Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...
No matter where you work, you come across a wide cross-section of individuals -- some you‘d like to hang out with outside of the office, and some you’d rather not deal with – ever. But no matter who your co-workers are now or who you’ve shared a workspace with in the past, there are a few specific types of people that always seem to pop up no matter where you work. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common career personality types - represented by characters from three of our favorite TV shows – Glee, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. See which ones you identify with most.
Every office has one – the person who seems to have a permanent smile plastered on their face, even first thing in the morning, before coffee. This person holds everyone else together – much like Pawnee, Indiana's favorite go-getter and team leader, Leslie Knope. The go-getter wants everyone to get along, always has a plan for improving the company and takes the rules seriously. Whether you like it or not, this person will at some point expect you to sign up for the office baseball league, participate in the office picnic and otherwise pretend to be having a good time with your co-workers when you'd rather be hanging out with your real friends.
The lovable loser
Like Liz Lemon, resident walking disaster and den mother to a motley crew of writers, producers and actors, there always seems to be someone at most workplaces who just can't catch a break. Maybe it's your still-single, slightly overweight boss. your cubicle-mate who still lives with his mom (at 40) or the woman down the hall with a series of ideas that always backfire – the lovable loser means well but will always be two steps behind everyone else. You can't help but want to hug them, but they're destined to continue spilling coffee on themselves, walking into things and dropping anything they pick up. It's OK, they're used to it.
The office bully
Some people take pleasure from other people's misfortune. Meet the office bully, who takes a page from Sue Sylvester's playbook and just seems to wait for an opportunity to intimidate others and make everyone else feel small and inadequate. If you make a mistake, the office bully will be there to point it out (in front of everyone). Should you have an idea for a new way to do something, the office bully will find a way to take credit for that idea. When things go wrong, the office bully is first to point fingers and deflect blame. While it may be funny on TV – is there anything funnier than Sue swapping sarcastic barbs with Mr. Shue? The office bully must not be taken lightly. Watch your back and keep your great ideas to yourself.
While the go-getter is out to find ways to bring everyone together and benefit the whole workplace, the know-it-all is only out for No. 1. Sure, they may inadvertently help out everyone else with their know-it-all-ness, but that was never their true intent. All they really want is to be No. 1 and tell you how to do things. Yes, Rachel Berry has a phenomenal voice, but her talent is knocked down a few notches by her need to be right – all the time. If you have a know-it-all in your workplace (we'd be surprised if you didn't), try not to engage this person. They will stop at nothing to prove you wrong, so you're much better off nodding and smiling, but not really listening.
The attention hog
There are people out there who need attention constantly. We don't know if they were neglected as children or perhaps overindulged during their formative years, but we do know they can't be alone or stay focused for more than 3 minutes without finding something to discuss loudly while everyone else is trying to work. We love Jenna Maroney, 30 Rock's bigmouthed bombshell, but like the person in your office who won't stop talking even after you turn and walk away, she just can't cope without an audience. The only thing we can suggest is to humor the office attention hog without getting too caught up in her antics.
The office slacker just doesn't seem to grasp the concept of responsibility. "Hard work" is not in their vocabulary and they are never going to be first in line to volunteer for extra projects. April Ludgate, the lackluster, apathetic office assistant in Pawnee's parks department spends more time texting than anything else and epitomizes the standard office slacker. Though it's tempting to get angry at this person, don't waste your energy. They will likely never be converted to hard workers, and trying to inspire them towards something resembling a work ethic will be a losing battle.