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the thanker August 18, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Staff.
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friendlydogThe Thanker. It’s inevitable that, at some point, you’ll have to help out someone at your office. It could be as trivial as reformatting an image file, or as involved as joining a committee because no one else will.

Just beware of the Thanker. You’ll never hear the end of it.

Let’s say, for example, that the Thanker took some photos and needs them run through Photoshop. He’s got to go out and shoot more photos, so he asks Ted to run them through Photoshop and leave them on his desk on a thumbdrive. He says, “thanks, Ted. I really appreciate it.” Ted says, “no problem” because it really isn’t one. Ted’s using Photoshop anyway, and it’s only a few pictures. He stays maybe five minutes later than usual to help the Thanker, then goes home feeling like he’s done his good deed for the day.

The next day, Ted’s got an e-mail thanking him again. And a voicemail. And when the Thanker comes in, he thanks Ted again.

Ted’s starting to feel uncomfortable. All he did was Photoshop a few pictures. He didn’t save anyone’s life.

Unfortunately for Ted, the discomfort is only beginning. Because the Thanker is going to look at those photos and thank Ted again. He’s going to give the photos to the graphic artist and mention how helpful Ted was. When he gets the layout back to review, he’s going to thank Ted again when he shows Ted how great the pictures look. He’s also going to thank John, who did the layout, but Ted’s really the focus here.

And when the ad shows up in a magazine or newspaper, the Thanker is going to thank Ted yet again, extolling him for simply Photoshopping ten or so pictures because he had to go do another photo shoot.

Ted’s not going to help the Thanker again. He’s going to make some sort of lame excuse to not help the Thanker next time because he doesn’t want to be the focus of all that approbation. Eventually the Thanker is going to run out of people who’ll help him, not because he’s being a dick about it, but because he’s too effusive with his praise. It works both ways, and he just doesn’t get that.

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oregano June 26, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Seen Elsewhere, Staff.
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Oregano. I saw this comic on my daily trip through the internet and I immediately recognized an employee I knew very well.

oregano

Even though we’ll never freely admit it, we’re just as bad as adults as we were in high school. We all join cliques, even at work, and cliques can be dangerous. Sometimes. Especially if the company is undergoing turmoil.

But cliques can be simpler than that. Off the top of my head, for example, I can name several cliques at CorporateSpeak:

  • Athletes — the ones who form teams and join leagues.
  • Golfers — the ones who play golf, or watch it whenever it’s on TV.
  • Eaters — the ones who get together every day to go out and have lunch.
  • Churchers — the ones who fervently believe in their religion of choice and incorporate it into all of their discussions*.
  • Technicians — the IT crowd.

And then there’s people like Oregano. Oregano is a ubiquitous seasoning that goes on a lot of food, but the food would likely be just as good without it. It’s larger than salt crystals or ground pepper, and it often comes in a rounder container**. And a lot of people either don’t notice it’s in there or actively try to avoid it.

Cliques avoid Oregano, no matter how hard Oregano tries to be part of the group. Really, that’s all Oregano wants: to make friends at the office. To join the softball team, or play some golf, or find someone to have lunch with, or even talk religion with. But no one invites Oregano to join, and when Oregano manages to tag along, it usually feels like a third (or fourth, or fifth, or eleventh) wheel.

Cliques made up of adults have an unfortunate tendency to make people feel like they don’t belong and never will. At least in high school teenagers have the knowledge that they’ll be going off to college and, if they’re not popular, they can start over with new people in a new place. But once you’re in the work world, there’s nowhere to go, especially in this economy.

Oregano these days is a very depressed seasoning. You’ll find it at its desk during lunch breaks, eating leftovers and surfing the net because no one wants to invite Oregano to be part of anything, and like I said, when Oregano tries, the try is always unsuccessful. And one more thing that makes Oregano feel even less accepted: when Oregano tries to start a clique, no one joins.

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* You may have seen them on Facebook, saying how unhappy they are with work but confident that their deity of choice (usually God) will somehow show them the way. You will probably be annoyed every time you read one of their status messages.

** Remember I said that when I introduce “Fat Guy Week”, coming July 6.

rolled-up newspaper guy May 21, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Staff, Wasting Time.
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About a month ago, I suggested that you should poop at work. But I probably should’ve added “be discreet about it”. As RockstarMama warns:

Dear Walking Down the Hall With Your Rolled-up Newspaper Guy,

You aren’t fooling anyone. We all know you’re going to poop.

