It’s almost Halloween, and what better time to list the six scariest people you are sure to encounter in your professional lives. I am confident that you can identify at least four out of the six personality types I point out on this list, but if you don’t or can’t, be very afraid that there is a high likelihood that you just might be that person! For your sake and for the sake of your colleagues, I hope that this isn’t the case. Being around any of these types of people may be hazardous to your career health or at minimum your everyday stability at work, but for reasons unknown these types of people find success.
Morning Breath, a.k.a. Coffee Stain
This is usually the person in the office who talks to you in your personal space and maddeningly the most often. Being at work you have no choice but to be nice and tolerate their presence despite the putridity and stink emanating from their gums. I know, gross. That’s exactly what you are thinking each time they come by to say hi. What makes being around Morning Breath even worse is that politics and the rules of tact prevent you from pointing it straight up to their face.
The Head Scratcher
The person in your office whom you have no idea why or how he keeps his job. You suspect that he must have incriminating information on the CEO and that is what continually compels HR to keep him around. On top of him being there and surviving, he keeps getting promoted! You scratch your head so much your hair might fall out.
The Eternal Brownnoser
This person acts like the boss’s shadow, and is the first to offer a numbing compliment to the head guy’s latest strategy even though that strategy may not make any sense. You loathe this individual under your breath and in the back of your head, but based on his proximity and influence to and with the boss, you have to show respect. He makes you the angriest especially when you believe you work just as hard if not harder to contribute to the company’s success.
The Extreme Socializer
Eternal Brownnoser’s happy cousin. A bucket of sunshine around the office. Problem is, this guy socializes so much no actual work gets done. He is horrible for your team and can be the plague to a great work plan or idea. Avoid at all costs when it comes to completing an actual project, but invite him first to Happy Hour. You will increase your attendance.
Mr. or Ms. Negativity, the Master of Impending Disaster
Nothing you say to this person can break her foul mood and you constantly wonder why this person keeps working if she is so horribly miserable. You decide that she is most likely happiest only when saddest. This person makes a great risk manager, FYI.
The Unnecessary Over-Achiever
Is this you? This person was a straight A student all of her life and only knows one word: excellence. She will stop at nothing achieve an “excellent” rating even though she has only a 1 percent chance (by definition) of getting ranked in the top 1 percent. But boy does she go after it. Great companies are, of course, built by this kind of energy and individual ambition, especially the extreme kind, but that doesn’t make this person any less scary to you and to others.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.