Friday, April 1, 2016

Office Archetypes

As I am about to reach my 10th anniversary with the company that currently employs me and with greater than 10 years at my prior company long behind me, I am acutely aware that every office has their archetypes and that recognizing and navigating them is about 75% of my effort in any work day.

I will list a few of these archetypes here.  See if you can recognize them.  Better yet, see if you recognize yourself in them.  Note: These archetypes cross both genders.  But for naming purposes only, they are defined as male or female.

EGO MAN - Ego Man is usually a tyrannical bully, if in a position of power.  If Ego Man is simply a coworker, he will be the worst coworker you ever had.  As a boss, he leads by fear and intimidation, keeping the weak and huddled masses that work for him, constantly churning out widgets with perfection and precision.  Every minor imperfection in the widgets is called out publicly as the only thing that keeps the minions in line is a public display of his disdain.  He tolerates no mistake as it will reflect poorly on him and his beloved departmental metrics.  He will cut and slash all personnel that run afoul of his demands.

HAPLESS HENRIETTA - Hapless Henrietta is the downtrodden serf of the department.  She is mousy and does not stand up for herself, which makes her easy prey for EGO MAN, who will run over her with the bus, back it up and do it again, just to make sure she is sufficiently covered in tire marks.  Hapless Henrietta approaches you tentatively and timidly as she has had so many brutal encounters with Ego Man that she is like a shell shocked war veteran. She trembles visibly when asked to speak in meetings and usually talks to the table when she does speak.

NICE GUY EDDIE - Nice Guy Eddie can't say no. He is so vested in smoothing out the jagged dynamic caused by Ego Man that he always says "yes" as a peacekeeping method.  As a result, Nice Guy Eddie is overwhelmed and under-appreciated.  He has double or sometimes triple the workload of his coworkers because people come to him as a path to least resistance to getting things done.  He makes it easy on everyone but himself.  Nice Guy Eddie is usually lost to burn out and ends up leaving corporate america and taking a job scooping Italian Ices.

FAVORITE SON - This guy is usually a manager.  He has many children, but the only one you hear about is his sports star son. He lives vicariously through this superstar, following him around the country, sharing every shred of coverage that he gets in the paper and peppering the staff with stories of the spectacular athletic prowess that the child showed at an early age.  Every encounter/question that you have with Favorite Son is answered with an extremely unhelpful sports analogy.  Because he can only value one thing at a time, he will have one favorite employee as well.  It is likely that the favorite employee will be the one that makes his job easier, leaving more time to talk about sports and his little superstar.

Recognize any of these?  I suspect you do. And it is likely that you see yourself in one of these types. I don't want to tip my hand but I might know a little something about one that rhymes with Shmyshe Pie Shreddie, but I'll leave a little mystery there.

The only satisfaction that I take from this is knowing that Ego Man probably has a mircropenis and and likes to wear diapers and be humiliated in the bedroom.  A chronic bed wetter, his overbearing mother probably aired his dirty sheets to humiliate him out of pissing the bed.  This only extended his problem past childhood and kept...ok, Dr. Diary could go on all day analyzing and theorizing, but I wont.  I could.  But I won't.  I could do a character assassination of epic proportions here, but as a Shmyshe Pie Shreddie, I'm just gonna let it go.

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