Top 5 Office Pet Peeves: Not My Department

Some other guy did it.  “People not taking ownership for their actions” tops the list of workplace pet peeves for Americans and the world.

A new global survey by social networking site LinkedIn found that in the U.S., rounding out the top three office peeves are “constant complainers” and “dirty common areas” including community microwaves or refrigerators.

“People not taking ownership for their actions” was also the most common pet peeve globally, chosen by 78 percent of total respondents.

But not all pet-peeves are equal when it comes to gender, the survey found.

In the U.S. women reported being more annoyed than men by “clothing that’s too revealing for the workplace.”  That bothered only 29 percent of the men surveyed, but 62 percent of women.

LinkedIn conducted the research in 16 countries and collected data from 17,653 professionals . In the U.S., LinkedIn surveyed 1,953 people.

The office pet peeve that bothered hiring managers (65 percent) more than non-hiring managers (55 percent) in the U.S. was “showing up late for meetings.”

American professionals are more peeved than professionals in other countries when it comes to taking food from the refrigerator that isn’t yours, and the U.S. was the eighth most peeved-out country in this regard.

The country with the most pet peeves is India –on average, Indian professionals selected about 19 of the 38 pet peeves listed in the survey. Italy had the fewest aggravations. LinkedIn said Italian professionals, on average, selected about 15 of the 38 choices.

Some of the biggest pet-peeves in other countries were:

Brazil: most peeved by excessive gossiping

Germany: dirty common areas (such as a dirty community microwave or refrigerator)

India: loud or irritating mobile phone ringtones

Japan: office pranks

Nicole Williams, LinkedIn connection director and author of career book Girl on Top, said if you are the peeving offender and are confronted about a pet peeve, it’s best to say thank you and take the constructive criticism to heart.

“I hear a lot of ‘well-that’s-your-problem’ kind of defensiveness and out and out crying-level drama.   Keep in mind it’s not easy to confront peevers and they have to be invested in you and your talent to bother,” she said.

Top 5 Pet Peeves in the U.S.:

1. People who don’t take ownership of their actions.

2. Constant complainers

3. People who don’t clean up after themselves when using the fridge, the microwave or other common areas.

4. Boring meetings that start late or go way too long.

5. People who consistently seem to miss your email.


A total of 38 pet peeves were listed in the survey:

  • Loud typing
  • Loud talkers / people who take calls on speakerphone
  • Loud or irritating mobile phone ringtones
  • Listening to music or videos without headphones
  • People chatting by your workspace
  • Humming/whistling/tapping
  • Chewing gum
  • A pungent-smelling lunch
  • Taking food from the refrigerator that isn’t yours
  • Dirty common areas (such as a dirty community microwave or refrigerator)
  • Not putting things in the office kitchen/pantry back where they belong
  • People throwing things in your garbage
  • Messy desk
  • People borrowing and not returning items from your desk
  • Too much perfume
  • Grooming (filing/clipping/polishing nails, tweezing, etc.)
  • Clothing that’s too revealing for the workplace
  • Constant complainers
  • Eavesdropping and then chiming in
  • Excessive gossiping
  • Too much talk about health issues, spouses, children
  • Colleagues who make too many personal phone calls
  • Office pranks
  • Too many meetings
  • Starting meetings late or going long
  • Showing up late for meetings
  • Using phone or laptop during meetings
  • Hitting “reply all” on mass employee emails
  • Being CC’d on a long email string that doesn’t pertain to you
  • People that don’t respond to emails
  • People who send too many unimportant e-mails
  • Not filling an empty printer with paper
  • Overachievers that pander to the boss
  • Overuse of workplace/industry jargon
  • Trivial interruptions
  • People who are first in and last out “just because”
  • Coming to the office when sick
  • People not taking ownership for their actions
  • Other (please specify)