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  • Kristen Herring-Asleson

Petty? Bitchy? Snarky? Just Quit It Already!


Petty behavior can be hurtful and slow down the efficacy of a project or event.


If you find yourself being that petty person, ask yourself why you are doing what it is that you are doing.







As many movements, causes and groups have focused on supporting and empowering women, one would think that catty or petty behavior in the workplace would dissipate slowly. Based on recent personal experiences and stories heard from friend groups, that may not be the case.


Catty or petty behavior rears its ugly head in many ways. This week, while attempting to begin the organization of a small-town event, I had an interaction with another person involved in planning the event that undermined my own work in an unnecessary way. This person also impeded my own efforts to further my work on the event.


I'm pretty sure I didn't step on any toes and wasn't behaving offensively myself. I wondered: Was this simply an act of pettiness? Part of being effective when planning events is effectively working together and collaborating with others. My interaction with this co-planner felt like a petty power play, trying to diminish and limit the success of another.


A friend shared a similar story of the office politics and petty behavior at her workplace. In her office, there are five administrative staff who all report to one manager. Of those five, one has appointed herself as the supervisor, even though she has zero authority over the other four. However, she notices every mistake made, and takes it upon herself to let the manager know what the mistake was and who made it, no matter how minor the mistake was.


Along those same lines are the staff members who feel the need to carbon copy the boss on every communication. In addition to being petty, this is also an action of intimidation. If you have made a mistake that needs rectifying, get ahead of the game before the petty person ropes them in. Then, the best part of receiving their email when it finally shows up in your inbox is being able to say, “Thank you Betty, but we are already discussing this.”


And, for those of you who are dealing with coworkers who feel the need to take credit for most of a project that a team did, there is an easy fix. Without making yourself look like an attention grabber, change the petty person’s “I” to “we” and switch the focus from an individual to a team who worked together.


Pettiness and cattiness can appear in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Either way, they can be hurtful and slow down the efficacy of a project or event. If you find yourself being that petty person, ask yourself why you are doing what it is that you are doing.

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