You probably do this every day, except on the toilet instead of in the park. (Photo by Elvert Barnes)

You probably do this every day, except on the toilet instead of in the park. (Photo by Elvert Barnes)

Even as newspapers die out — slowly but surely — your office will continue to subscribe to at least one local daily and one national daily, and you will continue to carry the sports or news or business sections (or all three) into the bathroom at about 1:45 every afternoon.

You probably have a smartphone. Just read the news on that, or play a game. With the sound off, please.

the nodder April 23, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Meeting Minutes, Staff.
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The Nodder. No, this isn’t about a person who sleeps through meetings. This is about the person who knows the secret to making it seem like he’s actually paying attention to the meeting.

It’s all about looking interested. Or, as That Guy said in Future Stock, “it’s all… about… appearances.” The Nodder listens with half an ear, perhaps thinking about his kids, or his hobbies, or how much work is piling up while he sits in this meeting and lends half an ear. Every now and then, he nods, says “mmhmm” softly, or engages in some combination of the two. Perhaps he leans forward a bit. Perhaps he leans back a bit. He might scribble something down in his notebook, but no one knows what it is. (It might even be relevant.)

And he does what so many other people don’t when they tune out: he stays aware enough to actually offer suggestions now and then, thus confirming that he is indeed paying attention. At least, he’s confirming it to the meeting leaders. Who, by the way, he addresses by name. You’ll notice he’s the only one who does so.

At the end of the meeting, the Nodder simply goes his merry way, either to his next meeting or back to his desk to nod some more.

It will drive you crazy. Not necessarily because of the nodding and the “mmhmm”ing — which, make no mistake about it, will get on your nerves — but because you didn’t think of it first.

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the brick wall April 13, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Staff.
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businessman-banging-his-head-against-the-wall-ispc026073The Brick Wall. You’ll probably have noticed, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, that I’m usually pretty mean to the staff members I profile. And for the most part, they deserve it; they somehow make your workday more difficult than it needs to be, or they put unnecessary roadblocks in your path, or they force you to see them as sexual objects when you’re in meetings with them (I’m looking at you, Facebook Babe). But sometimes there’s a person at work that, when you complain about him, you can’t help but feel bad about yourself afterward.

That person is the Brick Wall.

Let me give you an example that best exemplifies the Brick Wall: we have this guy, Jim, who works in one of our departments. Jim makes things that then go on the web. In this maze of downsizing and doing-more-with-fewer-people, Jim has had to take on additional responsibilities. Initially he was hired to produce layouts* for our clients. He had lots of experience doing this. He’s not the fastest or the best, but he knows how to put together a layout the way a client wants it done.

Now Jim also has to put the layouts up on various websites. Now Jim has to copy-edit his own proofs. Now Jim has to make about 25% more layouts a day. Now Jim is using software he doesn’t really understand, despite three separate training sessions. (Yes, really three separate training sessions.)

Jim can’t spell. Jim doesn’t really know the rules of grammar and punctuation beyond the basics. Jim isn’t very skilled at web apps and software. And Jim ends up working late every day because he’s not fast enough to complete all his work. Our employees know this, and they’ve started bringing their raw materials to people other than Jim or bemoaning their general situation when Jim is assigned to them.

And it sucks, because not only is Jim a really nice person but because Jim also really makes an effort to understand how to do everything. On several occasions, Jim has come to me and asked me for help, or for retraining, or for tips and tricks he can use to make his workflow more efficient. I never mind helping Jim out, because, unlike many other employees here at CorporateSpeak, Jim actually tries to improve himself. I hate to discourage that, and I hate when his co-workers complain about working with him. Many of them don’t even try to learn new things or do more than their assigned share of work. All of them complain more than Jim.

The problem is that Jim just doesn’t get it. No matter how many times you explain it to Jim, he just doesn’t understand how to use our BirdsNest web app. He just can’t keep track of how to get faster when he pastes things up in Photoshop or Quark. He’s a pretty slow typist, and he still can’t spell the names of two of our companies. And because there’s no editor between Jim’s work and our clients’ websites, Jim’s errors often appear on said sites. Where it becomes my problem, because I’m one of the web guys.

