Have you ever had a difficult co-worker?
I guess I am incredibly lucky - this is a first-timer for me. I mean, I've worked with some difficult people, but somehow managed to get along with them just fine. This person, on the other hand... He is one of a kind. I get a nervous twitch in my eye as soon as I see him. He is not mean, he does not yell at people, or throw temper tantrums, or use abusive language. No. He is "zanuda" - a person who talks for hours without delivering any useful information and leaving you confused and bored to tears. He talks, and talks, and talks, and jumps from one subject to the next, and his take-home message is "I am great. Everybody else is an idiot. Everything I do is so brilliant. I know everything! And if I don't know it - I'll pretend I do."
In the past, I've made a mistake of asking him questions/advice and he would give me wrong information. I don't know if it was out of malice or out of pure ignorance on his part - giving him the benefit of a doubt, I'll go with the latter. So... I do my best to avoid talking to him, which is not so good long-term, since we are supposed to be collaborating and the Boss frequently asks "Have you showed your data to N? Has he told you about his latest finding?". No and no.
I came into the group when N. was trying to get a certain procedure to work. It has worked in the past, but about a month before I joined, it started getting funky. I spend a month and a half on it and finally got it to work again (the problem was with some of the reagents going bad. N would insist that just because something expired it should not make any difference to the assay... right...). N then starts changing the conditions of the assay drastically, adding this and that, complaining that people who initially designed this experiment had no clue what they were doing, and claiming that the changes he implemented lead to dramatic improvements. I am yet to see the data. I tested one "super-improvement" that he mentioned - and it absolutely did not work.
There is still a chance the guy has a streak of brilliance somewhere deep inside, and is just a horrible communicator. Or maybe not. As another colleague said: the jury is still out on that one.