As if starting a new job isn’t scary enough, there is always a completely new culture to navigate. And though each place is unique, there are distinct types which surface in almost every office. Recognizing they exist and learning how to deal with them is key to career success. Consider this your field guide to common critters found in the workplace.
The Town Crier
Want information to get out fast? This is your go-to person. It is irrelevant whether you wanted it to get out or not. The Town Crier will get it done for you. It’s not that they’re malicious; they just like to be in the center of things by passing along information. Until you really get the lay of the land, assume everyone is a Town Crier waiting to happen and govern yourself accordingly.
Depending on the workplace, this person’s anger may be expressed dramatically or manifest as a festering seething under a thin layer of passive aggressiveness. Other people want to please them so they don’t have to deal with drama. Don’t show fear to this animal or be confrontational. In all interactions be confident, unflappable, and steady.
Like deformed frogs in polluted water, taking a close look at The Office Scapegoat can help diagnose what type of pollution is present in the office’s atmosphere. What qualities are punished? Why are they sidelined? This gives you a head’s up about what is really valued at the company, and what to expect in the future. I’m not talking about the values in their official mission statement, but the values they really uphold.
The Court Jester
Enjoy this character. Their humor is the glue that binds everyone together and provides levity to the workplace. Like an eco-system that depends on each species, the office environment needs the court jester to remain stable.
As much as political correctness would like us to believe otherwise, some people ended up where they are because someone thought they’d pretty up the landscape. It’s your job to pretend they got there fair and square. This is where you recite the “life isn’t fair” mantra repeatedly. You are also allowed to secretly wonder if the Office Hottie is you.
As your career progresses and you experience a variety of workplaces, you are destined to encounter these as well as other varieties of odd creatures. Be careful out there and don’t make any sudden moves.