This person is always happy, seemingly to the point where going to work on any given day is the best thing that has ever happened to them and they want to share their joy with you. Every time they go to grab a tea or coffee, they invite you along as though you’re a pair of Hobbits going on a quest that will take nine hours of your life and change you both forever! This person will pass you funny notes or send you amusing emails or more memes than you ever thought existed of cats using inaccurate grammar and spelling. They will make it their life’s mission to get you to join them in all occasions outside of work hours, whether it is for social drinks or for an epic round of laser tag, followed by pizza and a bank heist. You may cringe at the thought of this person forcing themselves into your life, but truth be told, they make the daily grind a little brighter, so cherish their cheerfulness. No matter how much it bugs you, because anything else is just plain boring.
This person has a razor sharp wit and wields it with deadly skill. Be wary of how much personal information you give this verbal ninja, because they can (and will) use it against you in some witty remark at their first opportunity. If you’re lucky, you can get this person on your side, which is definitely advised, as they make a valuable ally in any office. This person always has something to say and it’s always entertaining. Keep your laughter in check though, because you don’t want to crack up in front of your boss during a meeting about Key Performance Indicators. Although, if you did, your witty bodyguard could easily diffuse the situation with another quip. Be warned though, the Wise-Guy or Girl comes in two forms: the previously mentioned entertaining version and the less-evolved douchebag version. This one is not fun and not clever, but thinks that they are. They will always have something to say when they should just shut up and every time they open their mouth, you just want to grab the nearest stapler and close those flapping lips for good.
We all know this one. What’s scary though, is that they know you as well. Everything about you. You don’t even know how this person knows that you visited your parents last weekend. Or how they know what you had for dinner last night. Got a crush on the new girl in sales? The gossip has already told her everything about you, including that time you peed your pants in first grade because you couldn’t find a bathroom. By the way, sales-girl isn’t interested anymore. As far as colleagues go, this one is just plain terrifying. In fact, they might be peeking through your window right now, or hiding under your bed with a meat cleaver. Sweet dreams.
Otherwise known as the workaholic, this creature is so committed to work that they absolutely refuse to take a single day off, even when they are genuinely sick. Seriously, they could cough up a kidney and keep on doing what they do. They’re the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave. Sometimes they even work through lunch! This person is so annoyingly committed to doing their job better than everyone else, you find them infuriating. You don’t fully understand why, they’re not hurting anyone. There’s just something about them that rubs you the wrong way. You are almost certain they have a pillow and a sleeping bag under their desk so that they never have to leave.
This one speaks for itself. This person will mother you like you were their own child. Stereo-typically, this role in the workplace is taken by a middle-aged woman with children of a similar age to you, but don’t be too surprised if you come across the rare breeds of Man-Mother or Young-Mother. The Mother will take you under their wing from day one, immediately making it their duty to look after you. They’ll make sure you get your work done on time, they’ll help you keep your desk tidy, and they will offer sage advice that comes from their years of wisdom and experience. They may seem condescending and annoying at times, but don’t let this fool you. When you inevitably have issues with other colleagues, they’ve got your back. Much like the mother eagle, if her chick is threatened, she is ready to use her razor sharp talons to scratch out eyeballs. And, as an added bonus, she will decide that you don’t know how to feed yourself and constantly invite you to her house for a free meal, where you will meet her potentially sexy daughter. Or son, depending on your situation. Good news, they’re mother clearly already approves of you. Make your move!
This is a smarmy creature that deserves to be set on fire and beaten with iron rods until you douse the flames using bags of salt. They’ll call you out publicly for any mistake you make, no matter how small, then never let you forget it. They will take credit for your good work. They will talk down to you, as though you were a six-year-old simpleton, often and loudly. They will spread rumours about you and make sure that every day you see each other is absolute hell. They will think it’s great fun! How to handle this monster, you ask? Well, take on the persona of the BFF and you will annoy them to no end. Happiness is their weakness, so use it against them. I’d suggest slashing their tires, but this is generally frowned upon in any workplace, so kill them with kindness, instead. Go forth, young Padawan!
They simply don’t care and let you know it. They seem to dislike every aspect of their job, yet show no signs of resigning. If there is a uniform, they will refuse to wear it, or at least won’t wear it properly. They won’t talk about work at all, unless they’re complaining about it and the “corporate leeches capitalizing on the blood of the consumer” paints a pretty picture doesn’t it? They’ll bore you with in-depth details about their novel that they’ve written as an independent author and, if you look over their shoulder, you’re more likely to see them writing an article for an online blog than doing work for his day job.
Watch out for this one, because they are just plain horrifying. They are so quiet and reclusive it took you six weeks to realize they even work there! You could be working away at your desk and get that feeling run down your spine that says someone is watching you. You turn around and see the quiet one standing right there, staring down at you with a blank and creepy look in their eyes. Don’t be fooled into thinking that their quiet nature is that of refined self-control. No, this person is most likely imagining all the ways they could kill you. Just bear in mind that all offices contain a large supply of sharp objects, such as scissors, pens, box-cutters and shredders. You better make sure you know where your nearest emergency exits are, because one day that creepy silent one will bring lunch for everyone to share, and that lunch will be lead bullets. Eat up!
It may not be politically correct to call them this, but you know it’s true. They are so blissfully unaware of, well, pretty much everything, that you are almost jealous. Ah, to have that innocence of a young child strive in your adulthood. It must be glorious! Sure, they might occasionally get lost on their way to the bathroom, but that just means every pee-break is an adventure! You might occasionally catch them staring at a shiny object for half-an-hour or so, but when was the last time you were so easily entertained, with all of your internet, iPads and Facebook? The simpleton can make even the most boring days seem full of wonder, and if nothing marvelous happens, you can easily help them along by suggesting to your team that you all do the general knowledge quiz in the paper. The wonderfully inaccurate things the simpleton will say as though they were fact will amaze and astound you for years to come.
This is quite possibly the most infuriating person you will ever work with. Everywhere they go, the move like they have a deadline that, if they miss, they will literally die. They move like it’s NASCAR without the cars. They power-walk or flat-out run everywhere inside the office, almost knocking you down more times than you care to count, giving you not even the slightest hint of an apology, instead only carrying on and looking at you like you were just stupid for being in their way. And they don’t just move quickly. No, that would be too simple! They stomp. Everywhere. Every time they pass your desk, they shake everything to the point that you think it’s Jurassic Park and a T-Rex is on your tail. You will undoubtedly harbor urges to trip this person when they pass and see how far their speed carries them before they face-plant on the floor. My record is 4 meters.
So, you’ve just landed your first job in an office. Congratulations! This all must be new and exciting for you, right? Maybe a little confusing at times? What about the people? What can you expect from them? While all offices are different, some similarities remain, generally in the people you will meet. The following people can be found in almost any office, no matter what your job specifically is. Hopefully this little guide will help you understand the people you interact with on a daily basis, just so it’s that little bit easier to survive the daily grind!