Top 10 things that tick American people off

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Americans get really annoyed when people drive badly, smoke in no-smoking zones, or don't pick up after their dogs, but the rude behavior that bugs them most is workplace discrimination, according to a survey.

A poll released Friday by the Civility Initiative at The Johns Hopkins University and the Jacob France Institute of the University of Baltimore found workplace offenses featured highly on the "Terrible Ten" list of rude behaviors.

In the survey, 615 people from two companies in Baltimore and the University of Baltimore were asked to rank 30 examples of rude behavior ranging from text messaging when talking to someone, taking other people's food from the office fridge, to snubbing people.

Dr P M Forni, director of the initiative which promotes civility in the workplace and conducted the survey, said he was surprised discrimination topped the list above other more usual peeves in the workplace such as colleagues brushing their teeth in the water fountain,

"When a worker felt they weren't chosen for a project because they did not speak English as well as others, or felt they weren't promoted because of their national origin, age or sexual preference, they were really upset," he told Reuters.

"The American workplace is the most diverse in the world and the American worker is very sensitive to any kind of treatment that seems to be unfair."

Erratic or aggressive driving -- behavior typical of rush-hour commutes -- came second in the list with taking credit for someone else's work rounding out the top three.

Other working-world offenses on the list included treating service providers as inferiors and using cell phones during meetings to make calls or send text messages.

Forni said it seemed from this survey that people were starting to focus more on the big issues.

"Maybe people have become used to the micro indignities and have written off the prospect of any realistic possibility of redressing them so we have lowered our expectations," he said.

He said people were far more forgiving when family or friends behaved in a way seen as rude than work colleagues.

"With the long hours that are so common today in the workplace, the real determinant of our ability to have a good or bad day is linked to the people we work with," he said.

Here is the list of "Terrible Ten" behaviors:

1. Discrimination in an employment situation

2. Erratic or aggressive driving that endangers others

3. Taking credit for someone else's work

4. Treating service providers as inferiors

5. Jokes or remarks that mock another's race, gender, age, disability, sexual preference or religion

6. Children behaving aggressively or bullying others

7. Littering (including trash, spitting, pet waste)

8. Misuse of handicapped privileges

9. Smoking in non-smoking places or smoking in front of non-smokers without asking

10. Using cell phones or text messaging in mid-conversation or during an appointment or meeting.


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