I Just Work Here

Beware the office vampires

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Office vampires

Sometimes your co-workers can be as Dracula-like as Bela Lugosi (above). Learn how to fight them off (hint: you don't need holy water). (Universal Pictures file photo)

With histrionics, sadly, you must learn to speak their language.

"When you ask a histrionic something, never imply that they're doing anything wrong," Bernstein said. "You want to get them thinking. The only way you can do that is by asking them questions that will lead in the direction you want to go. They've got to discover it for themselves."

Narcissists can never be trusted. Unless you have an agreement in writing, it's unlikely they'll ever do anything to help you unless it benefits them.

Obsessive-compulsive vampires just need lots of care and feeding.

"Do what it takes to reassure them," Bernstein said. "Take notes when they give you their incessant lectures. Give them more progress reports than they could possibly need. That will keep them thinking, 'Oh, he's taking this seriously, I don't need to worry about him. I'll go bother somebody else.'"

The big question I had after my vampire-hunter boot camp was, "Does the battle ever end?"

Sadly, it does not.

"Typically, these people are not going to change," Bernstein said. "All you can do is be aware of what they're like, and never assume they think like you do."

So keep your eyes peeled and your neck protected. And maybe carry a crucifix.

Just in case.

TALK TO REX: Ask workplace questions — anonymously or by name — and share stories with Rex Huppke at ijustworkhere@tribune.com, like Rex on Facebook at facebook.com/rexworkshere, and find more at chicagotribune.com/ijustworkhere.
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