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Personalities and perceptions: what do your workmates really think about you?

Seemingly easy questions I have been asked during my 34 years range from ‘how many jet planes can you fit in your mouth’ through to ‘how would your workmates describe you‘?

penelope whitson idealog

The answer to the first is 17. I had hoped for 25 but the purple dribble and a blocked nose stymied my efforts to breathe.

The answer to the second question would be simple, I thought. I mean, obviously my workmates would say I am awesome, like a lady Jesus. Because I turn flour and butter into cakes. And then share them. No doubt turning water into wine would make me more popular for a short period, right up until profits plunged due to a lack of productivity.

But on deeper reflection, how would my colleagues really describe me? I just assume they like me  and the fact I have a) a charming sense of humour and b) an open packet policy in regards to my Tim Tams is a mere bonus. However, it has just occurred to me that as an editor I spend most of my time correcting their grammar and criticising their word choices, which might not endear me to anyone.

Perhaps they can sense that my biscuit habit hides a wretched personality and larking about with puns is merely a pathetic attempt to gain popularity. Would they say I was ‘needy’?  Occasionally potty-mouthed? Usually high on sugar?

It is difficult to ascertain just what the general consensus would be – people are a spot more polite to your face at work than in the ‘real’ world. So while I like to think that I am nice, friendly, reliable and reasonable, although not in regards to use of Comic Sans in official work documents, there is every possibility that my longsuffering colleagues think I am anal and self-righteous, although generous with the biscuits. What I consider to be tenacity is quite possibly viewed as obstinacy. Friendliness could be taken as nosiness. Laughter as sarcasm. And that generosity with the baked goods could be considered bribery.

I asked a few people what they think their workmates would honestly say about them and got:

Scary

Late

Odd but nice

Slack

Foul-mouthed but kind

Mysterious and cool. (A friend’s much younger workmates actually said this to him. He suspects they have yet to work out that grumpiness and silence can often appear mysterious and cool.)

I assume that if asked this question in a job interview you’re unlikely to describe yourself in negative terms – unless you’re trying to sabotage the interview of course – ‘They do say I’m a bit of a psychopath but I’m sure that’s all in fun.’

Just as well this isn’t a job interview – do you think your workmates would rave about you? Or rant?