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There is one in every office!
The people in your office.
It has been said before and I am sure it will be said many times again. But when you work in an office, you find that you are in a microcosm of the world.
The people that you work with in your office, you will find, represent the various types of people you will meet in the real world. The good and the bad, the humorous and the not-so-funny, the helpful and the helpless, the handy and the hindering.
There was a movie made once, that I cannot help but think about most of the time when I walk into work, and that is Office Space. It is, as you might think, a comedy and takes a satirical look at the workspace known as the âCubicle Farmâ.
What strikes me the most about this movie is that in almost every place I have worked, I have run into the character types that are presented in this movie, and I do mean all of them. From my time in sales, to working in the field as a network infrastructure tech, to working as a gas station attendant, I have met people that fit all the categories.
For anyone that might be reading whom I have worked with, do not try to read yourself into this article. While your persona may have helped to BUILD some of the people I am describing, they are in no way pointing out any one person. If you still insist on applying the personality to yourself, then by all means do so.
Image Credit to Adamr - www.freedigitalphotos.net
The Overly Happy Guy/Gal
Are they medicated or over-caffeinated?
So... you go into the office on a Monday morning. Have not yet had that first, all-important, cup of coffee, and you see them. Walking towards you with a smile on their face and a bounce in their step.
“Good morning John!”
Their jovial attitude for this early on a Monday morning makes you wish for nothing more than for them to have a sudden attack of spastic hemorrhoids. You watch them as they walk by you, continuing their cascade of morning salutations on their way to wherever it is that they were going.
Watching them, you silently wish that they would trip on something as they jaunt merrily along.
We have all been THAT person… not the happy one, but the Monday morning grump. And I think that every office as one of the cheery ones. The person that no matter what, seems to be perpetually cheerful or full of energy, and there is nothing wrong with that, unless you are one of the grumps… like me.
Every company I have worked for has had some version of the always happy, morning friendly, never down, employee. The one that would through quips out at you like, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” or “Turn that frown, upside down!”
While not necessarily a bad group of people, these are the ones that sometimes get on my nerves the most and the quickest. I always have to ask myself that internal question as to if they are happy because they are really that HAPPY, or is it because they are disillusioned or are they just medicated?
So keep being happy, just do not be upset if I try to pop your bubble.
Mrs or Mr Doom and Gloom
OK... You need to take what the happy guy is on!
Of all the people I am listing here, I think that I have been accused of being this one the most.
This is the person that, no matter what good comes their way, will always see the potential down side, risk or problem with it. And to be honest with you, I can really agree with this philosophy. It is like the old saying goes; "There is no such thing as a free lunch."
I try to avoid this behavior at work, but when you work in a place like I do, it is not always possible to not be this way, but I have seen and worked with people that are a lot worse that I have been or ever will be. These are people that when you are feeling good and buy an extra coffee and hand it to them and say, "Good morning, Bob!" The rest of the day they are trying to figure out what the catch is and when to expect it.
Sometimes, truth be known, that part in and of itself, can be fun too.
Office related items that might amuse you and tickle your senses.
Don't stop too fast, they will pop out of your mouth!
These people are usually spotted following any high-ranking employee at a couple paces behind them Usually so close that if the leader were to, for some emergency, make a sudden and unexpected stop, our follower would probably need to be removed by aid of a proctologist.
These people are not, thankfully, as common as they once were, at least in my field. You still see them in sales and insurance companies where they will be seen usually in the claims departments or on the sales side, but in technology, since you have to advance based on our knowledge, you do not see them as often.
It is fun to watch them work, though. They are almost completely lost without the opinions of their leaders to fall back on or agree with. You will usually see them offering ideas that are close to or similar to those that were already expressed by their leader at some other time. With JUST ENOUGH variance in them to make it sound like they were thinking along the same lines as their boss, but not exactly the same.
These people are, many time, short lived with companies. I think that this is because the managers begin to get tired of the constant barrage of "butt hickies".
The Over-organized Guy/Gal
Yes, the pens are organized by ink level.
This is who I WISH I was.
Fortunately I have only worked with two people like this, and in both cases they were so obsessive about their need to organize, that I have to think it was more than just a desire, but an uncontrollable compulsion.
They are the person that, when you go into their workspace, they live, eat and breathe the mantra, "...A place for everything and everything in it's place... and then find a new place for the items that you do not already have a place for." Paperclips are sorted be size and style, papers are place with exact nicety on the desk so that it is easy to know what is where.
The evil side of me likes to play games with these people, and the two people I worked with were targets of my evil ways on more than one occasion.
For example... I went into the office of one of my managers who was like this, and moved all the furniture about an inch to the side. It was not something that most people would have picked up on, but as I watched from a safe distance, he went into his office and looked around for some time and then spent the better part of the day reorganizing his office.
He even went so far as to measure the distances of bookshelves, tables and his desk to make sure that they were all in the proper place and distance.
Yes... later I did feel bad and went to him and apologized, and when I later met another manager that was similar, I chose not to play this game with him. But that little urge is always there. Hiding deep inside.
Hey, Cliffie... tell me about that again!
This is another one that I think, unfortunately, that I have a habit of falling into the classification of.
