Firstly I thought the power of having to tell someone what to do, would be all too much – I’d slowly transform into a mini-corporate despot, a shadow of the bosses I have ranted angrily about before. And to be honest, I’m not going to lie, being able to tell other people to do work for you is so much easier than doing it yourself. Who knows. I probably did become a little tyrant, but part of me likes to think that all my anger whilst working for someone else gave me some insight to being a little less incompetent when it came to managing….[well that’s what I tell myself. I really don’t care if you think otherwise, because in my little world, I’m da boss.]. But what I did realise is that if you thought being an employee could be shit, managing said employees also sucks balls too. Yep managing people is annoying because people are annoying. But as my family always say “Arani, you can’t go through life avoiding all people”, I figured I’d give this managing thing a good go.
As you’ll read this blog (and other blogs), horrible bosses are pretty well documented – there’s even a slightly over-stated but good airplane-time filler, movie about it, ‘Horrible Bosses’. But what about the Horrible Employees? Now I’ve dealt with plenty of annoying colleagues, but being a manager allowed be to conduct an investigation into employees, and I’ve worked out that there are some pretty clear ‘types’ of really shit employees who can work for you.
However before I begin there needs to be a YUUUUUUUUGE caveat [yep of Donald Trump size proportions, because this disclaimer needs to cover everything so that none of what I say is actually meaningful and cannot be questioned, simply because it does not make sense]. Below is a categorization of some really shit employees. 99% of people are perfectly fine, good employees [that’s a Donald-fact, so you know it’s true]. We all hate work from time to time, and do stuff to annoy colleagues, but by and large, everyone is good at their job. But after talking to a few other businesses, I’ve noticed that for all the good employees going about their day at various companies, there’s always at least one really shit employee….and it’s these employees that I seek to research and typecast for no apparent reason apart from my own amusement.
On the surface, The Sleeper is pretty innocuous. There’s nothing really annoying of that cumbersome about an employee sleeping at work. We’ve all done it before. You could’ve had a big night at work, big night out on the town, or just a big night at home with the kids. Sometimes, you just don’t get any sleep and perfect temperature at work, coupled with monotonous blinking of an Excel screen is enough to rock you to some much needed sleep. But the difference between casual sleeping and The Sleeper, is sheer consistency of sleeping (and lack of a diagnosable medical issue to justify sleeping all the time).
Come in Monday, 9am? Asleep by 9.10am. Wake up on Thursday.
Meeting at 2pm? 3, 2, 1…The Sleeper is asleep as soon as you start talking.
Someone asks you a question? No. They can’t ask you a question, because The Sleeper is sleeping on your shoulder and drooling and no one wants to wake her up.
As I said, I’m all for casual naps at work [I believe that it’s a fundamental right being written into our Constitution as we speak]. But when your nickname is ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and your eyes spend more time closed than open, and your body is so well rested from all your sleep that if your ‘Sleep Bank’ suddenly decided to get an APRA license, pass through multiple banking regulations and become an actual bank, it would be automatically larger than all big four banks combined. It’s just one of those scenarios where the only job you ask of The Sleeper is to stay awake, and they can’t even do that.
So we’ve all been there, where you’re chatting to colleagues, trying to figure out the best way to get as most leave as possible, or to maximize your commission. It’s only natural to push the limits to make as much money as possible. It’s a major reason of why most people work. But The Gamer is that person in the workplace, who knows every single way to game the system. And I meant every way. They haven’t just read their employment contract, they’ve done a thesis on it….but even in doing that thesis they would’ve figured out a way to get someone else to write it for minimal cost and plagiarized to the furthest extent possible before actually being picked up by plagiarism filters.
