Does Your Office Have a Know it All?

business cartoon about know it all co-workers

There used to be this guy at work who loved to correct you if you said something even a little bit incorrect. It was the best part of his day.

You’d say something like “I need to hit the ATM machine,” and then you’d cringe because you could feel it coming.

“You know,” he’d smirk, “technically the ‘M’ in ‘ATM’ is for ‘machine’ so you’re really saying ‘machine’ twice.”

He drove me crazy, and this cartoon is my revenge.

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Mark Anderson, professional cartoonist

About the Author: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website,, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons cartoon blog.


Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website,

12 Reactions
  1. “You know,” he’d smirk, “technically the ‘M’ in ‘ATM’ is for ‘machine’ so you’re really saying ‘machine’ twice.”

    This might be really a case of “different strokes for different folks”. For some people like myself I would find this opportunity to improve myself as a gift from the coworker. I might have responded something like “You know I never considered that, you are right I am repeating myself, I will try and stop.”

    In my opinion this is a personality type interaction. He might have been driven crazy by all these “a little bit incorrect” comments being made in the office and to keep from being driven mad occasionally blew off some mental steam by pointing out in his mind the worst of them. E.g. you may have been had only had a small percentage of possible issues pointed out, be happy.

    Look it is obvious that by this posting I am (and I assume he was) a ‘beaver’ personality. That is someone that is as concerned with how something is done as that it gets done. You have a different personality like maybe ‘golden retriever’ that is while getting something done ignore the little things (by your definition) and have enjoyment getting the task done.

    I understand that I made these comments based on a drawing (which I do like and most of your others) and some short text; there is a very good chance that I am completely off base. I am doing this partially because I am trying to improve my reading of other people’s personalities and how I should interact with them.

    No offense to you intended and hopefully none taken.

  2. Cute! It is a real turnoff to have someone constantly correcting you. I think they take pleasure is making others feel stupid. Needless to say, I avoid those types of personalities.

  3. Hi Mark,
    I got a good laugh today. Thanks. Since that’s your real goal with these cartoons, you succeeded!

    My wife and I call these people socially-challenged, not because we intend to be mean or cruel, but because they missed something growing up. They missed being heard. They missed the social cues when people tried to tell them, “lighten up” or it “isn’t about those kind of details right now…”

    Drawing into the business impact this behavior has in a small biz environment, it is pretty tough to re-calibrate a know-it-all. But they can dampen a productive workplace, that’s for sure. The ones who do it on purpose deserve to get teased. The ones who are clueless just need some calibration of when it is good to use your “inside voice”… taking that often heard comment of parents to children. Inside voice in this case would be — keep it inside your own head. Of course, some of them are about to get a great cartoon emailed to them…

  4. Martin Lindeskog

    It could be that the guy was a real besserwisser, but it could also be an individual who really is passionate about the language and the use of it.

    Mark: I will start to use and link to some of your material on my new homepage (powered by Posterous) now and then.

  5. Mark,

    Funny stuff.

    People who feel the need to always correct have some type of inadequacy in their own lives that they are trying to cover up. This need to be right is consistent with someone who lacks self-confidence. True wisdom is found in silence.


  6. Hmmm, I’m self employed without any hired help, so luckily there’s no know-it-alls…unless I am one. But then again, if I were a know it all wouldn’t I know it?

  7. Some people drive you nuts. Grrrr.

  8. WOW Mark – Whodda thought that so much psychological insight would have come from a single pane cartoon. But that is often the point isn’t. I love how your cartoons make us think.

  9. Yeah that kind of stuff could get you uninvited to a lot of things, like any conversation I’m involved in.

  10. Mrinalini Venugopal

    ha ha… this is damn funny