If I Could Give Advice To My Younger Self,
I Would Say…
Understand six challenging types of people that you will meet in the workplace early on.
- The Slick Complimenter
The slick complimenter notices small details, both about your work and your personal life. You’ll receive compliments easily and often, but don’t be confused; they are shallow and meant to distract you from asking hard questions or requiring accountability. The complimenter knows that by tapping into your nurturing side, you will not have time or energy to advocate for yourself.
- The Brilliant Slacker
The brilliant slacker will initially impress with great intellect and innovative ideas, but strategically avoids as much work as possible. The slacker will leverage personal relationships to create an entourage of other coworkers who will put aside their own work to help the slacker complete projects. Often, the help requested would be secretarial in nature and not something that helps you build your own portfolio. The slacker avoids planning, working only under an imminent deadline, expecting you to rearrange your personal life in answer to an avoidable crisis.
- The Ladder Climber
The ladder climber doesn’t just want to fill up space in a cubicle- their eye is fixed on the corner office. You won’t find the climber in the break room sharing stories about their personal life. However, their advice is valuable and their contacts are priceless. Don’t dismiss that cool demeanor as coldness; understand the climber wants to make money, not friends. As a boss, the climber is typically frugal, to the point of being cheap, and will give you a bonus instead of a raise. Be sure you understand the promotion and bonus process at your company or you will be overlooked.
- The Conflict Avoider
The conflict avoider has the most friends in the office, and carefully avoids creating controversy or holding people accountable. This lack of honesty is dangerous, and creates crosscurrents in the office that can drown your career. Effusive verbal appreciation will not be matched with a financial increase for you. Downplaying your request for action will typically follow listening with great compassion to your concerns.
- The Slime Ball
The slime ball expresses a deep-seated bias against minority groups by making sexual jokes and telling inappropriate stories. The slime ball will insult your intellect and use diminutive versions of your name as a perverse way of denying your personhood. This is not about sex; the slime ball doesn’t want to sleep with you, but designs those comments to shock you into silence and compliance. This person deserves to be reported to HR, but if you don’t feel safe, leave with your dignity and don’t look back.
- The Balanced Blender
The balanced blender is genuine and fair, with a healthy sense of humor that works well with everyone. As a boss, the blender is only impressed with hard work and tangible results, but understands work life balance, even in times of great upheaval. Don’t assume the blender will be around long though; keep your resume up to date. At some point, management will promote the blender and you may find yourself reporting to an idiot.
– Keva G. Rop, MBA | Business Manager, Indiana University School of Medicine –
Want to share your story? Submit your “Advice to my Younger Self” Blog and picture to