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When I first entered the work-force, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was excited to start earning money and building some self-importance in this world, really make a name and a career for myself. I was also excited to make new friends and meet new people, seeing as I was fresh out of school and all. Don’t worry, this sickening exuberance wore off pretty quick.
At first I thought it was just plain bad luck that my workplace contained a collection of the world’s most annoying people. So I quit my job and moved to another, only to settle in and realise I was once again surrounded by the same types of people. This trend continued and, after discovering the Dilbert comics and ‘the office’ franchise, I realised it was a wide-spread problem, a pandemic almost! In every workplace there are inevitably the same types of people.
I’m not saying I’m a professional (or qualified) FBI Profiler, but I have watched my fair share of Criminal Minds and I’m pretty sure I’m awesome at it. So here it is, my break-down of commonly-found co-workers:
The loud talker.
Got a deadline looming? Maybe you’ve got a very important project you’re working on that requires your utmost concentration? Or, maybe you’re on an important phone call with a client? Too bad. No ear-drum is safe and no divide is too great when it comes to the loud talker. Somebody get that person a sonar, because the loud talker has no sense of depth and sound perception and absolutely no problem screeching at you from 2-feet away. Standing on the other side of the building? No problem, the loud talker can always talk louder, you know, just in case you couldn’t hear them because you’re deliberately standing 15 metres away.
What’s worse, they don’t even know how loud they’re talking and are completely oblivious to the fact they sound like a choking harp-seal who has swallowed a mega-phone. That means, when they’re trying to have a personal conversation, the whole office hears about it. There’s no such thing as a ‘discreet’ phone call or a ‘private word’. You don’t need to ask how their day has gone or how their kid is, you heard all about it, all day, like someone’s been using a live chicken to ring a gong in your head every minute, on the minute.
The new best friend.
Remember that time you text your colleague last year to find out what time the Christmas Party started? Big mistake, buddy. Ever since that ill-fated text, they’ve been overly-friendly and all up in your grill like they know you or something. All of a sudden they’re texting you at odd times, just to ‘check-in’ or ‘see how your weekend is going’ or invite you on a weekend away with them and their partner.
They also know all about your life now, because you felt bad for them and accepted their friend request on Facebook. There is scarcely a status that goes un-liked or a picture that goes un-commented on, usually involving some kind of personal joke that you have no understanding of. When you walk into the office on Monday morning you just know they’ll be camped out at your desk, waiting for you to arrive so they can kick off a round-table discussion and play-by-play on their entire weekend. Naturally you’ll be expected to not only act interested, but also provide the same level of detailed information on your weekend. Seriously, I mowed the lawn again. It was boring. Let’s move on and never speak… ever…. again. If only you had the courage to ‘block’ them.
You’re sitting at your desk, working away, and you see them approaching. It doesn’t matter how low you scrunch down into your chair and try and hide behind your monitor, they already know you’re there. They’ve already detected your scent and, as far as they’re concerned, you’re ready to get your chat on.
You make some small talk, the obligatory banter regarding the football scores or the printer being broken again, but then you’re out of material. You’re done and you’re busy. You give them a shrug and a smile to convey the conversation is over, but they aren’t moving, oh-no, they’re settled in for the long-haul. How can they not feel how awkward this moment is? The air is thick with ‘the awks’. I can feel it, the guy that sits next to me can feel it, heck I’m pretty sure the cleaner’s will still be able to feel it when they show up at 9pm tonight to vacuum.
A stand-off like this can last for a good 10-15 minutes without them getting the hint to move on. The longer they lurk, the more awkward you get and the more your tendency to ramble incoherently increases. Short of saying ‘Okay, we’re done here. Leave. Now. Forever’, there’s really nothing you can do but sit in silence until they eventually tire of you and leave. My tip, try to slow your breathing and stop moving, with any luck they’ll think you’ve keeled over and died at your desk and leave you alone.
The tissue-paper employee.
This person is the Bermuda Triangle of sick-days, it’s not even possible they have any more paid sick leave left, yet somehow they do. They consistently fall ill with a variety of mental and physical ailments. You can predict what will strike them down next just by watching the news. Minor outbreak of swine flu in Bratislava? They’ll have it by Tuesday. Two reported cases of meningococcal in Tanzania? They’ll be on home-quarantine for the next week. Been hospitalised with a rare congenital disease? They’ll claim they caught it off you and not only take time off ‘sick’ but also take extra time for rehabilitation.
As the major disease list starts to run thin they’ll work their way into mental health issues and a variety of ridiculous house-hold accidents. We’re talking things like a nasty scratch from their cat, a suspicious looking ant-bite or a lightly twisted ankle from their Thursday night Ultimate Line-Dancing Club. Their ‘sick days’ used to be met by eye-rolls from the rest of you, but now it’s common place and you’re almost surprised when you actually see them at work.
The happiness void.
Les Miersables, the one-person-stage-show-spectacular. Ain’t nobody got time for that. It wouldn’t matter if you’d all just received a 45% pay-increase, this person would still find a negative in it, something stupid like “Seriously? A pay-rise. Do you know what this means for me tax-wise now? Thanks a lot. THAT IS JUST GREAT”. The big question on everyone’s mind is why they even still work here or how they even still have a job. It’s clear they don’t like what they do and they don’t like their colleagues, I can only assume management and HR are too afraid to go near them to fire them in case they fall into the abyss of their desolation and never return.
Like a big, swirling vortex of joy, this person sits alone in a corner somewhere, sucking up any skerrick of delight and turning it into fuel for their full-time misery machine. Everyone tries to steer well clear of them and, heaven forbid, there should ever be an office move, there will be an inevitable mad-scramble for a desk as far away from them as possible. This scene is usually reminiscent of a movie about the apocalypse, where every man, woman and child turns into a rabid animal trying to fend for themselves. “Get out of my way bitches, I did my time.”
The self-important power-fiend.
Even on casual Friday, they’re still wearing a full suit and tie and you know for a fact they don’t have to see any clients. They always sit in meetings with that same faux-interested, smug look plastered on their face, nodding the whole time and laughing at ‘in-jokes’ to do with last year’s KPI’s.
They love to create more work for you, mostly to make themselves look like a proactive go-getter, when really they’re just a massive tool. Even though you do the same job and you’re on the same pay-grade, they always act like they are your supervisor and take the lead in any meeting. Basically they are your garden-variety, class-a mega-douche who will take any and all opportunities to rat you out to the boss and eliminate the competition. Watch your back, homie, they comin for ya.
Also known as ‘the only person in this place you can relate to’. Possibly the one person who isn’t totally insane (though that’s not 100% confirmed, especially given the people you’re comparing them too). They are someone you can confide in, trust and vent to. You cling to them like a life-raft, like that wooden door Rose clings to at the end of Titanic.
The ally can sometimes be the only thing that gets you to work, even if it is just to discuss all the reasons you didn’t want to come to work that day. Cherish them forever and remember, your only chance at sanity would be to quit before they do, because heaven forbid they leave you here alone at the mercy of the animals.
These are my top seven, I know there are many, many more so please share them in the comments section below.
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