’m a contractor and frequently move company anywhere between 3 and 18 months typically. I encounter a mixed bag of people but every once in a while I’ll hit a good crew of people with a good manager. Nearly all my friends and my missus were once colleagues. Wankers are everywhere and so are good folk too. We spend so much of our time at work, so why not make the most of it while and when we can.

  46. From the videos I ve seen so far this is one I really disliked. It starts with the assumption that we hate our peers, and our peers hate us. Stating personal relationships are better because you can have sex is largely simplistic and ridiculous. Very opinion based and exagerates the darkness of work relationships.

  47. Disagree with a major assertion here. Tension with colleagues is too often caused not by their being chosen solely on the basis of their skills, but quite the opposite, i.e., they are too often chosen for reasons which are entirely unprofessional, like how “fun” or compatible socially the hiring manager thought they would be. The belief among hiring managers is more often than not, that all reasonably qualified applicants have the necessary skills. Therefore, candidates are chosen for other reasons, golf game, looks, racial or ethnic compatibility, wardrobe, and a thousand other similarly bad and irrelevant reasons. This is usually the true reason why colleagues are a nightmare.

  48. JUN BARATHY please how to bounce up the long 24/7 time the elder spend in Hostel/nursing home, Yesterday we played Scrabble, we have cooking days, making scones, making cards, watching the melboure Cup run, on a 20 ft screen. But there is no culture, Church services for all, meals on queue, 8.12.=5pm. What I would really like to see would be a rep, with a vido on how their product is made. /
    Also how to teach ones computer how to spell , Is there aset of head phones that pick up every conversation, I am very deaf, and miss so much,aids are not helping Jun

  49. This is exactly what everyone is telling me right now. Politics. I am very unhappy with myself at work. I love the job. I love when I make stories that help people. I hate when my bosses ask to avoid ethics for business, to invent while not having the time to think. I hate when they want results and forget about the needs of those who provide them. My colleagues are like the abrasive dogs. Nice people, educated, open-minded and brilliant when they speak. What frustrates me is all that frustration when you are not able to speak your mind to your bosses because you are AFRAID. You have to agree with everything and do the work. There are no professional relationships. And I frankly hate that, especially from the managers. Compliments out of the blue, comparative analysis between colleagues, saying you don't work enough but you always complain. I am beginning to doubt myself and not provide good results anymore. I am a newbe and that is my first job. No mentoring, only results and effectiveness. They say that the first year is the worst and that we (as young) are spoiled. Then again, I work with people on the field. I easily get along with people, they trust me. My results are quite good, sometimes brilliant. And after this 8 months of working here, I am losing myself. I This video is very discouraging.

  50. I'm very cynical towards my colleagues, I don't form friendships with them, I only form good working positive relations with them. It turns out you're better off without having friends at work, you can be successful at your job and still maintain friendly relations with your colleagues.
    If you have toxic colleagues, or are not comfortable with the way you are treated at work, then it's time to think about looking for another job.

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