07/09/2009 10:56 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Ten Office Disruptors

Summer time is here, and when you manage to make it into the office you find that the Disruptors get on your nerves even more than usual. The best defense? A coffee run, closing the door, or blocking your cube. Our favorite strategy: working from your beach shack.

1. Unprepared
Never brings a pen to meetings. Forgot to read the memo. It's not just that he's an occasional dimwit -- we all have those moments when we suffer a mind leak. The problem is that Unprepared always seems to want to borrow your pen.

2. Cud
That crud a cow works over in its massive mandible all day long. Remind you of anyone? Like maybe your office's endless eater? It's bad enough that they eat more than the Three Little Pigs, but you are doomed to suffer the horrid accompanying sound effects.

3. Bad Comedian
Jokes spew from him like bees from a broken hive. The stand-up routine around the water cooler. E-mails. They're lame. Tasteless. A few are funny. Don't laugh, you're only encouraging him. There's no easy out -- except maybe the fire escape.

4. Yackety Yak
His constant chattering gives other people license to talk and then the volume rachets up exponentially. You can cough. Clear your throat. Nothing short of a brazen "Shut up!" clamps Yackety Yak's voice hole.

5. Swipe
That sticky fingered culprit who helps himself to things with every intention of never returning them. Staplers, pencils, notepads -- stuff from your desk vanishes. Even when you've deduced the identity of the Swipe, you still can't figure out what happened to the missing items. And Swipe never has anything worth swiping in return.

6. Buzzsaw
Loves to pepper his office jawing with buzzwords, heaping the latest terms and clichés on top of the old. A slang compost heap composed of "Shoot you an email," "Touch base," "Circle back," "Let's take that one offline," "Mission Critical," "Raising the bar," "Drill down." It's all just office filler. Pinned to the dingy carpet Buzzsaw probably couldn't explain half of their spewage. We're sure you'd agree "110 percent."

7. Space Invader
Crashes your personal space. If they're close enough to strangle you, they're too close. If you can make out the rotting molars, pitted acne and are overcome by the halitosis -- they're way too close.

8. Sound FX
Everyone has a Clicker, the frustrated musician who must click one object on their desk against another, like a pen against a coffee mug. Slurper can't seem to drink anything -- coffee, water, soup -- without that obtrusive sucking noise. And Squeaker, whose desk chair squeals every time he moves.

9. Vulture
Crashes any and all meetings that feature food. Many of these corporate parasites are so lousy for calories that they'll gladly stomach an extra meeting that has nothing to do with their work for an impromptu feed.

10. Play By Play
Can't make a move without broadcasting it: "I'm going to refill the toner!" "I'm off to the Mexican place for lunch!" "I'll be in the bathroom if anyone calls!" These phrases are rhetorical, you quickly learn -- no response is expected. And there's no way to stop the announcements. should bother us -- they just do.

Jonathan Littman is the co-author of the new book I HATE PEOPLE! (Little, Brown and Company; June 2009) with Marc Hershon. A Contributing Editor at Playboy, Jonathan is the co-author of the best selling Art of Innovation.