It’s officially winter, and the stifling air of an enclosed office building has suddenly become more noticeable.
With deadlines looming and bosses breathing down our necks, everyone is on edge.
I can’t say I’m a veteran when it comes to work, specifically in the close-knit environment of a business office.
But I'm a proud newbie with much more energy than my seasoned counterparts.
With this comes the overpowering realization that what happens within these four brick walls won’t differ much day-to-day.
Lunch will be at the same time.
You will probably run into the same person every washroom break because your urinary cycles have synced, and there are undoubtedly very distinct personalities you will encounter every day.
This will give you an idea of who to befriend and who to avoid.
In my one and a half years as a business office employee, these are the seven types of people I’ve encountered (and sometimes even butted heads with):
1. The Talker
This person just won’t shut up.
You can try ignoring, walking away for a bit until he or she settles down or even popping in your headphones, but that won’t deter this person.
It’s completely acceptable to have a few good chats throughout the day to catch up after a long weekend or to excitedly share some news, but this person turns work into his or her stand-up special.
Maybe you’re a bit behind on your emails and need some quiet time to power through them.
You might as well have asked this person to perform one of Shakespeare’s soliloquies.
The worst part of it all is, you fall into the trap.
All of a sudden, you’re debating university rape scandals or the onslaught of ridiculous YouTube challenges.
The next thing you know, it’s quarter to 4, and your inbox is twice as full as when you last looked at it.
Beware, and don’t get enticed by controversial (yet pointless) conversations.
2. The Loner
Does this person even exist?
Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of him or her walking into the communal kitchen or through the washroom mirror as you are leaving, but there is no definitive evidence of his or her presence.
Television ghost hunters have more evidence to go on.
You can barely remember this person’s last name to send him or her an email.
The person is part of a team in your business unit, but which one specifically?
Or, is he or she simply a Dorian Gray type figure who no one has questioned the existence of because he or she has just always been there?
Try not to stay in the office too late because he or she will most likely be there and unintentionally give you the scare of a lifetime.
3. The Foodie
If you want to gain 10 pounds in the next month, this is the person you need to meet with.
He or she always has a drawer full of sweets, and any time you walk by his or her desk, this person is munching on something.
This seems harmless enough, until the holidays roll around.
Halloween, Christmas, Family Day: This person will take any excuse to walk around the floor and offer treats to unsuspecting victims who are too enthralled in their work to notice what they're agreeing to.
Don’t get caught ever going back for seconds because before you know it, there will be a box of donuts on your desk every Friday morning like clockwork.
4. The Sleeper
One of the worst things about working is having to wake up at a certain time every day.
You feel groggy and lethargic as you type away rhythmically on your keyboard, lulling yourself until you’ve completely forgotten what you’ve been doing for the past hour.
The sleeper doesn’t settle for the chronic fatigue the rest of us have accepted as an inevitability for years to come.
This person is sprawled out on the 20-year-old couch in the break room any chance he or she gets.
His or her shoes are kicked off, and he or she is swaddled in a blanket.
This person might as well move into the building and save on some bills.
5. The Aggressor
When was the last time you started a response to an email with, “I know how to do my job?"
Most people would say "never," but there will always be that small handful who thrive off aggressive self-assurance within the confines of a cubicle.
Unfortunately, we’ll all come across this person at least once at any job.
He or she will always think his or her contribution is far superior to yours.
Let’s take a moment now to agree that these antagonists will not get the better of us.
They do not deserve a standing ovation for doing the same job as you.
Send back a passive-aggressive email that will leave him or her unresponsive for the rest of the day.
6. The Victim
Nothing has ever gone this person's way, not in life and definitely not at work.
He or she couldn’t get his or her assignment completed on time.
This is not because he or she has been a bit overwhelmed or taken on more than he or she can handle, but because the assignment was flawed.
This person has been away every Monday and Friday for the past month because his or her relative was sick.
This person makes the hard workers angry and the lazy ones arrogant.
7. The Social Warrior
You see this person fighting for the weak and the underdog, but mostly fighting for his or her obsessive-compulsive need to keep things spotless.
The social warrior will mask his or her annoyance at dirty dishes in the kitchen or forgotten pieces of crumpled paper in corners with an anonymous note plastered on a wall.
Everyone knows who’s written it, but no one wants to come out and say it for the fear that a new one will appear.
The few — the brave — will take that note as a suggestion and completely disregard it, tear it down or spitefully leave a piece of garbage strategically placed beneath it.
And then, maybe, there are the rest of us.
We're the observers who watch this all happening and revel in the humor, the downfall and the success of those around us like the audience at a fascinating Greek tragedy.