Field Guide to North American Office Staff

7 May

Regardless of how true it is that every person is unique in their experiences, interests, and strengths,  everyone’s had an unexpected deja vu when shaking someone’s hand for the first time.

Whether it’s a face or a personality, humans are always drawing comparisons from people we are meeting to people we already know. That feeling goes away the better you get to know someone, but first impressions take a while to shake, particularly if that impression was that you might as well have already known the person in question.

I’ve worked in a number of offices (Do you like how I won’t reveal how many? I think it’s cute), and I’ve met a number of interesting people there (Do you like how I won’t revealing how many? I think it). What I have really found interesting though, is that you get to meet certain people again and again when you go from office to office.

It may be that a certain kind of person gravitates towards office jobs, or it may just be a small world. You tell me. Here are the people you meet in an office, Five-People-You-Meet-in-Heaven-style.

Related image1. The Walking Dead on AMC

This person shows up bright and early every morning with a face they probably pulled off of someone else for a snack on the way to work. It’s hard to tell if their expression is calm or angry. They seem to know everything; and if they find something they do not know how, they dismiss it as unimportant. How long have they worked here? Longer than anyone can remember.

How to Identify One: Ask them how it’s going. If they’re a Walker, they’ll respond, “Oh. It’s going.” Bonus points awarded if they then proceed to take the longest sip of coffee you’ve ever seen in your life.

Variant: Warm Bodies. This version of the Walking Dead has a heart of gold. Slow and decaying, but golden.

2. I Don’t Break Pens I Destroy Them by Saint MotelImage result for pen chewing gif

This person spends a lot of time on the phone; they spend a lot of that time looking for something to do with their hands. They spend the most time disfiguring, chewing on, and snapping writing utensils into numerous sections. No one is sure if this is a sign of aggression or boredom, but it’s taking its toll on the office either way. The Pen Destroyer will often pat the desk and demand to know where the pen they were using went – it’s on the floor. It’s in eleven pieces.

How to Identify One: Try to check out their pockets or purse before they leave work. Are they sneaking a few pens home for further torture? Report them immediately. This can’t go on.

Variant: Michelangelo. The Michelangelo sub-type couples every phone message with an elaborate drawing of geometric angles and/or anime beta flashes.

Image result for youtube storytime gif3. The Youtuber

No one in the office is sure when, how, or why they know everything about this person’s life, but the fact remains that everyone does. Didn’t the Youtuber just start work last month? Have they been talking the whole time or something? There’s no way that you’ve had enough time to get to know this person as well as you do now. You feel a little creepy for knowing so much about them (and you’re not sure they know anything about you), but they don’t seem to mind. Sharing is caring, after all. They must care so much.

How to identify one: You do not have to observe this person for long to understand where they are on the spectrum of office life. You do have to listen for a while, however.

Variant: Olan Rogers. The stories an Olan Rogers Youtuber tells are off the wall. You know you found one of this sort if you actively avoid work so that they can keep talking.

4. TobyImage result for the office toby gif

They’re like…. an evil snail. You hate so much of the things that they choose to be. Why are they the way that they are?

How to identify one: Chances are if there is a Toby in your life, you already have them in mind. You don’t need my help here.

Variant: Michael Scott. This is more of a reflection upon the person identifying than it is upon the identified. It signifies the moment when you realize that the person is no worse than you are but maybe you’re kind of a jerk. However, sometimes people are just evil snails; that’s the way the world is, son.

Image result for mom gif5. Mom

Don’t be fooled – this is not a gendered role within the office. Male or female, the mom is the only one a Walker will go to for help, and the only person that doesn’t seem fazed by any of Toby’s Toby-ness. They know where all the pens are and they have the courage to tell the Youtuber when it’s time to just hush, please, for the love of all that is holy. They’re the person you would talk to if you were calling in sick, and the person who would definitely bring cough drops for you when you came in afterwards.

How to identify one: This person is between the ages of 35 and 56. They’re always busy because they’re working through a long line of people trying to get advice, training, and hugs from them.

Variant: Mom, but Mad. You’ll know this one when you see it. Don’t use that tone of voice around her.

This handy identification guide should get you through your first few days near a cubicle. It’s good to have some familiarity right off the bat, but please avoid my mistakes and enjoy responsibly; like anything that generalizes human souls into nifty pop culture references, it has an expiration date and goes sour the second you realize that the people around you are people too (yeah, even the zombies).

Happy Almost-Monday!

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One Response to “Field Guide to North American Office Staff”

  1. Elizabeth Flaherty May 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

    “DONTDEAD OPENINSIDE”

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