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All the People You'll Meet at Work

So you're the new guy/ girl at the office? Well here's everyone you're going to meet on the first day/ week/ month. Have fun.

by Renaldo Gabriel
13 July 2017, 11:15am

All illustrations by Iyas Lawrence and Ilham Kurniawan

It's new job season in Indonesia. It doesn't matter if you're an intern, a recent graduate, or a downsized baby-boomer, July is the month for starting over. But figuring out all of the unspoken office rules can be tough. Is it OK to laugh and bullshit over the cubicle's half-wall? Or should you pop in some earbuds and just retreat to your own little world?

Well don't worry, we've got you covered with a handy guide to all the people you're going to meet. There are probably other archetypes out there—where's the office crush you ask?—but most of your new coworkers are somewhere in here. Work in a big office? Don't worry, these don't need to be only one person. They're archetypes, characters, and if your office is big enough, say in one of those skyscrapers in Jakarta's CBD, then expect to meet a lot of potential serial killers on the job. Just kidding. Or are we?

They will come into work with boxes full of martabak—the nice ones too with imported fillings like Ovomaltine. And any occasion will do: birthdays, long weekends, hell even a win by Indonesia's national football. They're more interested in office vibes than their actual work. This person will probably introduce you to everybody on your first day and be your first work friend.

It's not a single person, it's a pack with a single hive-mind. Imagine if you took all the badass gangs from the cult classic The Warriors and traded their cool uniforms for khakis and button-downs. They form cliques based on their basic-ass hobbies like E-sports or a shared love of celebrity-endorsed make-up. They huddle together in the corner of the office, swapping inside jokes, and throwing shade at other coworkers.

They're first to rile up shit in the office about workers' rights. They're not an actual union leader, obviously (as unions are usually put in the same bracket as communists in Indonesia), but this is the person you want to go to if your paycheck is late, or if the office printer has been broken for a month and you have to go 1 kilometer away just to print out an invoice. At some point though, when everything is chill, they'll still be there complaining away.

You don't know their name, what they do on the weekends, or even where they go out for lunch. There's a chance they don't eat lunch at all; as it's common knowledge that machines don't need food for sustenance. But coffee is the exception. Cyborgs will only do two things in the office: drink coffee and finish everything on time, if not early, every time. What a fucking machine.

This person is into some niche shit. I mean niche shit. Stuff like jewelry that supposedly has magical powers. They tend to be friendlier than others in the office, but there's always something a little bit off about them. In general they're usually pretty cagey about the details of their personal life. Relatives sometimes change names or ages. You can also spot them by their heavy interest in conspiracy theories.

They'll ask you out for drinks, even after you lied and insisted that you don't drink. A dedicated reader of Fast Company, this boss will try to implement "creative" ways of team building in the office. They need to stay relevant in the office social hierarchy, because being on top can be pretty lonely sometimes. They're not necessarily a bad person, but the wealth disparity can cause rifts in how they interact with fellow office workers.

They sit next to you on your first day. And out of forced continuous social interaction you became friends. Because that's what all office relationships are built upon: tolerating different personalities for the sake of professionalism.

Like this? Need more work-related advice?

Read:

How to Survive a Night Out With Your Coworkers

The Extreme Anxiety of Being a Freelancer

Falling For Your Work Crush Can Get You Fired in Indonesia

Work in Japan Can Kill You