In offices everywhere, you know these people

Observations

April 11, 2004|By Allan Johnson | Allan Johnson,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Nobody needs the aggravation provided by Wanda One-Upper.

You know Wanda. She's the co-worker who always has to top whatever you do.

"Anytime you say something, work-related or personal, she has a story to top that," said Cindy Nam of Chicago about the "one-upper" at the publishing company where she works.

Nam, 30, was waiting in line with a few thousand other hopefuls some weeks ago at the NBC Tower to audition for the second edition of The Apprentice, the reality show that has put a spotlight on annoying personality types - or APTs - such Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, a Type-A schemer. She and the show have pointed up the prevalence of ATPs we all encounter where many we spend so many of our waking hours: the office.

People like Elsie the Extractor of All Joy (the glass is always half-empty, and who set it right where it could be tipped over anyway?) and Kyle the Kremlinologist (analyzes everything, from whom the boss stops to chat with on her way to her office to who's on her Christmas party guest list). These personality quirks are as natural to the office habitat as staples and pens.

Apprentice casting agent Kristin Prouty says she isn't looking for "the loud guy" or any other office archetypes, although toadies seem a natural for the ego-saturated environment of The Apprentice.

This brings to mind a proposal for a new reality show, one in which the normal worker bees unite against the schemers, the loud talkers, the hoarders and others illustrated below.

The Hoarder: He is the keeper of the office supplies, and you'd better have a good reason to want to refill your stapler, otherwise you will feel his wrath.

Too Sunny: It's nice to see some people in a good mood, but for the love of God, nobody is as happy as this torturer. How can one woman smile all the time?

Coffee Chief: Question: When was the last time you saw him without a coffee cup in his hand? Ewwww ... he's taking it in the washroom with him.

Smoke Club: A smelly group that tag-teams outside for a cigarette break. Avoid sharing an elevator with these guys unless you want to be assaulted by nasty fumes.

Angry Guy: Given to harsh outbreaks at the most innocent provocation. He goes off - ranting and raving at the drop of a hat. Call security.

Loud Talker: You can be at one end of the office, and he's on the other end, and you can hear every syllable. And woe to those who have a desk near this beast.

The Peacock: Strutting her stuff in the most attention-getting outfits, this woman thinks she's on a fashion runway, not in line to make copies.

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