Office – a word used to describe the congregation of unique individuals sharing similar tastes in life, trading their knowledge for money within the confined walls that demarcates an area that is rented and given a name registered with the local authorities.

We were all taught that to progress through the tall career ladder, we should try to stand out amongst our peers and impress our superiors. This is not false but it is not the gospel truth either. We all want to be seen as competent, creative, and professional in the office. If you want to be seen as someone who is well-loved by everyone in the office, do avoid the following seven deadly seen(s):

1. Outcast

  1. Seen as an Outcast

I know that some of you are proud to call yourself a solitary worker (reads: ‘I work better alone’ worker) but bear in mind that teamwork forms the foundation for many things in the office and being a team player is a must-have skill for most organisations.

Rejecting lunch/party invitations all the time? Always think that your colleagues are nothing more than goofballs? Your colleagues/subordinates/superiors may see you as someone who is incompetent and does not know how to lead a team. Yea, you may have stayed late in office everyday to finish up your work or put your heart and soul into completing every single piece of work assigned to you but bear in mind that office culture can be as important as workload and duties.

2. Miranda Priestly

  1. Seen as Miranda Priestly (reads: The Bitch)

Heavy responsibilities on your shoulders. Check. Have a reputation to uphold. Check. Knows your stuff in the industry (and office). Check. Nobody likes you. Check.

We all have that one colleague who comes into office dressed very fashionably, walks with head at 45-degree elevation, and treats the whole place like a fashion runway. Oh, I forgot to mention that every single word that this person says is like acid that burns through you, singeing everything that it touches.

It may be to your advantage, profession-wise, to show your superiors that amongst the group of potential candidates, you are the one worthy of that promotion. You can always play nice to show your superiors that you have commendable qualities befitting of a leader – not everything has to be done The Devil Wears Prada style.


3. Andrea Sachs

  1. Seen as Andrea Sachs (reads: The Klutz)

The heavens are always going against you and the stars are always aligned to your misfortune. Always trying to impress your superior but you seem to be an expert in making things go awry – even buying a cup of Starbucks can prove to be a hazardous challenge to you.

Take a step back from your life and do some thinking – do you make mistakes easily because you are nervous all the time or are they due to insufficient knowledge? Once you have identified the gap, take measures to close it and show your superior that you are a confident and competent individual who has a strong degree of control over your life and work.

4. Emily Blunt

  1. Seen as Emily Blunt (reads: The Incompetent)

You think you are the next in line to ascend the throne because you know it all, have been with the company for the longest time, and struts into office in your finest Vivienne Westwood ensemble. One day you receive an email that is sent to everyone, congratulating your colleague on having ascended the throne. You suddenly felt blind-sided and your whole world spinning into oblivion, like an Armageddon that looms upon you.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of the intellect that you possess. As the saying goes: if you have it flaunt it. But there is some wisdom in practicing humility – you cannot possibly know everything, I am sure even your boss dare not claim to know everything. If you think you are lacking some skillsets, take up courses that help to supplement your lack of knowledge in those areas.

5. RuPaul

  1. Seen as a RuPaul Drag Race Contestant

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. This is a statement to encourage women to appear more natural, i.e., use less make-up and more charm. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul so if someone pays more attention to your make-up than your eyes, you know that you probably look like a RuPaul Drag Race contestant (mind you, their make-up skills is top-notch). If everyone takes more than a glance at you, maybe it is time you consider a lighter diet for your face.

The foundation to a more confident you lies in your ability to believe in yourself, not the powder that you slap on. One simple trick to improve your make-up skills: approach a beauty consultant at a brand of your choice, tell him/her that you want to purchase some make-up, request for a demonstration to be performed on your face, observe the techniques and amount that is applied during the demonstration, and chat with the beauty consultant to learn about the latest trend, colours, products etc.

6. Dementor

  1. Seen as a Dementor

“I WANT THIS NOW. I DON’T CARE HOW YOU DO IT, I WANT IT BY THE DEADLINE!” Sounds familiar? This may look like a scene right out of a movie but we often hear this from our friends about them having to endure horrible bosses and how their bosses are always asking for the stuff and giving unrealistic deadlines, hell-bent on making every single subordinate slog their guts out. This kind of people drains the happiness out of everyone. Every. Ounce. Of. Happiness.

There is a thin line of difference between efficiency and slave-driving. We are humans, not machines – we work at different capacities and we are driven by various incentives/motivations. To be an effective leader, one needs to understand the team composition, find out what motivates the team and individuals within the team, and achieve a delicate balance between quality of work and work delegation.

7. Two-faced

  1. Seen as a Two-faced Joker

Acting all nice and dandy in front of you but when you are out of the no-stab proximity zone, that same person suddenly becomes the most vile and toxic entity in the office – destroying your reputation through gossips/’formal report’ to your superiors and taking credits for your work. Ah, the classic cloak and dagger style that we are all too familiar with (thanks to the proliferation of television and drama script writers).

Compared to the previous six personalities, this is the most treacherous of them all. Once bitten, twice shy. Those whom you have stabbed (and survived) will live on and tell the tale, warning the others of the precarious position they are in, and to take precautions when interacting with you. No doubt, this will definitely reach your superiors and jeopardize your chances of being considered for a promotion. Wondering why you have hit a career plateau? Maybe it is time you do so!