Here is how eight members of Towson State University's Admissions Office describe their roles in the workplace family:
The Mother: Lynn Collins, 41, director.
Generally considered the glue that holds the family together, she uses hugs or pats on the back as positive reinforcement for subordinates. She's praised for being a good problem-solver. But, she adds, "I have to scold my kids now and then."
The Older Brother: Fred Bianco, 42, associate director.
He's the one you call for help hanging a poster in your office or advice on buying your boyfriend a birthday present. Women around campus can still recall the first time they met him. ("There was drool on the floor," Ms. Collins says.) An eligible bachelor, he's rumored to have only orange juice and vitamins in his refrigerator at home and always brings ice to office parties.
The Old Aunt: Barbara Bush, 42, office manager.
A veteran of 22 years at TSU, she says with a giggle, "I feel like one of the old aunts because I've been around here so long." Due to her experience, people turn to her for answers about everything. She admits to having a tendency to "take people under my wing a little too much."
LThe Family Comedian: Jeff Haas, 35, senior assistant director.
The office practical joker, he once gave an autographed photo of his face on Arnold Schwarzenegger's body to his boss for her birthday. He organizes all office pools (some say he bends the rules to his advantage) and oversees all extracurricular activities. His bottom desk drawer, which is filled with cookies and crackers, has been nicknamed "Fat City."
The Favorite Sister: Stephanie Fowler, 43, senior assistandirector.
Consistent and hard-working, she knows -- and keeps -- more secrets about the staff than anyone else. She used to live across the street from her boss and during the department's annual retreat still rooms with her.
The Youngest Child: Louise Shulack, 37, senior assistant director.
Three years after joining the staff, she still considers herself the newkid on the block. The first one in every day, she's organized, industrious and task-oriented, qualities that sometimes make her feel like the office "nag."
The Younger Daughter: Angel Jackson, 35, associate director.
Calm and compassionate, she's called the Jiminy Cricket of Admissions. She dislikes it when co-workers get obsessed with sports but loves to have lunch out and shop.
Her office is filled with plants and her frog collection.
LThe Grandmother: Carolyn Brazezicki, 44, data device operator.
She puts up the crepe paper for holidays and bakes the cakes for birthdays. Need a Band-Aid, a straw, some licorice? Just look in her cabinet. "Doing this brings everybody together and breaks the monotony," she says. "I guess I'm like a little social worker."