Office Personalities

If you work in an office, you’ll probably recognize most of these personality types. Just preparing to enter the workforce? Use this as a guide for whom—or what—to avoid. (This article first appeared in Uncle John’s Curiously Compelling Bathroom Reader.)

PSI (Personal Space Invader):

Has no concept of acceptable distance; usually hovers well inside the bad-breath zone.

The Hamburglar:

No food is safe in the office fridge.

Hipper Than Thou:

Talks in catchphrases; punctuates remarks with two-handed finger pistols. Addresses coworkers as “Dude” or “Chief.”

Stinker #1:

Never heard of deodorant.

Stinker #2:

Exceeds the Right Guard (or perfume) quotient.

Wrinkles:

Shirt is never pressed and is always hanging out the back. Usually has a lot of jingly change in pockets (is often also a Stinker).

Pontificator:

No answer is a simple “yes” or “no.

Mr. Nice Guy:

Can anybody actually be this pleasant? Possibly harboring a dark, dark secret.

Know-It-All:

Butts into other people’s conversations, adding un-asked-for viewpoints.

Klepto:

Likes to “borrow” stuff from your desk.

Whiner:

Management is stupid, lunch is lousy, the boss is unreasonable, my work never gets recognized, life sucks.

Oscar Madison:

Somewhere under that pile of papers and burger wrappers is a desk. Somehow he knows where everything is.

Felix Unger:

a feather duster and a mini-vac in the office.

Pun-isher:

The office “comedian” has a bad pun for every occasion. Makes meetings last longer.

Gossip Queen:

Own life is so boring that she feels compelled to create office drama.

Mr. Needs-a-Tic Tac:

Need we say more?

Oversharer:

Gives way more info about personal ailments, romantic conquests, and family history than anyone could possibly want to know.

Headphone Offender:

Thinks he’s being quiet, but has no clue how loud he really is, humming along and tapping to the beat. Responds by yelling.

Toucher:

Pats you on the back, places hand on your shoulder, brushes against you in the hallway. Creepy.

Fiancé(e):

Every sentence begins with “My fiancé(e)…”

Nervous Nellie:

If female, compulsively twists her hair into dreadlocks; if male, clicks pen and bites his fingernails.

Cliff Claven:

Master of useless (and incorrect) knowledge.

Chester:

Man who has difficulty looking female co-workers in the eye, focusing instead on the region south of the chin.

Loudspeaker:

Hasn’t mastered his “indoor voice.”

The Quitter:

Has been announcing intentions to “quit this damn job” since before you worked there, and will still be after you’re gone.

Cat Woman:

Not the superhero, but the gravel-voiced lady whose life is her cats, to which her cubicle is a shrine.

The Echo:

Repeats other people’s ideas and often takes all of the credit.

Gab Gab Gabber:

Shows up unannounced to your cubicle and tells you all about his recent trip Disneyland; usually has photos.

Frequent Forwarder:

Once they get your e-mail address, you’ll be bombarded by cute li’l Internet jokes (like a list of office personality types).

Uncle John's Curiously Compelling Bathroom Reader