What kind of co-worker are you?

If you work in an office or any shared formal working space, chances are that this article is in some way about you.

You could be the boss at that office, and bosses come in different genres. There’s the cool, charming, easy-going boss who simply wants to blend in with his or her minions. He detests being addressed with such stiff titles as ‘boss’ or ‘sir’. Just call him Tim or Jim or Bob. 


On the opposite end is another type of boss that can only be addressed as ‘sir’ or ‘Mr’. Each behaviour is determined by the particular boss’s personal traits and character, or by the nature of the job.


Away from the boss, the regular office space is where the real theater of individual personalities and mannerisms plays out.


There is a reason why every evening after you have wrapped up the day’s work, you have to make it a point to stash away personal effects like headphones and flash discs and power banks and loose coins and external drives and sun glasses in your locker.

Come to think of it. Without the office kleptomaniac, office workers would not need to go through all this hustle.

The office petty thief

Problem with the office petty thief is that he can never get caught. Most times, the office thief is usually a ‘he’ not a ‘she’. They steal anything left unattended; phone chargers, earphones, USB flash drives, even the Nescafe jar is not spared when nobody is watching.  

The loud one:

When it comes to phone etiquette, it’s a world of wide extremes. There are those co-workers whose every phone conversation is loud and clear for all in the office to hear. Just by being around, you will know who the person on the other end is, at least their name, who and where they are, and every nitty gritty detail of the conversation.

The ‘private’ one:

Then there are those who always must take a short walk away from earshot of any third party before they can make or receive a call. They will dash off to the parking, the corridors, toilets, tea room — anywhere that will guarantee total privacy. This group likes to keep their phones in silent or vibrating mode so that they can simply disappear from the office cubicle to an unknown location to hold that ever so mysterious phone exchange.

The hard worker:

This one gives his or her all to the company. They came here with the sole purpose to work, and to work hard. They are always up on their feet, something is boiling in their pot at any time. The hard worker is extremely focused and isn’t easily drawn to office politics and is not cliquish. The only thing that matters to the hard worker is their work, and career advancement. They work literally round the clock — from home, the office, on the bus ... anywhere.

The hard worker is loved by some co-workers who view him as a hero, but the hard worker is also silently detested by the weak, the jealous and the insecure.

Like the guy who is always the heart of the party, the hard working hero is the heart beat of the office. To the bosses, he is not merely a worker but an asset, and a core asset at that. The hero puts in over and above their normal call of duty.

The hard working office hero faces a problem in that co-workers view them as some version of superman without problems of their own.

The opposite of the office hero is the resident lazy bone — the one that never gets any task accomplished on time.

The gossip:

Everybody hates gossips and nobody ever admits to being one.

It’s easier for someone to confess to being an alcoholic or druggie than that they are a gossip.

Gossips talk behind your back, are everywhere and know everything–omnipresent and omniscient. No person and no conversation is safe when a gossip is in the hood. Gossips have inbuilt sensors for drama and a juicy story, in that even if they are engrossed in a YouTube video with large headphones on their ears, they will still pick up on the smallest detail of that hushed conversation in which you are engaged.

The gossip is the first to know who is in a steamy office romance, who was summoned to the HR office and over what, and why this month’s salary is likely to delay.

The gossip lives for the next episode of drama in the office space.

The back bencher:

The back bencher keeps a chronically low profile in that he is almost nonexistent in the office. The back bencher is not a part of such things as staff parties or office meetings and more than half of his coworkers do not know his first name or the sound of his voice.

The stunner:

For the last two, three, four years you have been at this company, this female co-worker’s wardrobe has never changed; every day, she shows up dressed like one who is signing in for the night shift at a nightclub. The stunner does not just turn up for work, rather to make heads turn. You are tempted to think that either she is cozy with one of the male bosses, or that the boss simply planted her in the office so that she can lead you down the sexual harassment road.

The old timer:

Mzee wa kazi,in Swahili; the old timer has perhaps been with this company since its inception. Well at least he is among the longest serving members of staff.

This employee status usually comes with dashed dreams, so do not be surprised if your old timer is bitter and always full of pessimism.

His pessimism is contagious, and lest you steer clear of him, it will soon rub off on you.

The young Turk:

The young Turk is the opposite of mzee wa kazi. He is new on the job with enthusiasm unmatched, this perhaps being his first job. Eager to learn the ropes and take the company to the next level, the young Turk reminds older employees of their own young Turk days, way before their negativity and bitterness set in.

The young Turk has to tread carefully around older employees to avoid the concealed wrath of more experienced but bitter co-workers.

The procrastinator:

This one is by far the most fascinating. They are in office by 8am. The second they get to their desk, Facebook and YouTube take over.  Even with emails of work to be done buzzing every five minutes, this one does not budge. What is fascinating? Many times they actually manage to get work done and the only question is, how? Or, when?

The ‘opportunist’:

This one comes in many forms. For example, why spend money when you can get what you want for free? The ‘opportunist’ is not one to waste a chance; like, instead of paying money to watch the latest movie at the cinema, why not download it for free? Office internet connection gets jammed because of the many operations on his/her computer.

The know it all:

This one is the most annoying. The one who always has something to say about everything. Politics, farming, IT, all the way to the Kardashians. You can’t have a peaceful conversation with this one, because they know everything, so your opinion is basically inadequate.


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