1. The Gossip.
Did Dave go out for a drink last night with Sharon from HR? Is Kevin from accounts having marital difficulties? The Gossip doesn’t just know: The Gossip wants to tell everyone all about it.
How to handle them: You may find their juicy tit-bits enticing, but they’re one of the most dangerous colleagues out there. The Gossip specialises in making private lives public, so think like a public figure. Preferably Frank Underwood.
Keep The Gossip at a safe distance. When the shit hits the fan - and it will - you don’t want people thinking you’ve been spreading rumours about them. At the same time, you need to know if things are being said about you. So when you need to engage, LEAVE NO TRACE. Do it verbally, not over email or Facebook.
2. Captain Delegation.
This person has an interesting conception of “team work.” Captain Delegation’s version of collaboration involves asking you to do their job while they get on with the important task of watching football videos on YouTube and playing Flash games in their browser. They may even be less senior than you, but still, if you don’t ask, you don’t get, right? So they do ask, approximately 135 times a day.
How to handle them: Shut. It. Down. You’re a bit busy. Even when you’re not a bit busy and they only want you to pass them a stapler. The minute you show weakness, the precedent will have been set, and Captain Delegation is about to make your life very hard indeed.
3. The Credit Claimer.
“I’ve just done an Amazing Thing. Isn’t it Amazing? Look how Amazing it is. Oh yeah, so-and-so helped out a bit, but basically it was my work. Goddamnit why has someone let down my car tyres again?”
How to Handle Them: Don’t get dragged down to The Credit Claimer’s level. The trouble is they’ve put you in a double bind: if you suddenly announce that Well Actually I’ll Have You Know I Did Quite A Bit, suddenly you’re the massive douche. Play the long game, don’t be pushy and if the opportunity for a subtle way to make sure people recognise your input crops up, take it. Also, let down all their car tyres.
4. The Moaner.
Bastard offspring, weirdly, of The Gossip. It’s just so enticing. If there’s one thing that’s more satisfying than gossiping about the people you work with, it’s bitching about them. WHY won’t someone fix the toilet light? WHERE is our promotion? HOW can that guy get paid so much for doing nothing all day?
The trouble is, if you spend too much time hanging round this character, you suddenly find that you’ve talked yourself out of any enjoyment you might once have had for the job and you’re the biggest complainer in the office. Weirdly, none of your bosses have ever heard The Moaner complain about the job.
How to Handle Them: You’re not the collaborator. You’re their tender supportive pal. Yes, it IS hard. Have a hug. There there. Remember, you are a lion. This lion, to be precise.
5. The procrastinator.
This person will do that stuff, when they get around to it, but Game of Thrones is on tonight and they have family visiting at the weekend and yeah I know you need it doing but it’s kind of busy at the moment and…
How to handle them: Deep down, The Procrastinator is really guilty about all this. They hate themselves. So just keep reminding them. Once every hour should be enough. First they’ll get angry with you. Then they’ll get angry with themselves. Then they’ll be sad. Then they’ll watch Game of Thrones. Then it might - just might - get done.
6. The Office Chatterbox.
There’s a line between being sociable and annoying. This person crossed that line, carried on for another 2 hours and is STILL talking to you, perhaps by using a loudhailer.
How to handle them: Earphones and hoping they get the hint in the first instance, completely ignoring them in the second instance, trying to get moved to a different department in the third, trying to transfer the conversation to email in the fourth (then not replying to their emails), finally breaking down and telling them you never want to talk to them again as a final solution.
7. That person whose fault it definitely wasn’t.
You need your colleagues to have your back. And this person has your back right up until the point they don’t have their own back.
How to Handle Them: It’s very simple. Know. Your. Job. Description. Set it out in golden glittering examples all over the place while doing your job. Tweet it. Bake it into a cake and Instagram it. Do everything you can so that when everything’s gone wrong, it’s quite clear whose fault it is.
Note: This policy doesn’t work too well if it’s your fault.