Yesterday morning alone I spent 90 minutes fixing mistakes made by people in Jim’s department. No one but Jim, his direct supervisor, and his co-worker Ray said anything about the memo I sent afterward — a few people in Jim’s department only use CServer and don’t bother checking their POP3 e-mail so I guarantee they’ll never see it. Jim came to me and we spent ten minutes talking about how Jim could avoid future problems like the ones I fixed yesterday. Jim’s boss thanked me for sending the memo, but cautioned me not to be “the angry schoolmaster”**. Ray, who like me hates it when work is done poorly, sent me a message thanking me for sending the memo. I’m sure Beatrice, another member of that department, will be appreciative as well.

No one, though, was more appreciative than Jim because Jim really wanted to get it right the next time.

Thing is, I’ve sent memos like this in the past when working with other apps that Jim and his co-workers had to learn how to use. Jim never, ever gets it. I just keep banging my head on the brick wall that is Jim’s comprehension quotient.

In Jim’s first month on the job, I sat at a table with him and his family during a company event. They’re all very nice. I hate it that Jim can’t wrap his head around this stuff, and someday it’s going to bite him in the ass because he simply can’t learn the new procedures. I had a guy like him at my old company, but unlike Jim, Gil eventually got it. It just took him longer (like, six months where the average person took six weeks). Gil is now the most valued employee at my old office, and I’m proud of him for it (I hired him when he was still in college, so I can say things like that).

I feel bad for Jim. He’s going to get left behind, he’s going to get downsized, and his family’s going to suffer. But there’s a Brick Wall like him at every office. It’s just my bad luck that I like ours.

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* Obviously I’m making up what the real Jim has to do, because I really do feel bad when the real Jim doesn’t get it.

** I have to be the angry schoolmaster these days. No one in Jim’s department responds when I’m a nice guy except Ray and Beatrice. Only they and Jim actually care about the work; Tom, Mark, and Andy don’t give a damn about anything other than getting it done and getting the hell out of the office.

the two-year-old April 8, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Management, Staff.
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The Two-Year-Old. Every so often* you’ll come across someone with the following characteristics:

  • If it’s new and shiny, she’s instantly interested in it to the exclusion of everything else.
  • She has to have it as soon as possible, and to hell with whatever else you had on your list of responsibilities.
  • The moment she’s concentrating on something else and you want her to clean up her mess — that is, make sure the new thing continues running as it should — she runs off to find another toy to play with.

The Two-Year-Old bears many similarities to a cat. (CC-licensed photo by Jon A. Ross.)

The Two-Year-Old bears many similarities to a cat. (CC-licensed photo by Jon A. Ross.)

This is very similar to the concept of seagull management, except that in this case, the manager** has at least some knowledge of what she’s talking about. It’s not like the pointy-haired boss from Dilbert — he has no idea what the hell he’s doing. No, the Two-Year-Old is actually pretty intelligent. It’s just that she has a magpie-like tendency to focus on the latest thing.

Here’s an example: Twitter. Twitter was founded in 2006. It hit it really big in 2008. But our local Two-Year-Old got back from her furlough on Monday and she started trying to find people who used or understood Twitter. (She also figured out Facebook, but I declined her friend request. I’m smarter than that.) Once she found one, she told him what she wanted and then got him to start showing people. And then she walked off to do something else.

On Tuesday she talked about Twitter a little with that one guy, and then went to a meeting.

Today — Wednesday — she hasn’t even brought it up. I doubt she will until someone says “Twitter” and she says “oh, yeah, how are we doing with that.”

If your boss is a Two-Year-Old, get used to just saying yes, deflecting, and waiting for her to find something new to play with. Then hope it doesn’t involve you.

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* …or every manager you’ve ever worked with. Take your pick.

** Okay, I admit it, this is obviously about managers or people in positions of authority over you. And often only you. At least, that’s how it feels.

on being anti-social at work March 12, 2009

Posted by That Guy in People in General, Seen Elsewhere.
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I don’t know for certain if The Roller of Big Cigars originally wrote 10 Reasons to be Anti-Social, but the concept of anti-social behavior at work is worth exploring. People at the office are becoming less and less satisfied with their jobs, preferring to just be thankful they still have jobs. But everyone has to do more with less for less, and no one is happy. Why spread it around by complaining to everyone in sight?

Here’s a few highlights:

1. Genius is antisocial. [I]f you, by some slim chance are, in fact, a genius, you will have no patience for average and below-average humanity. You will see it as annoying and distracting like a high-schooler being forced to endure a day in pre-school. You will seek to isolate yourself and work.

