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October 24, 2012
Warning: Beware these Office 'Friends'
 
So you’ve moved into a new role. You’ve got your cubicle organized, you have some work to do, have the boss figured out (OK, not really, because who ever has the boss figured out?) and you’ve started making some tentative acquaintances.

Everyone seems nice and you are congratulating yourself on landing a great new role. Before you get in too deep with your new teammates, take a second to make sure you aren’t making friends with the wrong kind of people. You see, there are some people in the organization you just shouldn’t get too chummy with. Why? Because you may be associated with their negative behaviors.

Here are some examples and some workplace weapons to keep them away:

The Bad Apple: With a little thought, these aren’t difficult to spot. They typically carry a chip on their shoulder about almost anything. They are almost always negative about everything the company does or attempts to do. Usually their days are numbered, but even so, you don’t want to hang around with this one. You’ve heard the expression that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. Regardless if it’s true of you, this one’s bad reputation will rub off on you.

Workplace Weapon: Eternal optimism and boundless support of the company will make this one disappear from your life quickly.

The Gossip: This person is sooo friendly and nice and they ask a lot of questions and seem really interested in your life. Unfortunately this “friend” is also out spreading your business around the office. There is a reason why people scatter when she arrives (sorry, ladies — it’s usually a woman).

Workplace Weapon: Be busy. Be very busy. Engage as little as possible and when you do, make it sound like your life is incredibly boring. Find out what they don’t like and talk about it endlessly.

The Snitch: This is the person who tells on you when you park in the wrong place or forget to put a cover on your TPS report. Most think they are doing the company a favor by making sure that everyone sticks to the rules.         

Workplace Weapon: Don’t break the rules. I know some of you are born to break rules. If that’s the case, just don’t do it in front of this person. Or make sure you are in good with the enforcer of the rule. Or…just stick to the rules. If you aren’t the employee of the month, don’t park there. Pretty simple.

You’ve read over the above and maybe you are thinking, “Wow is she paranoid!” Before you come to that conclusion, think about where you work now. You probably already know which people to avoid. You may even already have these weapons in your arsenal without realizing you are using them. Half the battle is being aware, so congratulations are in order. If you aren’t in that bucket, re-read the above and start setting some boundaries! 

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Melissa Fairman is an HR practitioner who has worked in multiple industries and HR specialties. Her experience encompasses performance management, global HR systems, and other generalist work. Her passion is empowering people to help themselves in their careers. You can connect with her via her blog, HrRemix, Twitter @HrRemix, or email. http://www.hrremix.com/
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