Friday, March 12, 2010


I've been reflecting on the different types of people I've encountered in past jobs.

The Visionary
Now, I don't mean the kind of person who can see where a product/company should go and then put a plan in place to get there. I mean the kind of person who, when you ask "Would you like a piece of apple?" starts talking about how to pollinate apple trees and muses about irrigation methods and the kind of bees that should be imported. Ten minutes later, you're still standing there, apple in hand.

The Very Important Person
This is the person who can't answer questions because they're very, very busy. They'd love to help, but their workload just doesn't allow it. Usually, it turns out that it's just as well, since this person is rarely very good at their job.

The Social Butterfly
The social butterfly likes to know all of the gossip. They can spend hours talking to their coworkers. They like to act like everyone is their best friend - at least at first.

The Whole Picture Person
This person wants to understand the whole thing before acting. This works well if, say, you're selling fries, but is extremely ineffective when you're, for example, a software developer working on a product that contains millions of lines of code.

The Information Hog
This person likes to be the only one who knows how to do things. If they told you how they do what they do, it would diminish their power (and you might figure out it's actually really easy).

The To The Letter Person
The "To The Letter" person does exactly what they are asked to do. They don't necessarily know why they're doing it, but they'll do it reliably.

The Go-To Person
This is the person you talk to when you don't know who to talk to. They know everything - or if they don't, they know who does. Usually, this person is in an admin role.

The "Under Control" Person
This type of person can balance multiple priorities. They're legitimately busy, but make time to help out their co-workers.

The "Do The Right Thing" Person
This person values doing the job right over doing the job fast. They take the time to understand the reasons behind the request and find the right solution.

Obviously, many people are a combination of more than one of these types. I've probably missed some types - what types of people have you seen?


  1. I remember a Very Important Person in my first job out of college. She was always telling people how busy she was and how much work she had to do. I always thought, just shut up and go do your work.

  2. Oh, and forgot to mention, I am the under control person. Except, it doesn't look like that some times because I am flying around, doing 10 things at once!

  3. That's how it works! Under control people get everything (or most things) done, but it tends to look chaotic while it's happening.