The 5 Worst Types Of People To Work With Over The Christmas Holidays

It's not the most wonderful time of year for us all.
The worst colleagues to work with over the holidays are the ones who assume too much.
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The worst colleagues to work with over the holidays are the ones who assume too much.

Although the holidays can be a joyful time, they can also be a hard, stressful season with end-of-year deadlines and family obligations. Your colleagues can make this special time of year easier or harder, depending on their holiday attitudes.

“It’s that magical time of year where many of us start to forget what day it is and what time it is,” said Jacqueline M. Baker, founder of Scarlet Communications, a leadership training consultancy. “Unfortunately, it’s also that time of year that many of the things that we are careful and more diligent about, like workplace behavior and habits, also take a bit of a slip.”

Baker said that “even during the holiday season when schedules are a little different, calendars are a little bit more empty, and even the workplace has more of a ghost town feel, we have to still remember appropriate behaviors and actions to avoid turning your colleagues off and going into the new year with a few unexpected enemies.”

Here are the kinds of co-workers that will get lumps of coal in their stockings and create unnecessary office nemeses over the holidays. Don’t be one of them.

1. The ones who force merriment.

Among the worst kind of holiday colleagues are the ones forcing everyone to be jolly and partake in festivities. But the fact is, there are many reasons why others in the office may have little desire to be cheerful at work right now.

“If your company recently laid off people, including a close co-worker, it may be tough to feel joyful during the holiday season. One of the biggest mistakes managers and teams make is forced holiday fun,” career strategist Ana Goehner said. “When a co-worker makes you feel like you aren’t a team player if you don’t participate, that’s forced fun. You feel obliged to show up with a big smile on your face, spend money, buy unnecessary things, etc., just to feel like you are a part of the team, and fun to be around. It feels like you are buying acceptance.”

Holiday festivities like Secret Santa exchanges should be opt-in with no peer pressure to participate.

“Not everyone has the money to buy a gift for such exchanges and assuming everyone will participate is very inconsiderate,” said Pattie Ehsaei, a senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions lending for a major national bank and the “Duchess of Decorum” on TikTok.

And, if you’re a manager, you should go one step further and make clear that no one who works for you should feel obliged to get you a gift.

Even with the holidays, work is still work, and you should not assume that everyone wants to hear you blast Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” either.

“Have your decorations or holiday spirit started to spill over into other people’s cubes or workspaces making them uncomfortable or annoyed? Keep your cheer and holiday fever in your particular workspace,” Baker advised.

2. The ones who assume single people don’t need holiday time off as much as others.

Colleagues who make judgments about who deserves the holiday break are among the most unpleasant. Too often, people assign holiday shifts to employees who are single or don’t have children under the mistaken assumption that they need the time off less than their peers who are married or parents.

A reader named Emily previously told HuffPost that she was always the one who had to sacrifice holiday time off at her job because she was the only team member who was unmarried and without a child.

“It did so much damage to my relationships — family upset I could never join them for gatherings, significant other frustrated that I allowed work to become a priority over our relationship and home. It nearly broke us up,” Emily said.

A more compassionate colleague understands that everyone deserves time off, regardless of what people assume about their personal life.

“Just because someone has made a life decision to not get married or have children doesn’t mean that they should be treated differently as it relates to holidays, holiday schedules, and festivities,” Baker said. “Be mindful of making work schedule assumptions and judgments based on someone’s personal choice around marriage and children.”

3. The ones who assume everyone is celebrating the same holidays they do.

Although many workplaces offer Christmas as a company day off, it does not mean that everyone is celebrating the religious holiday. Co-workers who make this assumption risk excluding their colleagues.

″‘Everyone is Christian’ people go around wishing everyone a ‘Merry Christmas,’ all conversations are Christmas-related and they also act like you’re a weirdo if you’re not putting up a tree, decorating, or Christmas shopping,” Ehsaei said.

4. The ones who pressure their colleagues to meet a bunch of deadlines in December.

“One type that is very difficult to work with during the holidays is the person who does not respect the wind-down as the holidays get closer,” said Angela Karachristos, a career coach who has worked in human resources. “This person –– many times a manager –– minimizes the importance, significance and frankly the reality that as the holidays draw closer, people’s attention and energy is focused on preparation and celebration.”

Career coach Jasmine Escalera, for example, recalled working for a boss who did not believe in the idea of “circling back in the new year” and put a lot of artificial deadlines on her team over the holidays, “even though the focus of this time of the year is to close things out.”

“It can destroy people’s holiday season,” Escalera said.

If managers really want to celebrate the holidays, they should consider the gift of time so their employees can do what they need, Escalera said.

“I think companies should just give you two weeks off at the end of the year and leave you alone. That would be brilliant,” she said. “Time off, no use of PTO, you’re still getting paid and you just get to relax and celebrate the spirit of the holidays in however you so choose.”

5. The ones who check out and expect colleagues to work hard in their absence.

The holiday season can be a time to take it easy, but the worst colleagues are those who leave all their to-dos on your plate while they head off to be merry. More mindful colleagues would not put any expectations on their team members to finish projects they started.

“The best way to show that you care about your colleague is to leave only a few tasks for them to do in your absence. You worked hard and deserve to take time off, but don’t put your end-of-year tasks on your colleagues,” Goehner said.


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