Cast of toxic characters
Everyone who works has had an unpleasant experience with a co-worker, but is that co-worker having a bad day or really disturbed? A new book — Toxic Coworkers/How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job — says these are the people you should worry about when you see them around the office water cooler:
Mr. Schizoid: Potentially lethal, he is the co-worker most likely to poison the office water cooler, especially if someone's made him mad. If he were to poison the water cooler, he wouldn't stop there because he really, really doesn't like people.
Mr. Anti-Social: Also potentially lethal, he could poison the office water cooler — but he would blame whoever doesn't die for the incident. He will sabotage your computer, files, car — whatever. Otherwise, he's a very charming guy, a great salesman.
Mrs. Histrionic: The drama queen isn't a threat, but if the water cooler is poisoned, she will rattle off a dramatic account of the time at her last job where she almost died after a jealous co-worker tried to kill her by sprinkling the Monday morning doughnuts box with rat poison. She might try to fake a poison-induced seizure.
Mr. Narcissist: Unbelievably self-centered, you don't have to worry that he might poison the water cooler. But he won't care if anyone dies drinking the stuff unless the incident makes him miss his lunch hour. Then he'd really complain.
Mrs. Obsessive Compulsive: She won't drink from the water cooler — too much time wasted. If someone poisons it, she will complain that the casualties are going to contribute to missed deadlines.
Miss Dependent: She won't poison the water cooler, unless you want her to. She will carry the sick and injured to the paramedics.
Mr. Borderline: Love him or hate him — maybe at the same time, he's the guy who will blow up at the office manager for not ordering the right kind of water in the office cooler. He wouldn't poison the water, but he'll throw enough tantrums to make some co-workers wish they were already dead. Or schizoid.
Mrs. Passive Aggressive: She won't poison the water cooler — that's too overt. If someone did poison it, however, she might re-arrange the furniture so the paramedics can't get through, especially if she's mad at the boss.
Mr. Avoidant: He wouldn't poison the water cooler, because it's wrong. Very, very shy, he won't even stop at the water cooler, because he might have to talk to someone, and he might say the wrong thing or maybe he'd spill something, and then he'd be embarrassed.
Ms. Paranoid: She's not likely to poison the water cooler, but she's she's pretty sure she's the target.