Punching Out: Irritating Colleagues and How to Get Around Them | The Full Frontal

Punching Out: Irritating Colleagues and How to Get Around Them

It’s no question – working life is hectic. 

You roll out of bed at 7 A.M. to catch an hour-long LRT ride, proceed to work for 8-9 hours, put up with your bosses and grab some Nasi Lemak on the way back home for some well-deserved rest. Tomorrow when your alarm goes off, you get to do it all over again; but we’re not about to bury you in existential dread. The meaningfulness is the in-betweens of the daily routine, as well as the people who fill it. 

Difficult people come in all shapes and forms, a diverse species of their own if you will. Safe to say, the Malaysian workplace comes in its own flavour of pattern colleagues. As you read this, you probably have someone in mind already. Someone who’s used your cup ‘accidentally’ all too many times. We’ve documented to top 5 patterns of those inhabiting the Malaysian workplace: 

1) The Bawang cum Backstabber

“Psst psst, wanna hear about Susan’s new fling?”. Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

You know this infamous subtype. She’s your best friend at lunch but when you clock back in, she’s throwing you under the bus in the manager’s room. These snitches can be highly dangerous if you’re on their bad side, it’s almost like they’re out to get you.


It’s tempting to play fire with fire. Be that as it may, we strongly advise you against it. Stooping to their level by poking the bear with gossip has never benefited a team’s synergy. Be the bigger man and let the quality of your work speak for itself. However, if matters escalate, consider having an honest conversation with your direct superior. Inform them about your concerns about the toxicity bred in the team and do it before a certain someone has poisoned the well. 

2) The Too Slow and Not Enough Steady

asian-young-women-feel-bored-when-she-see-her-colleagues-sleeping-business-concept 51186-32
“Don’t mind me, I’m brainstorming for new ideas. In my brain.”

These are the office peers you have to start an email with “Would you kindly please-”. Commitment is an unfulfilled promised, a wishful expectation of their ability to deliver on time. No amount of follow-ups could get the ball rolling unless you CC the Management in the thread. 


In the face of a deadline, this is a horrifying work ethic. While it might plausibly drive you insane, monitor your attitude and try not to lose your composure. Hostility is about as productive as your colleague’s indolence. When push comes to shove, try understanding what aspects of the task they are struggling with. A team dynamic involves close and selfless cooperation, in other words, a kind helping hand where it’s needed.

3) The Victims

This stock image of a colleague portrays unnecessary sadness created by self-pity and entitlement. Photo by cuinsight.com

The victim syndrome is a work ethic that many of those in the working class suffer from. These are the colleagues who are constantly complaining about the negative aspects of every situation. They feel they have no control over what happens and that the universe is out to get them. The missed deadlines and sloppy reports are never their own faults.


Don’t let them rain on your parade. Every cloud has a silver lining; which means you can almost always coax colleagues who overplay the victim card to talk about more positive engagement. Better yet, steer the conversation towards productivity by asking what could they have done differently for an ideal outcome.

4) The One Who Can’t Keep Their Hands to Themselves

gangguan seksual
Just don’t. Photo by mstar.com.my


Sexual harassment isn’t a laughing matter; the stigma surrounding the act of reporting such cases doesn’t warrant a chuckle either. It is a basic human right to be respected with integrity and to be free of unlawful harassment. As this is a broad topic, you can find out more about dealing with inappropriate sexual conduct in the workplace here.

Biting the Bullet

Although people may test your tolerance levels, that isn’t to say we should go all John Wick on them. Why not try your hand at some good ol’ fashioned friendly confrontation? Of course, this doesn’t guarantee a smooth delivery but with trial and error, we stand to gain a valuable skill set, maybe even one you can list down on your CV one day – conflict resolution. 

Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to workplace conflict. In light of this, it is imperative that we seek professional solutions that resolve issues by either disarming them with the truth, the quality of your work, or having a chat with your supervisors.

If you’re still fresh off college and still counting the days to end your 3-month probation, read our tips HERE instead.