by Thomas Wailgum

10 Types of Coworkers No One Would Miss

May 25, 2010
CareersPersonal Software

Hit TV show "The Office" works for one good reason: Every office has a few crazy characters. Here's a look at the 10 types we could do without, from the etiquette-challenged to the lunch-crazed. Hey, if you're going to eat like that, Mr. Seagull, you're gonna have to live with the reputation.

Dr. Immunity

Walt has never taken one sick day during the 18 years he’s been with the company—and he’s more than happy to brag about it to anyone who’ll listen. However, he’s also spread a variety of flu-like illnesses and stomach-borne sicknesses among his coworkers over the years. His nickname? H1-NWalt. “I take my job very seriously,” he likes to say.

The Lunch Thief


Where did your Dannon yogurt cup go? Who could have possibly mistaken your can of Diet Fresca for theirs? Where is that second piece of your leftover pizza? Only the Lunch Thief knows!

The Smelly Sock King


“Man, oh man…are my dogs barking today!” That’s what your coworker Lenny says every day as he slips off his orthotic shoes and unleashes a rank scent throughout the office. Even in the dead-cold of winter you know when Lenny’s in the office.

Mary Megaphone

They can be in the office right next door or in one all the way down the hall—it doesn’t matter: Some coworkers are so freakin’ loud and so rarely close their doors that you know more than you’d ever want to about what’s going on in their lives: “Hey, Mary, how’s that foot fungus of yours doing?” The worst: The

2-hour-long conference calls (on speaker phone) or Friday afternoons when they sing along to “Come On Eileen” and other ’80s hits hold tunes. Would it kill them to simply shut their doors? Evidently, yes.

“Seagull” Stan

The guy has never packed a lunch in his life and is too cheap to buy his food down in the cafeteria. So Stan practices what can best be described as “seagulling”—hovering around, waiting for various

lunch-time corporate get-togethers to finish up so that he can assemble his mid-day meal from their leftovers. Congealed mayonnaise, stale bread and unrefrigerated deli meats don’t bother him one bit. “Lunch is served!” you can hear him cheering every day around 2:30 p.m.

“How Much Ya Bench?”


Ever since your company opened a gym for employees, one of your coworkers has now taken it upon himself to become the in-house weight-lifting guru. Mr. Universe will never pass an opportunity to lift up his shirt and display his six-pack abs, or discuss the ingredients of the protein shake he’s drinking, even though no one asked. “If you need a spot, just let me know.” Sure thing, bro.

Hungover Sales Guys


OK, we get it, you had a “wild” time entertaining the company’s clients and dropping “Hangover” and “Caddyshack” references all night long. Great, we’re all glad you might have landed some new business over a fabulous dinner and drinks. And yes, sir, we too hope the CFO is going to cover the expense report you’re going to submit for that crazy evening. Now, please, get out of my office and go sleep off whatever it is you got emanating from your pores.

The Real-Deal Nick Burns


He’s a geek, for sure. And he’s arrogant, a tad rude and his breath smells like Doritos and Cherry Coke: He’s your company’s IT support admin (aka “help desk guy”). But it’s 15 minutes until you’ve got to deliver that PowerPoint presentation to the bosses, and your PC is seized up. “You’re so smart, Gene,” you say. “Oh, I know,” says he.

Miss “That’s Not My Dirty Spoon” Smith


If we each clean up after ourselves, there will be no messes, right? So what has happened in today’s office: Sinks stacked high with dirty dishes, refrigerators containing “food stuffs” from the first Bush administration, and microwaves that look like a set from a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie and smell like a cross between a fish market and wet cat food. (And let’s not even get started on bathroom common spaces.)

Cube Squatters


You’re trying to get work done, and all this person wants to do is keep talking about the weekend in wine country or the sister-in-law who is “sooooo annoying.” (Or, like these guys, they’re just hanging out in your cube waiting for the pizza to arrive.) Turn your back and—guess what?—still there! What these coworkers lack in powers of observation they more than make up for in boring stories without end.

For more on the most outlandish cubicles, see “Cubicles Gone Wild: 13 Wacky Workspaces.”