It seems appropriate, given the disturbing “armed clown” craze, that my Halloween post be dedicated to others of the same ilk. If you haven’t referenced this particular storyline, here’s a quick summation: random guys with spare time & permission from their mother adorn creepy clown masks, grab a weapon of choice, and just lurk around the city. So if you aren’t already pre-disposed to coulrophobia (yes, that’s the medical term for “fear of clowns”), this latest knucklehead campaign should do it.
In our professional lives, we have similar ne’er-do-wells that cause us angst. Not necessarily armed with traditional weapons, but dangerous and harmful just the same. These are the people in our midst who represent a friendly character, but deep down we know they’re just destined to give us nightmares:
1. The Human CV – In any conversation, you can count on this guy (almost always a guy, sorry guys) giving you a tidbit about his accomplishments in the past. A ever-evolving resume is ready at a minute’s notice if asked; this person is traditionally an expert in almost everything, yet seemingly unimpressive in person. *Bonus Fact – If not for a (insert appropriate body part) injury, they may have been a professional athlete.
2. The Schemer – Such the charmer, they usually have no problem getting hired, it’s just the actual working part that they oppose. As such, they are well-versed in any and all forms of protected classes of employees, legal terms related to the workplace, short & long-term disability options, FMLA, and any other angle they can play to avoid work. God help you if they also have a pre-existing medical condition, they may own the place before too long. These individuals scare the bejeezus out of their managers, as they are infinitely more educated on company policies and precedent; remember, these people aren’t dumb, just lazy and manipulative.
3. The Alarmist – Holy crap, the sky is falling—seriously, just ask one of these people. There is no challenge small enough to discourage the distinctive clucking of this employee. Rarely in a position of formal influence, but highly effective in building a consensus with like-minded Chicken Littles. It’s an unfortunate fact of human behavior that we are drawn to the dramatic and/or grandiose, so these histrionics can be a distraction to even the most level-headed employees within earshot. During times of significant change (a merger, for example) the Alarmist will actually gain momentum as fear and uncertainty make all things seem possible. Beware of these folks, they are extremely adept at evangelizing rumor & innuendo, don’t let them become your unofficial corporate communication representative.
I read somewhere that the magic number for “lists” was three, so I’ll stop with this small sample… how about #FOTNation? What clowns scare you?
John Whitaker (“Whit”) has been in the healthcare industry for over 20 years – pharma, device, biopharma, hospital, dental, and now anesthesiology – perhaps he should settle down somewhere? As EVP and Chief People Officer at National Partners in Healthcare, he’s helping to create the culture of a company that will improve the lives of anyone needing a surgical procedure.
Like most Texans, he loves to tell a story (especially those that include an armadillo or a poker game) and cutting through the chaff…don’t take it personal. So if you find yourself craving a down-home colloquialism, tune in for Whit’s monthly installment on FOT, connect on LinkedIn, or follow him @HR_Hardball.