It takes all kinds of people to make a company run smoothly, or un-smoothly for that matter. As such, there will be many different personalities you work with over the years and some of them will be less pleasant than others. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. Some of them will make you want to run full-speed into the nearest brick wall, since smacking them in the face with a tire-iron is considered “unprofessional” or “illegal.”
That being said, there are a few select personalities with whom you really should just bite the bullet and develop a friendly (even if it is fake) working relationship with. Trust me on this.
The Self-Important Executive Assistant
She works directly for the bossman, and therefore considers herself as important as the boss. She knows how to set up meetings in her sleep – and probably does half the time – and can type 75wpm. Because she drops everything when Mr. In-Charge decides he wants a ham sandwich from the deli around the corner, naturally you are expected to drop everything and get her a report of last year’s profit margin, broken down by month, size 14 Times New Roman, with a line graph illustrating the profit trajectory, all before the Senior Management Meeting begins in seven minutes. She’ll need 20 copies, binder clipped, and don’t you dare staple.
The thing is, no matter how much other work (read: playing Jetpack Joyride on your iPhone) you have to do instead, you still have to get her that report in the next 5 minutes because she will not hesitate to tell the boss you dropped the ball if they aren’t ready. In light of that fact, you’re much better off swallowing your pride, attempting to strike up a friendly conversation with her later, and getting on her good side. Will your soul die a little bit? Sure, but you may get an hour’s notice next time she needs a report, and that hour will allow you to get the job done without feeling like you’re crashing from a cocaine high.
Every office has one of these. Whether he has a genuine doe-eyed desire to please management, or an underhanded plot to gain a position of power, it doesn’t really matter. He probably graduated in the top of his class and went to some high-brow school – Miami if he’s from the Midwest, William & Mary if he’s from the South, or any of the UC campuses EXCEPT Berkeley – and still wears his letterman’s sweater. He’ll take on any project, tattle on any slacking coworker, and we wouldn’t be surprised to hear he’d been giving sexual favors in the supply closet. Shudder.
He wields absolutely no more clout than you do, except his willingness to throw anyone and everyone under the bus on his rise to the top. Get on this guy’s friend list, but whatever you do, do not put yourself into a position where you owe him a favor. Oh, and stay away from the supply closet, you don’t want to be on his “friend” list.
They skated through college in the middle of the grading curve on their good looks, loose inhibitions, and Daddy’s AMEX. They maintained a solid C+ average, not because they were stupid, but because class had a nasty habit of cutting into things besides class. Unlike 75% of the rest of us, they secured a job with a decent salary and full bennies right after graduation, and the company is funding their MBA because they just so happen to be the offspring of one of the Senior VPs. They know everybody who’s anybody at the company and are not afraid to call and ask for a favor. If you get on their bad side, rest assured that dear old Dad will find out about it and you will wind up disqualifying yourself from every worthwhile promotion possible. Take them out for a drink or two under the premise of discussing something vaguely business related and hope to get on their good side. It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.