A while back I wrote a post on annoying coworkers and how to deal with them. It clearly struck a nerve – after all, spending 40+ hours a week with someone who drives you nuts can really color your overall work experience.
If those annoying coworkers stand out most in our minds, at least we can take heart that we’re not alone. A quick Google search for “Best Types of Coworkers” turns up posts with titles like: “8 Worst Types of Coworkers,” “Best Ways to Handle Annoying Coworkers,” and “Ten Types of *@!$% Coworkers and How to Not Murder Them.” It’s obviously a popular topic!
But coworkers can be gems, too. Just as you find the Gossip and the Credit Taker, you’ll also find a whole slew of positive, helpful, and indispensable coworkers that give you joy.
Today, I want to celebrate those coworkers you can’t live without. You know the ones! If you’d like to give a shout out to someone in particular (or just a specific type of coworker), use the comments below.
Let me start with Jeff (hi, Jeff!). He was the photographer at a catalog company I worked for as a copywriter. Besides becoming a good friend I’m still in touch with, he was always an upbeat, levelheaded influence to my day. His wry sense of humor and realistic outlook always made me smile, even on the tough days.
He kept me on my toes, too. Once, I commented on the how the oversized beady eyes of a stuffed animal he was photographing really creeped me out. After I came back from lunch, I just about screamed when I found a huge printout of the stuffed animals eyes taped to my computer monitor along with the words, “Why don’t you like me, Jessie?”
Do you know one of these lovely, helpful, and indispensable people?
The Ray of Sunshine
This person’s unflagging positive outlook on life always lifts the mood. Sure, some Rays of Sunshine can verge on the level of annoying, but for the most part they’re just spreading joy throughout the office. Your Ray of Sunshine may not be the bubbliest cheeriest person to everyone. They may be a bit on the quiet side like Jeff, but you can always count on them to cheer you up, whether it’s with an upbeat word, or with a pair of creepy beady stuffed animal eyes. Don’t forget to make your Ray of Sunshine’s day from time to time, too.
Like the Ray of Sunshine, the Realist can help keep you on an even keel. Some days you may feel like the sky is falling, but the Realist will always help put things into perspective. Oftentimes this person has been with the organization longer than you, and has the benefit of a long view. He can help you vet decisions, ease your worries over organizational problems, and see that mistakes you’ve made aren’t going to destroy you. Next time the Realist helps you out of a jam, consider buying him a coffee gift card or another small gesture of appreciation.
This person knows everyone. Whether you’re looking for a plumber or trying to make the leap into the next phase of your career, the Networker has got the perfect card in her Rolodex for you. She’s not looking for anything in return – she’s just genuinely interested in connecting people to other resources and contacts. Don’t just take advantage of her generosity, instead find ways you can help her in return and nourish a solid relationship. That will mean way more than skills and favors to keep you fresh in mind when she’s networking with others.
The Cross-team Connection
It’s easy to get into cliques in the office, but the Cross-team Connection doesn’t just socialize with his own team. Fostering a relationship with people throughout your organization will give you insight into the overall way the organization is running, and perspective on your own position. Take the Cross-team Connection out for a cup of coffee or happy hour – you’ll probably both learn a ton, and it’s a great way to cross-pollinate your job creativity, too.
The Inside Scoop
The Inside Scoop isn’t a Gossip, oh no. She’s not spreading rumors, and she’s not going to stab you in the back if you confide in her. Rather, the Inside Scoop has got her finger on the pulse of the organization, and has built up trust with coworkers on all levels. Becoming friends with the Inside Scoop can give you valuable foreknowledge into changes a-comin’, perspective on organizational shifts, or insight into (and hopefully empathy for) other coworkers’ problems. To keep your friendship, however, don’t ever betray the Inside Scoop’s trust. If she confides important information in you, she expects you to keep it to yourself.
Which coworkers can’t you live without? Give ’em a shoutout in the comments!