I’ve been thinking about some of the people I’ve come across at work in the last couple of decades or so. Here’s a wee taster:
Ask an Explainer the time and he’ll tell you. He’ll also explain the origins of Greenwich Mean Time, the legislative history of British Summer Time, the pros and cons of harmonising our time with Central European time and the origins and use of the 24 hour clock. Some Explainers will finally deliver a nugget of pure gold you’d never have found in any other way, others just talk till your eyes glaze over. Explainers are kind-hearted souls and volunteer for tasks like being a first-aider. Unfortunately they have kind-hearted larynxes too.
The Ducker and Diver
The Arthur Daley of the corporate world, the ducker and diver has an actual cupboard full off odd bits of hardware and software, bottles of wine, books and other bits and pieces. He also has a metaphorical cupboard full of favours owed. He’s great at fighting fires: if you have something that needs sorting out quickly, he’ll know who to ask, who to blackmail, who to bribe. Everything’s always changing in his world so planning’s pointless, but he’s the one destabilising it all. He’ll delegate activity but not control, which makes him hard to work for. However, he’s a useful employee because he’s good at getting things done even if “quick” and “dirty” are his middle names. Chances are you won’t even need to worry about internal audit coming along afterwards, he’ll know where they’ve buried their own bodies. He probably lent them the spade.
The Adrenaline Junkie
His mottoes are “JFDI” (just effing do it) and “don’t sweat the small stuff”. In his world, details cause delay. Work is an extreme sport, and he gets his kicks surfing the edge of chaos. He likes headlines and bullet points. He gets bored quickly and delegates as much as he can, though once he’s delegated something it stays delegated: he’d find picking it back up again – or even just checking on progress – to be frustratingly dull. More honest than the ducker and diver, he has the same restless energy, but for him work is a sport rather than a game.
The Netball Player
If you’ve got a problem she’ll be very supportive, but she can be critical and extremely bitchy when she chooses. She has a clique of female colleagues who form a mutual admiration society, and everyone else is on the outside. She appears very professional and very on top of her game, but her underlying brittleness makes working with her an interesting spectator sport. She’s very certain about everything and can be astonishingly judgemental, which seems at odds with her sense of sisterhood until you remember that in her world all men are bastards. She may be lesbian, she may be straight, but she’s far too fond of certainty to be bisexual.
I do wonder how I’d summarise myself, if I worked with me. All resemblance to persons living or undead is of course coincidental. Allegedly.