When are you more likely to get work done? When people are coming by and interrupting your train of thought by saying “hi there! How are you today?”, or when you can close yourself off and just do stuff?

5. Conversation-padding. A 2-hour conversation usually only consists of about 10-20 minutes of actual worthwhile information sharing. […] This results in a lot of your life being wasted talking to people and needless stress as you share meaningless nonsense.

This happens at CorporateSpeak Headquarters all the time. In fact, I’m sometimes a perpetrator of needless conversation extension. But how often has someone come to you to see how you’re doing, just to butter you up before asking you to do something difficult, time-consuming, tedious, or otherwise annoying?

9. Comforting self-deception. If you are just an antisocial moron, then it’s probably a good idea to isolate yourself so that you can tell yourself that you are, in fact a genius and that nobody recognizes what you are because they are all so stupid.

Take ten seconds to think of everyone at your office who drives you up the wall by stopping by your desk to chat. You’ll probably need longer than that, but who needs to spend that much time on those people?

10. It helps you deal with loneliness. You treasure the moments with no distractions, no background movement, no responsibilities beyond what you have in front of you. That is largely, I suspect, a learned reaction to being alone a lot, but it’s good since everybody has to be alone at some point and it’s best to see it as a gift rather than a burden.

Try telecommuting for a couple of days (once a week for a month, for example). You’ll probably get a lot more work done at home with no one to bother you, and you’ll miss out on the hassle of the drive (or ride) to and from work. You’ll be surprised just how productive you are, and how annoying it is when you get back and people won’t leave you alone. By working from home, you’re not really being anti-social, and when you do see your friends, your spouse, or your kids, you’ll appreciate them even more for not having had anyone to talk to all day.

the facebook babe March 3, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Staff.
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The Facebook Babe. After writing yesterday’s post, I wanted to expound a little on people who post vacation pictures of themselves on Facebook. Recently, there’s been posts on the internet covering Facebook privacy settings and how to keep people who don’t need to see your revealing pictures from seeing them.

Like people from work.

Though I haven’t written about these people yet, there’s always one or two really good-looking guys and one or two really good-looking girls at the office. These folks are the ones people want to hang out with, have lunch with, be friends with, and generally be close to in the hopes of some of that residual hotness rubbing off. (It never happens. I’ve tried.) These people are not the Facebook Babe.

One of these women is the Facebook Babe.

One of these women is the Facebook Babe.

The Facebook Babe is usually a woman. (It can be a man, but for the purposes of this definition, let’s go with woman.) She’s almost always between the ages of 25 and 31, and she’s probably been promoted very quickly — at CorporateSpeak, our former Facebook Babe (she has since moved on) worked in a niche sales area out west for a couple of years before coming to us as a manager reporting to the General Sales Manager, putting her more or less on equal footing with managers who’d been with the company for more than ten years. The Facebook Babe is intelligent, friendly, and generally knows her stuff, but there’s always something she messes up or doesn’t understand that screws it up for everyone else. She’s always willing to go out to lunch, and she’ll usually pay because she has an expense account. She takes an interest in what you do and if you ever need help, as long as it seems like it’ll be fun, she’ll be glad to step up.

The Facebook Babe is also pretty. Not gorgeous, not stunning, not drop-dead-have-a-heart-attack beautiful, but pretty. She’s nice to look at, and she knows how to dress to accentuate her best features, be they above her shoulders or below them. You look at a stunning woman and say “wow, she’s amazing”, but you look at the Facebook Babe and say “y’know, I could see myself waking up next to her every day.”

The thing is, the Facebook Babe knows she’s not the best-looking girl out there. She’s been on the verge of being gorgeous ever since high school, and she wants to stay on the inside looking out. She’ll have joined a sorority — not the one known for having the hottest girls, but the one known for having babes who are fun to hang out with. Her friends tend to be about as pretty as her, though when you go through her Facebook albums, she’s most likely hanging onto the one or two who are prettier.

Yes. Her Facebook albums. You’ll have access to them for two very simple reasons:

  1. The on-the-verge mentality makes her overcompensate a little and, as a result, friend everyone in the office no matter how inappropriate it might be.
  2. She refuses to set her privacy settings so that only her actual friends can see pictures of her on the beach in Puerto Vallarta.

