How to Be Diligent Without Being Annoying

Julie Shenkman
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Many administrative assistants put in a long day at the office and go home thinking they have been diligent, hard workers all day without realizing that, in reality, they are driving their co-workers crazy with their bad habits. Bosses sometimes allow these annoying work habits to continue because they value their assistants. It is possible, however, to keep that diligent attitude while losing the annoying work habits. Here are five tips to do just that.

Stop Giving Advice

Often the very best assistants are the ones who know the most about their jobs, about the company and about their field of work. Sometimes, however, all of that knowledge spills over into becoming a know-it-all. Being diligent and making sure the job is getting done properly does not necessarily entail giving unsolicited advice. Assistants who want to succeed should wait to be asked for advice before offering it.

Be on Time

Arriving late to work and to meetings throws off everyone else's work schedule. Wasting your co-workers' time is the kind of annoying work habit that eventually can get an assistant fired, even if she is being diligent to get her own work done on time.

Avoid Asking for Too Many Favors

In a well-run office, workers cooperate with one another and are typically happy to help each other out. Assistants step across the line, however, when they make a habit of constantly asking for favors. If you have never bothered to learn how to change the printer's toner or you repeatedly ask others to send faxes for you, your co-workers and boss may wonder whether you are earning your wages. True diligence at work requires a degree of self-reliance. Learn to do things on your own to keep this annoying work habit at bay.

Stay Home When You Are Sick

Often employees think it shows their dedication and diligence when they drag themselves out of bed while sick to get to work. Actually, doing this shows extreme disrespect to your co-workers and a lack of concern for their health and well-being. If you are sick, stay home until you are not contagious any longer.

Stop Throwing Workday Parties Without a Good Reason

Everyone knows the co-worker who throws a party to celebrate the fact that it is Wednesday. While this employee undoubtedly thinks she is adding to office camaraderie, in reality, she is disrupting the work schedule. Often other employees feel awkward because they realize there really is nothing to celebrate, and they just participate in the festivities to avoid being rude. If this is you, recognize this behavior as an annoying work habit, and save the parties for times when there is truly something to celebrate.

Administrative assistants are so vital to the proper functioning of a company that any annoying work habits they bring to the office can be truly disruptive. Take a look at your own work habits or at those of your assistant to make sure that what you perceive as diligence is not seen as annoying to your co-workers.

Photo courtesy of 89studio at


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  • Thelma G.
    Thelma G.

    Well said. Worth sharing.

  • Virgie W.
    Virgie W.

    I plan to print and keep. Not just for me for others who pretend not to know how to change the printer cartridge or send an e-fax or hide during the course of the day. Yes, this really happens. Discuss that at some point. Thank you.

  • Valentina P.
    Valentina P.

    I just wish I could get back into this field again I might actually enjoy some of this. When its gone you do miss some of it! Was layed off 4 years ago due to the economy and miss the office world so much! Help! Looking in Northern NJ (Bergen County) thanks....

  • Sheri M.
    Sheri M.

    Amen common sense! :-)

  • Carol Young
    Carol Young

    just common sense!!!!

  • Deborah S.
    Deborah S.

    This is very good advice, especially about staying home when you are sick. Of course, it can be difficult for people who have jobs where they have no sick days allowed. Each day missed is a day less pay. That can really hurt the budget when you don't make much more than minimum wage.

  • Denise B.
    Denise B.

    If you can see someone is on the phone, do not talk and interrupt them, but if urgent matter - give them a note and leave.

  • Peter Monie
    Peter Monie

    Very valuable information. No matter what job I hold, I don't want to annoy my coworkers and bosses.

  • Mary Omisore
    Mary Omisore

    really insightful.


    Hahahaaha, really?

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