I am one of these people that reads a lot... A LOT. So I have accumilated all this silly, knowledge over the years. Some of it is interesting and some of it just out there. But I like to share and sometimes without be asked to.
One time I was told by a coworker that I was a "Walking Cacophony of useless information." A title that, at the time, I took as an insult and that now I wear as a badge of honor. The tidbits that I have learned over the years are part of me now and if I am every fortunate enough to find myself on a game show about little-known facts, I might just win!
But these are people that when you ask them if they have a mouse-pad, they will give you one, but also might regale you with the history of the mouse, mouse pad, and the family history of the inventors. I used to be a lot like that, then I learned how to interpret the "glazed eye" effect and can turn off the history lesson on command.
Be gentle with these people. They are well meaning and might be a pretty valuable ally of you are ever attacked by a band of roaming Trivial Pursuit pirates.
Sure, here's the knife, let me turn around.
I am pretty sure that we have all experienced this one.
The employee that seems to have your best interest in mind and wants to help you out with your issue. So you confide in them with your problem. Before you know it, the information that you shared or trusted them with, has now been relayed to the person that you did not want it to get to.
Worse yet, the shared information could be something that could get you fired or cause you to lose valuable friends withing the company.
Once you start working for any company, you should local these people and avoid them like the plague.
OR... You could have fun with them.
Share fabricated information that you know will make them look like fools to the others in the company.
Wait... no religion in the workplace?
You are walking through the cubicle farm, as you round the corner you see it. It accosts your sense like a five-day old glass of milk.
She was twenty-three difference crucifixes on her desk and the walls of the cube. There are quotes from almost all of the books of the New Testament. She has pictures of beaches with footprints, thorny crowns and crosses and a small glass vial that, allegedly, contains a splinter from the actual cross that Jesus was nailed to. Just like fifty million other people do. No one thinks about the fact that if you combined all those splinters, you would have a cross five-hundred feet tall.
She is, as you might have guessed, the office Evangelist. And every place I have worked has had one, no exceptions. Even when I worked for a wiring company where we only had about ten people, we had one. And he was on a personal quest to convert me.
Typically these people are high enough in rank, or have been with the company long enough that they do not worry about the possible repercussions from their regular sharing of the spirit. And if you do say something, usually the most that will happen is a slap on their wrist.
One that always tickled me was a Scientologist that I worked with once that was on a quest to draw in as many people as he could. Problem was that no one in the place we worked could afford his religion.
The Militant Feminist
You open that door for me and I will rip your heart out through your penis!
Years ago, I worked with a woman that was what I can only call a Militant Feminist.
I was raised with the understanding that you hold the door open for a woman, you greet women with, "Ma'am" or some other pleasantry. Above all, you try to be a gentleman around women. PERIOD.
This one particular woman, nameless, of course, was entering the department store I worked at at the same time I was this one morning and I opened the door for her and bid her a good morning. Before she walked through the door, she stopped and looked me dead in the eye for a moment and said:
"Do you think that because I am a WOMAN I am not able to open my own door?"
I explained to her, as I did in the above, that I was being polite and that this is the way I was raised.
She made a concerted effort to walk to the other door and opened it for herself and walked through, all the while telling me, "No... you are a misogynist as***le." And she walked away. From that point on, she never spoke to me for the couple years I worked for this company.
The next time I ran into a woman like this, what once again in a department store where I worked. One morning I saw one of our employees walking through dressed particularly nice, so I said, "Good morning , you look very nice today!"
She responded with a curt nod, but said nothing. A few hours later I was called into HR and spoken to about how what I had done was considered Sexual Harassment and then made to site through a four hour course on these kind of things.
To be honest, I think I fell asleep during the videos.
I will always remember these experiences, because they taught me that I need to treat the women in my workplace just as crappy as I treat the guys.
The Miracle Manager
In the Corps, we called them "90 day wonders."
There is a breed of manager that comes along that seems to have all the answers. Everything they touch, or so it seems, turns to gold. Their mere presence in a company makes the profits surges, the debts diminish and the morale go through the roof.
When they smile, birds sing and employees sign in ecstasy. Women gush at their approach and men suddenly feel a lack of testosterone around them.
They are the Miracle Managers.
In their offices you will see autographed pictures and books by Zig Ziegler, Tony Robbins, Gene Simmons (the exorcize guru) and the ilk. In some cases you will find copies of books by Norman Schwarzkopf, Collin Powell or Lee Iaccoca. You may see signs of the obsessive organizer that we spoke about earlier or, sometimes, the exact opposite.
The only thing that many of them fear is a direct confrontation with themselves or people like them and even the slightest possibility of failure.
While there are people like that have verifiable and real success in life and business, I always think of what, in the Marines, we called the "90 day wonders".
For those of you who may not be familiar with the phrase, it refers to the Officer Commissioning process that turns out newly commissioned officers that, in many cases, have no or little direct experience with the enlisted, how to work with them or how to coexist with them, and are typically so self appreciative of their bars that they can see little else over their gleam.
What you have just read
What you have just read should be read with a sense of jest. While there are some serious points that I covered, the majority of this is written with a certain level of hyperbole and is intended to poke fun at myself and others through a level of irony.
Thanks for reading.