Do You Work in a Loony Bin?

January 26, 2010 ( – Do your co-workers sometimes take their “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” act a little too far in the office?

If you think some of your colleagues need to join Jack Nicholson’s fictional loony bin, you are not alone; a new CareerBuilder survey finds 39% of employees recently polled feel much the same way.

The online job site company’s poll found that more women (42%) than men (37%) say they feel like an office outlier because of their co-workers’ curious behavior. Health care, sales, and professional and business services workers top the specific industries where more workers feel that they don’t fit in. Those sectors are followed by leisure/hospitality and IT.

“Today’s workplace is made up of many different types of people and sometimes, behavior can come across as being crazy or inappropriate for the office,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, in a news release. “Communication is key to dealing with co-workers’ behavior that may be impacting your ability to produce good work – for whatever reason. It is important to identify why their behavior is bothering you. Often, having a professional conversation with your co-worker will solve the problem and allow everyone to work in harmony.”

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of among 5,231 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between November 5 and November 23, 2009.

'Crazy' Office Behavior from Survey

Workers shared some of the craziest things their co-workers have done on the job:

  • Co-worker ate the cheese off the pizza box at a company meeting.
  • Co-worker talks openly about flatulence.
  • Co-worker in the next cubicle wears 3-D glasses with the lenses removed.
  • Co-worker repeatedly bangs a mallet on the table for no apparent reason.
  • Co-worker whistles eight hours a day.
  • Co-worker chews tobacco and spits it into empty soda bottles.
  • Former boss brought a baby sippy cup to a meeting and started drinking out of it.
  • Co-worker cleaned fingernails using a counterpart’s business card while sitting in their office.