Oh, I'm back in an office. I'm back in an office which is predominantly staffed by men. Staffed by men who appear to hit all the stereotypes from every other office I appear to have worked in.
In some ways, it's comforting. I know the lay of the land. I know how to get about. My Project Manager asked me how I got some documents off this particularly difficult analyst and all I could say was, "Easy, Carey Fairy, talk to him like a five-year-old and he'll play nice. Promise him bread pudding and milo and he'll update your PMP." She smiled. I know she was making a mental note of that one.
Surely men are a bit more complex than these characters. I mean, the engineers at Tin Can, String and Whistle were easy to get around. Bake them a batch of biscuits and tell them "Oh, you're so clever." I got shelves fixed. blinds put up, the oil changed in my car. Amazing what a batch of yoyos and a bit of fake flattery will get you.
IT nerds in banks are a bit more difficult to quantify - but here you go.
This is what I'm working with at the moment. All names have been changed - of course. I've only been at Bastard Bank three weeks...
The Upper Class Twerp
Although Australia is perceived to be a classless society, we do have our social norms. Upper Class Twerp looks like he should be on the trading floor of Coutts and Co in London. Shove a bowler hat on his head and you could see him at Royal Ascot, hobnobbing with the landed gentry. Little Peregrine, Tarquin or Rupert is at the bank as a favour to Daddy. He's been through Trinity, Carey or Wesley (and how fetching he looked in purple) He speaks well. Don't try and read his documents - he can't write to save his life. At thirty, he still has shares in the mob who make Clearasil.
I'm sitting next to Ah-sole at the moment - even though we're hotdesking in our office, I always end up next to Ah-sole. I sorta have to have Ah-sole around me - but after three weeks, it seems Ah-sole knows nothing about the project and is grilling me - the word nerd - about what is going on and what he should be doing.
Arsehole - read the sodding documents yourself like everybody else!
Ah-sole, also known as Thommo, Robbo or Dwayne, has that not quite fresh look about him. His polyester shirt is never pressed, mind you, the girth of his stomach irons out a lot of the wrinkles. He makes bad jokes, He talks to his mates all day. He takes two hour lunches when you're on a tight deadline. Ah-sole talks when you're trying to concentrate an shuts up when you need something off him. Every office has one. Ah-sole should really be in the Public Service, but they probably kicked him out a few years ago.
The Hot Scouser
Why, oh why, oh why, does every office I work in have a Hot Scouser (bloke from Liverpool, U.K.)
I've always been a Scouse magnet (somebody who befriends people from Liverpool, U.K.) but in the last two offices we've had Scousers who are rather dishy. This office has a really dishy Scouser. Ah well, gives me something to daydream about as I populate my spreadsheet and think about hitting Ah-sole as he talks at ninety decibels to his wife.
Hot Scouser is invariably married, as only a married Scouser has most of the chinks ironed out - and Scousers are known to have many failings - and his Missus probably insists he bathes daily - which is a good thing. Still, Hot Scouser is friendly, erudite, funny, unabashedly modest and a great drinking mate.
Very pleased to find we have this stereotype in the office. I think we'll be frieds.
Every office has at least one Extreme Sports nut. In my last role, it was Reindert, who's running a 50 mile race over some strange mountain range on the weekend. This office we have a Canadian Import named Stu. Father of three, funny, a great laugh and normally has one limb injured on some way. Stu's training for an IronMan Triathalon. 4 kilometre swim, 180 kilometre bike ride and a full marathon in a day.
I have somebody who understands!
Our Danish import is going back to Denmark in a few weeks - which is a pity. Fred's a great bloke. Very, very, very smart. Too well dressed for his own good. Could easily be confused for a twelve year old if it wasn't for the wedding ring and his penchant for drinking Danger Dood under the table. Takes a bit to get to know and will condescend until he works out you have either a brain or a sense of humour. The impats at Tin Can, String and Whistle were just the same.
The Subcontinental Mafia
If there is a testing crew on a project, odds on, at least half of the team will be from India.
The Subcontinental Mafia have many traits that you learn to love. They never appear in the office until ten a.m. They eat together. They talk to relatives in hushed Hindi tones that can be heard all over the office at all times of the day. They won't look you in the eye until you engage them in a real conversation - and bring up someting like "Ma'im nahim janthi " or "Tell me about your family." It works. You get your Test Plans on time. Sometimes you get past the quiet exterior and meet some lovely people.
The Asprirational Southern European
Also known as the Educated 2nd Generation Australian
Often Greek or Italian, Marco, Yanni or Miroslav have that cut of suit that screams Hong Kong. These guys are friendly, earnest, good at their work and you know that at the end of the day, they go home to Mum. They've been around the world. They've seen and done everything. They're smart and funny. And they still call Footscray and Carlton home. They bring in great treats after religious holidays.
Every office also needs a Trevor. Trevor can also be known as Kevin, Andrew, Donald or Alan (though Alan's always make the tea) Invariably older, often bald, normally with a bit of a pot belly, a cardigan hanging on the coat hook and a wife named Janet, Trevor knows everybody, knows where to source everything , knows how to find people and nobody knows exactly what he does. Another nice fellow, though a little on the dull side, staying around Trevor for too long will mean looking at photos of his last foray into the realms of his local Liberal Party luncheon or his kid's netball carnival.