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CYNERGY: The perks and quirks of co-workers

Cynthia Burton
Cynthia Burton

Co-workers. These are people you spend eight hours a day with, Monday through Friday. You negotiate, cooperate, initiate and contemplate with them. Five days a week, you interact and basically cohabitate with them. The office may well be considered your home away from home. After all, statistics estimate one third of our lives is spent working.

So let’s discuss co-workers. Here are just four of the many categories they can be divided into: co-lurkers (loiterers), co-perkers (optimists), co-shirkers (evaders) and co-quirkers (aloof).

Co-lurkers are the office mates who lurk around cubicles or just outside of your office door. Aloof and somewhat reserved, they are master observers of the inner workings of the office while loitering inconspicuously. They operate in stealth mode. Their mission: to glean and harvest Intel.

Next is co-perkers. They are the joyous, lively souls who bring levity and fun to the office. They perk right along, with attitudes of gratitude and miles of smiles. They revel in making others happy, while maintaining a high level of productivity and connectivity with everyone. Having a bad day? Seek the company of your resident co-perker who’ll brighten your day in a positive way. Co-perkers are optimists with optimum workplace performance. The resident co-perker in my office is Karen, who embodies all of the qualities I cited. Kindness is contagious, and you can catch it from Karen.

Moving on, co-quirkers are aplenty. Sometimes obsessed with an orderly, systematic schedule, they may display an odd disposition or present a quasi-wry sense of humor. They may operate on a different plane of existence, intrinsically wired to complete tasks in a solitary manner. Reserved, the co-quirker is rather peculiar but highly successful. Their dedication to the task at hand is unquestionable. Quirky? Yes. Unique? Yes. Beloved for their idiosyncrasies and peculiarities? You bet.

We’ve all worked with a co-shirker. They shirk their duties and shun responsibility. True procrastinators, they consistently put off until tomorrow what they could have done today. They choose to cruise at work, idling instead of getting in gear. Ever ready with excuses, co-shirkers embrace themselves instead of the spirit of teamwork. Avoidance tactics are deployed regularly.

If you ever watched the TV show “The Office,” it’s likely someone in your office is the doppelganger for one of its characters. It featured quirkers, shirkers, perkers and lurkers. There are plenty of other categories for co-workers. My co-workers are best categorized as family. I am very fortunate in this regard.

Try to embrace the quirkiness, shirkiness and perkiness of those you share eight hours of your busy day with. Like’em, love’em or leave’em — they are your coworkers and teammates. Go team!

Cynthia Burton is a Destin resident and former U.S. Marine.