But what makes The Gamer a Horrible Employee and not a genius who should be celebrated for sticking it to the system? It’s pretty simple. Selfishness. You see part of The Gamer’s game is to make sure only he benefits which is often at the expense of other employees. The Gamer is known for stealing work, lying to customers and never doing anything, even holding a door open, to go out of his way to help someone else. The Gamer thrives on the rest of the team failing. If he were an actual gamer, The Gamer would be that guy that everyone has a side chat conversation about and plots to actually kill ‘accidentally’ whilst in battle [haha that’s my token attempt at knowing what happens in computer games…I keep thinking those conversations would just be full of people chatting in this 90s shorthand of ‘r’ and ‘u’ and ‘l8r’…which my husband informs me is not what happens…]
So whilst The Gamer might use lying to customers as a way to increase sales and ‘game the system’, The Liar likes to step things up into terms of severity by just lying to everyone. Again, we’ve all done the sneaky lie about a “doctors appointment” when you’re just want to fuck off from work and get your body massaged until your bones are soft. The Liar however takes things to a next level. Whilst the rest of us, dwell in simple lies of “dentists appointments” and “waiting for repairmen” or even “hurt my ankle at netball”, in The Liar’s world, they’re having their fifteenth crown put in for some people, having an some organ removed to other people, and for a select few, have just been diagnosed with cancer. (NB. These are not exaggerations, some business owners have heard these excuses).
Why The Liar feels the need to go into so much information about their various conditions is incredible. Like seriously dude, relax. If you want to move to another city, relax and just say it. You don’t need to say that your gout has gotten worse and they’re now amputating your toes, but the only specialist who’s good at amputating gout-ridden toes is in London, and you don’t know if they have internet there yet so you won’t be able to work remotely. Just fucking say “I am moving to London”.
Admittedly the more unfathomable the lie, the more entertaining it is to tell stories about, but at the time, for a business owner, The Liar is a massive source of stress. In addition to running a team or business, you’re constantly thinking about your toeless employee and how you can help, and how you’ll need to do their work for just the next few weeks but they said they’ll be back – so you don’t take steps to rehire.
The Liar doesn’t even have an end game. It’s not like they want more money, or just want to sleep. They’re obsessed with not doing work and going to extraordinary lengths to justify not doing work and stuffing your business around. They actually put so much work into lying to cover not doing work that in some warped way you do feel some validation for your hiring decision…I mean even though it took 8 months to unravel their lies, at least you were right about this person being dedicated to tasks. By not committing to leaving and just staying in this lie-filled limbo of not really being paid, but promising to come back, The Liar drags entire teams down with it.
The Negative One
In case you haven’t noticed, I can get pretty negative about work [“Whaaaat? I never realized. You’re always speaking so positively about working and you seem to love working for other people. In fact the more incompetent your boss, the more you seem to enjoy it”, I hear you all saying.] It goes without saying that EVERYONE gets negative about work at least 47 times a year. It’s only natural. In fact, growing up I just assumed being negative was how everyone was and that Benita and John on ‘Playschool’ actually had to watch 3 hours of animal/keeper touching reunion videos to feel positive and ready to be positive for countless children. But there’s a difference between being negative and being The Negative One. I would know because I’ve been The Negative One.
Amongst a group of work friends, often the conversation switches to bitching about work. No surprises there. But there’s always The Negative One who’s negativity about work is incessant. Whereas other employees are able to close the lid on their bitching, ‘sigh’ and get back to work (or move jobs if they want), The Negative One is gripped by inertia. Hates everything about work. Won’t talk about anything else. At every possible lull in conversation, The Negative One manages to restart conversation about how shit some work situation is.
Whilst general negativity at work is just normal to pretty much all workplaces [yes…I’m sure even the fancy employees at new tech companies sometimes hate their inter-level slides and free food and massage rooms and….fuck it those guys have nothing to complain about. They should be so positive that when they smile their teeth are coloured ‘rainbow’] anyway negativity at work is normal. But around The Negative One, there’s like a void of darkness that surrounds them which swallows up any potential positivity like some evil gargoyle that survives only by eating cute baby goats. The Negative One cannot even fathom that the workplace is in any way good for them, but at the same time they don’t do anything about it. They just sit and brood, complaining that they’re not being recognized or too talented for this job, and try to bring as many people into their dark world as possible. It’s really not a good place to be in and if you ever do find that you’re The Negative One, I’d highly recommend doing everything you can to stop being that person.
My pictorial representation of what The Negative One looks like:
So there you have it – another comprehensive useless list of types. Here’s hoping that lots of people reading are people who hate work and are avoiding work by reading about people worse than them.