It has been estimated that we will spend 35% of our waking life at work. Working. With workmates.
For a lucky few, the people they work with become best friends, some even like family. These are the people who will bake you a cake for your birthday, invite you to after-work drinks, and maybe even stick up for you on a Monday morning.
For the rest of us, the workplace is heaving with lunatics and morons.
From nine to five, Monday to Friday, we slap on our best fake smile, grit our teeth, and suffer through awkward lift rides and conversations about their child’s gastro.
No matter where you work, each business has the same types. So we’ve pulled out our favourite five for you to avoid at all costs.
The office gossip
Like a small rodent, the office gossip will come sniffing around you from day one.
They’ll want to know who you are, where you’ve come from, and what you’re doing there. Are you single? What does your boyfriend do? What star sign are you? Sure, their abject curiosity will be masked behind a big, plastered-on smile – but don’t be fooled. You don’t want them to know anything about anything.
The office gossip lives for the annual Christmas party, and will be the first to report back with unexpected hook ups, throw downs, embarrassing drunks, or bottoms photocopied. They are the first person in the office to hunt you down and add you on Facebook (Access All Areas), and will loiter in the office kitchen for as long as it takes to find a willing audience for their latest goss on Jenny from Account’s divorce.
The party animal
Can you….can you smell vodka? Yes, you can, and it’s seeping from the pores of your office party animal. Sure, it’s Wednesday morning, but the party animal cares not for rules about mid-week drinking. They were up until 2am at the launch of their friend’s new pop-up bar in the city, and they’ve already offered to take you there after work for a few drinks.
The office party animal is the first to the drinks trolley for Friday afternoon drinks and has a ‘hangover’ kit always at the ready: Berocca, Panadol, Gatorade, and bacon and egg McMuffin. You might be wearing a lovely suit, buddy, but we can smell the cigarettes and red wine from here.
Quite literally part of the furniture, this person has been with your company for… well, no one knows exactly. Way too long. For some, this will have been their only ever job; for others, they are nudging their ten year anniversary. Once upon a time this may have won them a gold watch and a handshake – but in 2017, this is only going to raise questions about their emotional wellbeing.
The furniture knows everything about everything. They know that workplace like their own home, and are therefore can be asked about anything from the fire escape door security code, to where the paperclips are kept. Just don’t look for anything in their desk drawer: that thing hasn’t been cleaned out since 1997.
The ‘five minute break’
We all know this person: “C’mon, just take a five minute break!” This person does not like work. I mean, none of us really like work, but this person? This person is almost allergic to it.
After completing half an hour of distracted mashing of their keyboard – is that thing upside down? – they’ll go a’wander. Maybe they’ll go get their nails done, or scroll through Instagram in the tea room, or squeeze some blackheads in the bathroom mirror.
Be warned, the ‘five minute break’ they’re constantly encouraging you take with them WILL blow out to a full hour.
First they’ll want to quickly run to Wittner and check out the shoe sale, then maybe duck down to Starbucks for a latte, and before you know it, you’re twenty minutes into a makeup presentation at MAC and you’ve missed your morning meeting.
The future boss
Aw. The future boss is not so bad – in fact, you’ve got a soft spot for them. They’re just not cut from the same cloth, see. They are the born leaders, the naturally intuitive, the person who will be all like, “Hey guys, maybe it’s not such a good idea to let off the fire extinguisher in the meeting room?”
This person WILL be your boss one day, mark my words. They’ll rise through the ranks – in the nicest, most inoffensive way possible – and do a bloody corker of a job of it. They deserve it. But because this is work and you are now their employee, it’s your job to pout childishly and tell your workmates that you could do their role any day.