The Facebook Babe is fully aware that you can see pictures of her getting drunk or wearing a bikini. She’s depending upon your professionalism about the whole thing — everyone on the internet is doing it, so as long as you don’t talk about it or tell the boss, we can keep it on the DL; I’ll keep posting them, you keep ogling them. All of this is covered in a tacit conversation on Monday that goes like this:

You: “Hi, Gina.” (1)
Facebook Babe: “Hi, Harold. Good weekend?” (2)
You: “Yeah, it was fine. How was your vacation?” (3)
FB: “Great! I went to Mexico; my friend has a timeshare. It was soooooooooo hot.” (4)
You: “Sounds like fun. *shuffles feet* Well, I’ll see you in the sales meeting at 11?” (5)
FB: “Sure thing!” (6)

Here’s what each piece really means:

  1. I’m saying hello to you because you’re hotter than most women who’ll talk to me, and because we’re colleagues, you actually HAVE to talk to me from time to time.
  2. I’m making polite conversation because we work together.
  3. I know you’ve been gone for a week. We going to see any pictures?
  4. I went to the beach for a week. I have a ton of pictures. Check my Facebook; I put them up when I got home yesterday.
  5. I’m just going to head back to my desk to stripmine your Facebook albums from your vacation. I can’t wait to see you at 11 so I can replace your well-tailored silk blouse and slacks with a bright-pink bikini — in my mind, of course.
  6. You’re creeping me out. I’m going to be polite as I depart, and then IM with my friends about how creepy you are.

The Facebook Babe is a mix of professionalism, attractiveness, exhibitionism, and friendliness that everyone in the office loves to have around. And if you’re reading this blog, you know exactly who the Facebook Babe is at your office.

Why not go check out her latest photo albums? I’ll wait.

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the people in your network neighborhood March 2, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Staff, Technology Trouble.
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Having worked in management and HR, I know quite a bit about social networking. I don’t have a degree in it, nor do I consider myself an expert, but I’ve taught myself how to research people before hiring them. Generally, these folks are ones to look out for before you let them on your network neighborhood.

(I had to make that reference. It was just too good to leave behind.)

Anyway, one of my Facebook friends sent this out as a note. Here’s That Guy’s annotated edition of “The People in Your Network Neighborhood”:

Exhibitionist – laughs out loud and jovially invites co-workers to come one, come all, and look at pictures of their weekend at [insert popular weekend destination here] or take part in the hilarity of the YouTube video with that pre-teen dancing to the new Britney jam.

We used to have a guy like this at CS. His desk was two away from mine, so in addition to being next to the train tracks (my old desk was right next to old OTS guy), I had to listen to every one of his favorite YouTube videos of the day multiple times — and since his shift was 9-6 and many of the people he worked with were 5-1 or 1-10, I heard it at least three times a day if not more.

I admit I’ve done this from time to time, usually with this:

Voyeur – likes looking at your screen, but quickly averts their gaze if you should look up, because they don’t want you to know they have been tracing your every online move for the last 30 minutes.

Who hasn’t been that person?

Creeper – slinks around, peeking fiendishly at your screen, then comments later on your hot friends (this personality is usually over 40 and married, with kids).

These days, the Creeper has been replaced by the Facebook Miner — the person who friends all your hot friends on Facebook, then views his/her (usually her) photo albums and sends the URLs to his/her (usually his) equally-creepy, Facebook-mining friends. These people also usually engage in stripmining.

Paranoid – suddenly flails their entire body at the screen when someone walks by 15 feet away, even though they were just benignly about to purchase some shoes online.

When CS moved to their new building, I sat down with the office manager and ensured that I would have one of two very specific desks in my department’s area — my back to the wall, as few people behind me as possible, and nowhere near old OTS guy. I got exactly what I asked for. I’m still a little paranoid, but it’s better now that I don’t have a desk where literally everyone can see what I’m doing.

Judge – likes to look at your Facebook page and grade you on how many friends you have, how attractive they are and how many people post to your page.

Related to the Creeper, I suppose.

Competer – often this computer personality goes along with the judge. Once they have deemed your Facebook page sub par, they proceed to tell you how many more friends they have than you, how more attractive their friends are than yours and how many more posts they have on their page.

There aren’t as many of these around now that the New Facebook exists. I used to put boxes and apps on my Facebook page just for the sake of doing it (no, I never invited you to play Mob Wars — those types of apps drive me crazy), but with the new layout, it just seems pointless. Plus, the New Facebook is so heavy on the JavaScript that if you put any more apps on it, your browser will crash itself on general principles.

