On the lovable TV show Sesame Street, Oscar the Grouch is a character that is portrayed as being cranky, rude and irritated every day of his life. He loves to surround himself with trash and he prefers to stay in his garbage can instead of coming out and enjoying his peers. Oscar has even admitted that he does not like anyone or anything that would be considered nice, hence his official title as “Grouch.”
In your office, somewhere in the building you have an Oscar The Grouch. Their garbage can is their cubicle and although they will never openly admit it, they don’t like anyone or anything that is considered nice in your office. They are rude to those who pass and they prefer the habitat of their office space to being in your office or location. They rarely have visitors because nobody wants to visit with them and they almost always walk in alone to your happy hour or office event, should they choose to actually attend.
The ironic thing about the Grouch in your office is they usually always think the problem resides with all of their peers. They will make statements like, “I don’t think I’m that bad” or “am I really that difficult to work with?” The answer is yes you are a pain in the ass and no, your not that bad, you’re beyond terrible and nobody appreciates you at all. The lack of self awareness in your Office Grouch is fairly shocking and begs the question to you, “are you the office grouch?”
Being nice in your office is not listed in your job requirements, but it is an unwritten rule of society that you should generally be nice. Google’s motto is “don’t be evil” and while nobody really truly knows what that means I can assure you that being nice is somehow intertwined in those words. Nice people tend to get more done. They have friends in the office that help them when they are out and they are never short on people who want to be associated with them. The Office Grouch will rarely have people who want to be their friends or help them and usually this person will leave the company due to their segregation and of course blame everyone on their way out as to why it didn’t work.
There is one exception to this rule that I think everyone should consider though. If the Office Grouch is stellar at their job then I tend to give them a slight pass. I want to be surrounded each day by people who are amazing at what they do and will ultimately help drive my company further into success. If I have to be surrounded by a few Grouch’s along the way then I can handle it, as long as they are the absolute best employee we could ever find. I’m in no way endorsing this behavior or attitude but everyone has to respect the job that someone can do with or without their behavior. It’s the same reason that professional sports teams continue to sign and spend millions on players that are cancerous to the locker rooms. They perform first; their behavior and attitude can be overlooked if they help everyone win.
Think twice the next time you go to snap at someone in your office. You may already be the Office Grouch and if that’s the case then make sure you are damn good at your job, or else you’ll find yourself both segregated and unemployed with no friends to speak of.