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Mr. Inappropriate and 15 other characters you'll meet in your career

Sean O'Neil and John Kulisek, authors of "Bare Knuckle People Management"

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You just landed the job you've always wanted. You sailed through the required coursework and acquired the necessary skills to succeed. This is going to be a slam dunk, right? Not so fast. Until now, you've achieved success due to your own hard work -- you put your head down and got it done. But now that you're entering the work world, you'll need to rely on others. You need to determine who among you them can help you shine.

We've identified 16 classic employee character types: Franchise, Legend, Player, Badass, Future, Steady Eddie, Noodler, Doer, Whistler, ADHD Butterfly, Needy Ned, Mr. Inappropriate, Slacker, Burnout, Retread and Asshole. Familiarize yourself with them, for if you haven't yet met them all, you will. Everyone at work fits in here somewhere.

Starting five -- Your go-to group

1. The Franchise. May you be blessed enough to work alongside Franchise. She's the gold standard. Franchise does everything exceptionally well. You can learn lots from her. Your challenge will be keeping up and standing out from behind her shadow.

2. The Legend. He no longer delivers the way he used to, and he's definitely lost a step, but Legend still has some juice. Learn to leverage his deep industry knowledge and sterling reputation among peers.

3. The Player. Player makes a stunning first impression and works a room like a pro, flattering everyone he encounters. An impeccable dresser and a verbal acrobat, Player appears a shoo-in for the C-suite. But don't look too hard for substance or depth. Just feed off his energy.

4. The Badass. She's the bull in a china shop. Badass knows one direction (straight ahead) and one speed (100 mph). She'll deliver big results, but she'll also run roughshod over you if you let her.

5. The Future. You see pockets of greatness and raw ability with a swagger to match. The Future's on his way to big things. Future could be you!

Utility players -- Good if the role fits

6. Steady Eddie. He hits single after single and never wants praise. Steady Eddie keeps a low profile and places the team's needs above his own. Eddie's obsessed with process, so he'll get paralyzed by sudden change.

7. The Noodler. She values precision and accuracy. Noodler investigates for truth, and can get lost in the weeds. If you have a hard deadline that requires corner-cutting to meet, then steer clear.

8. The Doer. She gets in the office first and sticks around to close the place down. Her "to do" list is a mile long. Her calendar is packed with committee meetings and conference calls. She'll volunteer to help, but you can't rely on her unless you get her focused.

Benchwarmers --When you need a body with a pulse

9. The Whistler. Whistler knows the company handbook cold, and she's burned a path to your HR rep's office to report violations. Whistler is hated and feared, and the team player in you resents this rat. Mind your Ps and Qs around Whistler, or she will bust you!

10. ADHD Butterfly. He's everywhere, but never in one place for more than three minutes. Butterfly flutters about and talks constantly about nothing at all. His fidgety behavior will drive you mad.

11. Needy Ned. Needy Ned's anxiety and constant need for assistance make him a chore to be around. He has an insatiable appetite for your attention, is afraid of everything, and requires kid glove treatment to avoid displays of tears.

12. Mr. Inappropriate. Mr. I is the pervert in your shop. He's quick with a dirty joke and a seedy smile. This guy epitomizes old school. Only problem is, his old school classmates have graduated, and you newbies don't appreciate his act.

13. The Slacker. You love Slacker, but he expends twice the energy eluding work than he does working. Slacker has mastered the discreet Friday afternoon golf outing, and is quicker with a creative new excuse than a finished product.

Disabled list -- Better off doing it yourself

14. The Burnout. Burnout could once deliver, but you can't remember his last good day. Now he wears his fatigue on his sleeve, and you realize the light has been almost completely extinguished. And he smells like meatloaf.

15. The Retread. She's held twenty jobs in eighteen years and can't identify a notable, verifiable achievement. Somehow (perhaps because she's a professional interviewee) your boss hired her. This nightmare overpromises and under-delivers, and consumes more negative energy than you can afford to expend.

16. The Asshole. Most offices have one, and they all stink. Asshole doesn't have a redeeming quality. He's rude, abrupt, untrustworthy and purely self-centered. No one likes him and he doesn't produce, so why the hell does he still have a job?

Sean O'Neil and John Kulisek are the authors of "Bare Knuckle People Management: Creating Success With The Team You Have - Winners, Losers, Misfits, And All"

Last Updated: 10/05/2011 - 5:14 PM


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