Thursday, February 23, 2006

8 Types of people at a software company

Having been out of Yahoo for about 6 months now I'm starting to get a clearer picture of the place, and software companies in general. I will now list, from memory, some of the (stereo)typical people I came across in my 5 years of corporate software. (These overlap with the meeting attendees, since software companies are all about meetings.) Also, I'm testing my new feminine pronoun policy, so nobody get offended.

  1. The Linux Enthusiast
    When the Linux Enthusiast asks you if you use Linux try saying "no, our company makes pretty good profits so we can afford Windows." Sit back and zone out as they try to change you from your evil ways.

  2. The Wonk
    Some people know everything and talk about it all the time. Others know nothing and keep quiet. The Wonk knows everything and keeps very quiet about it, usually because she doesn't want anyone to give her more projects. She's been at the company for 9 years and knows everybody. (In meetings she is often a Stealth Lurker.) If you are in marketing you should find a wonk to play air hockey with her. Get her talking about the company, then repeat her words verbatim in the next meeting. You'll seem smarter, and the wonk really won't care.

  3. "Runner's High"
    By the time you get to work at 10:00 she has already finished a 10 mile run, had a fruit smoothie, taken her kids to the park, and made $500,000 in sales. She is on a permanent runner's high because she actually goes running, or jogging...spinning...whatever they call it. Exhausting.

  4. "It's My First Day
    She still seems new even though she's been at the company for years. She doesn't know how the company actually functions, where to find the good coffee, who the important people are, or what the company's long term strategy is. If this person is the CEO, watch out.

  5. The Rich One
    She makes the same salary as everyone else and doesn't actually have more money, but somehow seems really rich. You see her outside work in a fancy new BMW, wearing a $700 outfit and think she must be pretty important, then you remember that she has exactly the same job you have. I have a secret for you: she spends her whole paycheck on her car.

  6. The You-Clone
    This is the scariest person ever. She annoys you to your core but you don't know why, until you realize that you are exactly like her in every way. She annoys you because she reflects your worst fears back to you. There is one of these people in your office. You may not know who your clone is, but everyone else knows.

  7. The Scammer
    She feels like a total fraud who is running a scam on the whole world. She is afraid of being discovered as a fraud but doesn't want to protest too much, so she just runs the most effective scam possible: make friends with everyone and exchange favors. She may or may not know that this is also the way to be an extremely effective business person. While avoiding work she somehow gets more done than anyone else.

    At some point she realizes that she isn't a fraud anymore (and probably never was) and she quits her job and starts a company.


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