Trust me, I've been around the office block a few times and made the rookie mistake of hiring what I can only describe as real-life soap opera characters. No scriptwriter in Hollywood could conjure up personalities as, let's say, 'captivating' as these.
Unlike the TV drama that ends when you hit the power button, these individuals became my 9-to-5 reality, and boy, did they give me more nightmares and heartburn than a double-shot of espresso chased with a ghost pepper.
If you've ever held a job or been responsible for hiring, brace yourselves: you're bound to meet these culture-destroyers sooner or later.
The "Burn-It-All-Down" New Hire
Meet this corporate arsonist. Fresh out of school or straight from another job where she was "misunderstood," this girl is a stick of dynamite with a LinkedIn profile. She's here with something to prove, which means changing everything, whether or not it needs changing. All legacy projects, contractors, and common sense must be wiped out for his regime to take hold. If Genghis Khan and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur had a baby, it would be her.
The "Wolfe in Sheep's Clothing"
This one's got you fooled. She's humming hymns and quoting scripture like a televangelist. But, turn your back, and she'll blackmail you so fast, you'd swear it was a divine intervention. With a very dirty deed, she thanks God for wisdom and calls it "doing the Lord's work." The last time someone mixed religion and politics this much, we got the Crusades. She's the Judas of office politics; only she's after your job instead of 30 pieces of silver.
Ah, the CEO's buddy. This guy could make a sloth look industrious. He's the human embodiment of Ctrl-Alt-Delete: essential for brief moments but utterly useless the rest of the time. He does absolutely nothing but has a title that suggests he's important. He's riding the company coattails until he finds another "great opportunity" (read: another friend).
The "Drama Queen"
Welcome to "As the Office Turns," starring our Drama Queen. This role is gender-neutral because drama knows no gender. Every printer jam is a "betrayal." Every team meeting is an "ambush." Their flair for drama turns every minor hiccup into a reality TV show episode. If they could win an Oscar for their overreactions, they'd have a shelf full by now. You get whiplash just being in the same Slack channel.
The "Gold Digger"
She's not just climbing the corporate ladder; she's trying to marry it. Forget about that 401k; her retirement plan involves matrimony with a C-suite exec. Forget about stock options; she's aiming for a rock and wedding options.
The "NSFW Guy"
You've heard of "Not Safe For Work," but this guy takes it literally. After he's fired for non-performance, IT goes through his computer, and let's just say his computer history would make a sailor blush. And then he sued for unpaid overtime he never worked. This guy's got enough audacity to start a new religion.
The "Day Drinker"
Lastly, meet the Hemingway of the cubicle world. Armed with a flask of vodka, they defy all logic by keeping their job despite reeking of antiseptic.
Someone should tell him vodka isn't actually odorless, especially when consumed in quantities large enough to sterilize a surgery room. This guy reeks of bad decisions and antibacterial wipes.
I'm sure I have left a few of these characters off my list. Who else would you include?