By Katie East
Everyone deals with the office jokester or has a work husband or wife to confide in during the 9-to-5. What would you do without the jovial deliveryman who breaks up the monotony of your day? And what about that lady who makes the perfect coffee?
When it comes to office stereotypes in the workplace, they’re usually true. And for good reason. Every job needs that cast of characters to keep the wheels spinning. If you lose just one piece of the puzzle it doesn’t fit right. Sure, the office tattletale is a pain, but he or she serves a purpose.
When you’re hired for a job you’re not just filling some arbitrary list of qualities and requirements bulleted out on Craigslist. You’re fulfilling a necessary social role within the workplace culture. Be aware of your role or learn how to overcome it.
The Tattletale is usually not a likable person. She’s like the narc of the office. There’s a way to keep the bosses abreast of situations and to not be hated by your coworkers. The worst thing the Tattletale can do is not address issues while they are happening and hold on to misconduct to use as fuel later. If you know that’s something you do, make sure to tell your coworkers when you feel that something isn’t right about their behavior. That way, they have the opportunity to fix it themselves or they know they could be reprimanded.
The Office Therapist
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Office Therapist; this is the role that I always find myself in at a business. This person is usually a good liaison and often holds a central position within the company like an office manager. He or she has a calm head and is great at putting out fires.
Being the Office Therapist isn’t always easy. You have to sit there and let everyone dump their problems and frustrations on you; that’s a lot of responsibility. This person is always a good listener and always gives solid advice. Naturally, everyone would want to come to them.
If you’re the Office Therapist, you can use that as collateral. As the mediator, everyone can feel the days you’re not there; remember that in those quarterly reviews. It will help you out when asking for a raise.
When I was leaving a particularly miserable job in New York City, I was shocked at how many people took me aside, teary-eyed, and told me how much they would miss me. I was there less than a year but as the office mediator, I clearly made an impact. The CFO almost cried and said: “You’ll miss us.”
I wanted to say: “Oh no, I’ll never think of you again. But you’ll tell tales of me for years to come.”
That’s the power of the Office Therapist.
It’s difficult for everyone to ask for a raise but near impossible for the Office Doormat. This is the man or woman that constantly goes above and beyond for the employers and never gets validation for it. They are rarely appreciated and don’t usually make a higher salary. Usually, the bosses come to expect the extra work and demand it.
If this sounds like you, get out while you still can. Once you’ve established yourself as the Office Doormat there’s really no hope at that company. You’ve let people know you are fine with them walking all over you and if you stand up for yourself now you’ll just seem like a jerk.
Run. Run away. And make sure you don’t repeat the same behavior at the next work place.
The only good that can come from the Office Doormat is that he or she can sometimes become the Office Martyr and feel some validation and importance. This is the person around the office who does everything—and never lets you forget it.
The office martyr has a signature tagline: “What would you all do without me?”
Our jobs. Now leave us alone and continue to kiss the boss’ ass.
The Golden Boy
Speaking of ass kissing, the Golden Boy is a staple at every job. That guy or girl who can never do wrong in the employer’s eyes.
The Golden Boy usually walks around with an air of confidence about him but its all talk. The Golden Boy isn’t really happy in his role because no one likes him.
If you’re the teacher’s pet at work, make damn sure it’s warranted. There’s nothing worse than the Golden Boy who’s also a slacker. You don’t have to win a popularity contest with your coworkers but you don’t want them to harbor resentment either.
So, which kind of employee are you? If you say “none of the above,” you’re probably in denial. The best kind of workers should strive to be a mix of all of the above—except the Slacker. Ain’t nobody got time for that.