How not to be an office Karen

Workplace

How not to be an office Karen

Have you ever been stuck in a queue, held up by an angry person demanding to speak to a manager, because of something that probably could have been settled there and then? Maybe a joke didn’t go down too well with them, or they gave off a strong air of self-entitlement? Well, if so, you have more than likely come across a Karen

Maybe these traits are all too familiar. Maybe you are a Karen yourself or, perhaps, you know one? Are they the Karen of the office? Whichever it is, here are a few pointers on how not to be an office Karen!

1. Rein in the passive-aggressive emails

Try reining in the passive-aggressive tones in emails – and in notes for that matter. “As per my last email…” can read a lot like “like I said, you idiot…” 

Maybe you change the way you end emails depending on the subject or how frustrated you are, for instance, does ‘kind regards’ become just ‘regards’ when you’re annoyed? It’s best to just create an email signature that’s professionally friendly, and just stick to that.

2. Respond appropriately

Whatever the scenario or problem, always meet it with an appropriate response. The memetic Karen pictures of the internet often show an angry woman with the understanding being that she goes over the top and is overly demanding. Be reasonable, respectful and assess each case by merit. If in the office, a mistake has happened, or you’ve got a grievance (especially a minor one), take it up with the appropriate person and try to resolve it calmly.

3. Let someone else take the lead

If you’re always the one taking charge (unless you’re in a leadership or management capacity), step back every once in a while to let others have a go. Maybe it always has to be you organising things like work socials, where people go, and office decorations. Then, added on top of that, you may be the one getting extra stressed, taking it out on other staff members or always having to be the one to be confrontational. Sit back, relax and get on with your day’s work from the comfort of your own desk. Whenever there’s a work outing, are you always complaining and causing a scene? If there’s a problem and other colleagues think so too, let someone else take the lead for once. 

4. Keep calm

One of the surest ways to be typecast as a Karen is to go from 0-100 on the angry scale in no time, especially in situations where it really shouldn’t warrant it. You may find yourself programmed to go into a rant mode and start demanding things, yelling out your rights, being needlessly pedantic or being intentionally difficult. Regardless of who is in the wrong, try to remain calm and level-headed. Use those comfy office sofas and breakout areas to help destress.

5. Have a laugh

And finally, try to have a laugh! Sounds simple, but the Karens of the world are named so to fit the modern-day definition of a person who is very serious, often angry and very entitled. It’s important to remember that everyone has a job to do and mistakes can happen; everyone is not always out to get you or do you wrong. This also applies to office banter and jokes. Try not to get too offended when colleagues are bantering, especially when you understand the joke. Play along, relax and if you personally know an office Karen, try to have a laugh with them!

What’s your office alter ego, we wonder? Are you the office Karen, the Jobsworth Jane or the Banter Barry? Take our mini, fun quiz to find out! And if you find out you are indeed a Classic Karen, well, bookmark this page!

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Lyndsay Carling
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