They’re not just acquaintances, but they’re not exactly friends either. They’re your coworkers. You see them 9 to 5 almost every day and sometimes after work for happy hour. But who exactly are these people? What type of people are they? When we enter the workplace for the first time, it can be a bit intimidating, especially when we don’t know what to expect. Well, my fellow Millennials, here are 5 of the types of coworkers that you should expect to work with in your first job.
1 | The work-a-holic.
You may know this person, or you might be this person. This is someone who comes into the office with a to-do list, accomplishes most – if not everything – on that list and is constantly looking for the next task to complete. This coworker may constantly look over your shoulder to make sure that you’re working just as hard as they are. Be warned: they may get annoyed if they catch you on Facebook or checking your phone too often.
Dealing with this coworker can be tricky. Work-a-holics will try and pressure you into working just as hard as they do – staying late hours, taking on more projects, or just trying to “keep up” with them – but don’t let them. According to Dr. Michael “Woody” Woodword, PhD and author of The YOU Plan, one of the best ways to deal with work-a-holics is to set clear boundaries. If someone is constantly emailing, calling, or even trying to contact you on social media after hours, you need to speak with them calmly and clearly. “Set clear boundaries around appropriate communication times,” Dr. Woody says, “and be sure to enforce them.”
2 | The computer whiz.
Unless you majored in Computer Science or you’re a techie, this person needs to become your new best friend. Whether you use a Mac or a PC, find the person that can help you revive it when it inevitably craps out on you! If you’re technologically inept like I can be, the computer whiz can be a lifesaver. This coworker probably handles everything IT within your company and understands more about your computer than you ever will.
When working with this colleague, try not to take up too much of their time. The computer whiz is often sought out by many and can become overwhelmed if everyone is trying to get their help at the same time. Before you bother your coworker – and honestly, this should apply to before you bother any coworker – do a quick Google search and see if you can’t solve the problem on your own!
3 | The mentor.
Your mentor will be the influential person you work with as a Millennial. This person will guide you, train you, encourage you, and inspire you. Your mentor help you learn the ins and outs of the career path you want to head down and will reassure you when you’re not certain you’re doing the right thing. If you and your mentor are a perfect fit, as an added bonus, they can be your best friend.
When you work with your mentor, make sure you respect his or her time. Make sure that you set clear goals, do some research on how to achieve them, and see which career paths you might be interested in going down to reach your goals. Your mentor is not your mother, she’s not there to tell you exactly what to do, but rather, she’s there to help guide you. Don’t waste her time by being unprepared.
4 | The slacker.
Needless to say, work-a-holics and slackers tend to not get along. The slacker is the person who will unapologetically show up late day-in and day-out and then spend the day on their phones or browsing their social media pages before leaving an hour before everyone else. Everyone sneaks a Facebook break in now and again, but the slacker takes it to a whole new level. No one liked your Throwback Thursday picture since you checked two seconds ago!
Dealing with the slacker can be very difficult for some – myself included. You don’t want to mother them – telling them they should be worker – and you don’t want to be a tattletale by getting your boss involved. So, what can you do? Susan David, the founder of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching, says, “If your slacking coworker isn’t impacting your ability to do your job or your ability to advance in the organization, move on and focus on your own work.” So really, it’s best to just avoid them when you need to delegate; they either won’t do the work or they’ll get it to you late and filled with errors which ultimately wastes your time correcting it.
5 | The new friend.
This is someone who you may have spoken to once or twice when you first started but things were always at the acquaintance level. Then, you both realized that you hate how your boss is constantly staring over your shoulder or that you both love that one TV show! Something clicks and you become friends. You spend the day iMessaging each other and making plans to grab a cocktail after you get off work. They may not be the person you immediately think to call for a Saturday night out, but they always help the work day go by faster; plus, they always know the best places for lunch near the office.
When moving from coworker to friend, make sure to tread carefully. There’s nothing more awkward than an office [friend] breakup. Keep things light, fun, and mutual. You don’t want to be a gossip or a Debby-downer. The most important thing to remember is to keep doing your job. As long as you’re a good colleague, you’ll be a good work-friend.
Which coworker are you?