Stalker – only joins social networking sites so they can see your pictures and what you do in your free time so they can bring them up in awkward conversations to be shared later at work.

A woman who recently left CS to work for an even bigger corporation used to post some pretty revealing pictures on her Facebook and MySpace. No nudity, but she was in some pretty revealing outfits (out at bars and parties and such). I mentioned this to my boss after she friended us both, saying, “do you think she realizes..?” My boss confirmed that she was fully aware and didn’t care.

She didn’t resign because of her Facebook; no one in HR even knows how to use it, and the people in her department don’t care as long as she doesn’t impugn the company or her co-workers. She never did. But many of the men at the office loved when she went on vacation because she always, always posted photos.

Phobic – can’t seem to find that link on the “internets”, believes that having any of their personal information posted on the “interwebs” will lead to an alien assuming their identity and they will be forced to walk around like a pod person in cyber hell for all eternity…something like in that movie with Sandra Bullock back in the 90’s.

This type of person is generally older, but they’re — dying off sounds bad, but it’s a good phrase to use. They’re realizing that no matter how much they hate computers, they have to use them or else they’ll become obsolete. Old OTS guy is actually very good with computers, and our company’s most prolific and highest-skilled writer is in his fifties (and has been at this office since the late 70s/early 80s). The only “phobic” person I know is one of our youngest employees — I think he’s 25 or 26 — and while he has an iPhone (which has a built-in GPS), he steadfastly refuses to join any social networks.

Novice – doesn’t know that other people will actually see those nude pictures they posted from last weekend’s beer bust, then becomes quite surprised when the entire office has not only seen them, but carries them around on their iPhone. Example: Jill posts her R-rated jpeg’s on her MySpace page and they are then copied on Jack’s page. Mary Ellen rips them off from Jack’s page and then Mary Ellen’s nosy mom gets a peek at the Girls Gone Crazy party pics. Appalled, Mary Ellen’s mom tells Jill’s mom about them and now 24-year-old Jill is forced to have a birds and the bees talk with her mom…again.

This just makes me laugh.

Narcissist – Googles themselves…a lot.

I have to admit, I used to do this. I share a name with a fairly well-known musician (same spelling and everything), though he lives on the west coast and I live on the east coast. We’ve exchanged e-mails a couple of times. If you google our name, you’ll find about 80% of the first 100 entries being about him. Most of the ones about me are old articles I wrote when I was still working as a political blogger.

Interestingly, my old pseudonym also doesn’t come up as me most of the time. Instead, it comes up with the name of a somewhat-influential minister. I’d never even heard of him before I took up that pseudonym. Oops.

Fact finder – no matter how absurd the argument or point they are trying to make, this personality will bull-headedly say, “but I saw it on the internet.”

Yeah, I totally do this.

Quiet Genius – perhaps the scariest of all, this person is a tech wizard, often asked to fix the mundane little problems that arise in the office. They quietly help you reset your password when you’ve been locked out or zap that nasty little virus you got from spending your day surfing the internet while you should have been working. It’s a thankless task and one day, you’re afraid they might just snap and take out your bank account, your email and turn you into a pod person forced to live in cyber hell for all eternity.

Let me just refer you to Mr. Fix-It on this one.

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the irrelevant commenter January 27, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Staff.
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The Irrelevant Commenter. Have you met the Irrelevant Commenter at your office yet? He’s not hard to miss. He’s a good worker, and he’s good at his job, but he’s not the kind of guy you want in your meeting.

Because he makes the most irrelevant comments you’ve ever heard.

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user Josh Evnin

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user Josh Evnin

Are you talking about a new medication? He might say it sounds like that medicine Kirk gave McCoy in Star Trek III. Are you working on a mock-up for a new webpage? He’ll probably bring up a website he built in high school. Did you say something that is somehow tangentially-related to Rickrolling or lolcats? Well, the Irrelevant Commenter can tellz u how he iz feeling.

Oh, yeah. It’s annoying. And the worst part is this: because this guy is so good at what he does, he works with every department and is in every meeting, and he’s always walking around the building, dropping in on your conversations like a photo bomber. In fact, if you ask him, you’ll find out he probably has been a photo bomber on more than one occasion. Just check his Facebook page (because he of course has incessantly messaged you trying to get you to friend him).

The only way to avoid this guy is to not avoid him. Not as confusing as it sounds; just listen to what he has to say, smile, nod, and move along.