I’ve been working for a little over seven years now, and honestly? Every day is different; new staff, new challenge, new achievement, every day is different. I’ve been excited at some jobs, I’ve been tortured at others (not literally of course), and for some others I’ve counted down till it was time to move on.
Recently I started a short-term consultancy at a government commission, doing New Media stuff (which I do very well by the way). One of the first things I noticed in the first few days I spent there was that the civil service is (with all due respect) a place where creativity is slaughtered, roasted, and then eaten. Bureaucracy holds the knife, ‘memos and minutes’ roast, while the humans eat.
I remember asking the head of one of the units on a Tuesday evening to get something done for me by the next day, and he agreed. The next day I asked, ‘where’s the deliverable I asked for’ and he said, ‘I didn’t know you meant this tomorrow’. What! Is there any other definition of ‘tomorrow’ besides Wednesday coming after Tuesday? *sighs*
Very quickly, I’ll run you through seven classes of people you’ll find in an office; drawing from some people I’ve met in my short working life. Who knows, I might just mirror you! Ready?
1. SID THE SLOTH – if you watched the ‘Ice Age’ trilogy you should be giggling by now and if you haven’t, you definitely can sort out the definition of ‘sloth’. Lazy! Indolent! Lethargic! Sluggish! Won’t lift a finger even if the organization’s existence depended on it! How did they get the job? Dunno, could be from the ‘quota system’ business, or even worse, the HR manager obeying ‘orders from above’. Either way double (or even triple) sigh! Especially since most times, sloths are in sensitive positions so you’ll always need them!
2. MR (or MRS) KNOW-IT-ALL – yes, this class. So I’ll give it to them, they are right 96% of the time. My issue is the haughtiness, the puffed up shoulders and the absolute disregard for the thoughts and opinions from everyone else. These are the ones you pray will make a mistake (don’t even act like that hasn’t been you praying that prayer sometime). And you know the best part of their day? When they rub it in your face that they were right (and you were, well…….slightly off the mark) about something, in front of the boss of course.
3. TIMEKEEPER – people in this class are great. They are polite, do their work well, function ok in a team, can work with little or no supervision, are outgoing and have a great personality. By the way if what you’re reading is a paragraph in your CV, sweetheart it needs redoing! One catch about these guys though; they won’t lift a finger before the start of work or a minute after official working hours. Why? The company isn’t paying for their time then. Simple as that.
4. THE FOOLISH – another cadre of the ‘I-only-got-this-job-as-a-favour-to-my-dad’ people, they give definition to the Ecclesiastes 10:15 “the labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to the city”. Now, these guys want to help, they always seem to have ideas et al, but they are always wrong! It just feels like everything they touch turns into a disaster! Have you caught yourself hiding stuff (an idea/implementation strategy) from a co-worker because you just know they’ll ruin it? And it’s not out of spite, or because they just want to make everyone’s job difficult, they are just ……… (put in the first word that came to your mind)!
5. ZEUS – Boss. God. That one you fear. Definitely not your peer/colleague. The one all of you strive to please; the one who has a say on the renewal of your contract. That one. Enough said.
6. THE IDEAL – this person is all that and a bag of chips (and a coke too, if you like coke). They are helpful, warm, happy to go above and beyond to get the job done, come in early, leave late kind of people. They’re always smiling, courteous; I could go on and on and on. And yes, they’ve won ‘staff of the month’ every month you’ve been there. Everyone loves them (even you….sometimes).
7. YOU – describe yourself in the comments section; feel free to incorporate all or some of the classes, as long as you’re honest!