I’ve worked in big offices, small offices, and no offices. Workplace dynamics can warp your entire attitude about your job. In interviews, where the office interaction was likely going to be more relaxed, I’ve had potential employers basically gauge my tolerance for bullshit and offensive jokes. I was really quick to read between the “You aren’t going to sue us for sexual harassment, are you?” lines. Instead of saying, “LOL, have we met?” I’d just say, “I’ve worked at car dealerships.” Don’t get offended, all you car-slingers of America. You know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve also tried the goody-goody corporate environment, where the biggest laugh in the place stems from someone dropping a jelly doughnut on his or her white button-down. Regardless of the environment you’re working in, there are always the same few personalities you should avoid.
This column only addresses the male characters for a few reasons: 1) I’m a girl, 2) My friends, in pursuit of potential suitors, bitch about these individuals, and 3) It’s already been addressed, ad nauseam, to steer clear of Janet, the gossiper, Laura, who can’t pull the stick out of her ass, and Stacy, the office slut. (Sorry if those are any of your names; I’m sure you’re great).
Married Flirty Guy
All the ladies love this guy. He’s funny, cute, and charismatic. Given the amount of time this guy spends joking with the ladies, you might not even realize he’s married. But don’t let his charm and lack of consistent wedding ring-wearing fool you. This man is not available. A friend of mine was fooled by this jokester once, but not for herself…for me. “OMG. This guy I work with is so funny. I showed him a picture of you, and he said you’re pretty. I’m totally hooking this up,” she said. Next day: “Uh, never mind about that guy I was telling you about. Sue in accounting asked him in the morning staff meeting how his wife was doing.” Okay, well, so much for thinking I might meet someone outside of a bar or my sketchy online ventures. So why should you stay away from this lovable dude? Because he’ll send you into the “all the good ones are taken” depression, and you might overlook the shy IT guy or the loner in accounting, which brings me to my next point.
As a friend of mine just texted me, while complaining about her IT guy incessantly asking if her computer is broken in order to woo her with his mad techie skills, “You might think he’s cute and quiet, but there’s a reason he doesn’t speak. It’s because he’s fucking weird.” If video games and awkward interactions misconstrued by this individual are your thing, go right ahead. However, by this age, if he hasn’t come out of his shell yet, there are reasons for that. Reasons that likely can’t be overcome. No offense to you normal tech dudes out there — you guys are the shit, and, like, thanks for not hacking my extracurricular internet excursions and whatnot. Also, if you’re not weird and just shy, or you simply prefer to keep to yourself at work, not even Stacy, the office slut, will strike up a conversation with you unless you at least attempt to appear more inviting. Take your headphones out of your ears and at least half-ass smile at Rachel from marketing as she walks by.
Older, Divorced Creep
Reasons to avoid this guy are obvious. If you ever followed him after work, you’d likely discover solo happy hours at dive bars and strip clubs. I’m not saying this guy hires hookers on the reg, but he deals largely in cash. His office behavior consists of uncomfortable jokes and the false sense of security that his lower-level supervisor position doesn’t, in reality, afford him. It’s obvious why he’s no longer married and his children barely speak to him due to his budding alcoholism, but hey, it’s hilarious to watch him make “stick up her ass” Laura even more appalled than she perpetually remains.
Single, Normal Guy
I know what you’re thinking: “Can I not talk to any dude I work with?” The answer is sure you can, but just remember there are consequences. It will likely only take a couple conversations about your weekend bender or favorite happy hour spot before you and Jeff from finance are drunkenly making out against your car in the bar parking lot. Some large corporations have the reputation of being a place where postgrads work to find people to marry, due to the sheer abundance of similarly aged singles there. However, if it’s not love at first tongue touch for you and Jeff, it might have been best if you two just continued to keep your earphones in and eat lunch in your respective cars.
In full disclosure, I now work largely by myself, and considering my distaste for makeup application and non-frumpy “work” apparel, on most days, it’s for the best that no one sees me. However, this is boring AF at times. There’s nothing wrong with a little flirtation anticipation to help you put on your A-game at work, and if Jeff from finance won’t get you fired, then just pretend you didn’t read that section..
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