Wednesday, 12 September 2012


We encounter a cornucopia of forces in life. Some destructive, many compromising; they accumulate together, shaping us as people and testing us as humans.

J is certainly one of them.

In the two years that I have had the misfortune opportunity to work with her, it has been fascinating to witness the ever changing emotion by which she conducts herself.

Barely 26 with the grating attitude of a 13-year-old, she is the epitome of the phrase 'sticks out like a sore thumb'. Her perception of office wear, on a good day, often consists of neon patterned leggings and lace knit gypsy blouses. Her scalp is adorned with fiery red hair that would appear to sit comfortably on the head of Florence Welch, yet J looks as though she has lingered on the window sill too long leaving a shade that is more faded marmalade. Her purposeful laziness when it comes to her appearance is easily misinterpreted as endearing; that is until you get to know her and then it becomes all too apparent that she actually prefers the comfort of wallowing in her own filth. An unwelcome aura of questionable odour appears to linger about her person and has resulted in a series of unexplained office moves over the past year; let's just say that J never stays at the same desk for long. I am well aware that this description is more than likely coming across as slightly harsh but trust me, you wouldn't know. You really wouldn't know.

Despite her striking image, it is infact not J's appearance that takes the prize as her most recognisable trait. Have you ever experienced a fog horn being released through a cloud of helium? No? Then you probably will never be able to envisage the sheer beauty that escapes her lips every second of every working day. For this I pity you.

Should a kind, mild mannered and generous soul be hiding behind this unorthodox persona, I may have a felt a slight pang of guilt from my description. The truth is that J is one of the most manipulative, calculating women that I have ever met and still to this day, it frustrates me that I simply cannot fully work her out.

Skipping around the office and telling childish jokes, you'd be forgiven for thinking that she is nothing more than just a quirky young woman that has never really had the chance to grow up but look slightly closer and you'll be astounded at the way in which she is able to perfectly execute the hapless hippy. Don't get me wrong, I'm still slightly bitter at the fact that she knowingly claimed my favourite sunglasses one afternoon when I left them on the dryer in the unisex toilet, but that is by-the-by and a completely different story; a story that is still too raw to tell.

J is a parasite. Place her amidst a team of people and watch them unknowingly crumble; oblivious to the fact that J is the root of the issue. She will latch hold of negatives and run with them, drawing people in to plant the seed before completely detaching herself ready to watch the fireworks. 

Luckily, she has never been part of my team so I have never had the pleasure of having to manage her but, from my new office desk, I am able to sit each day and watch how intelligently she is able to gain her own way whilst remaining undetected.

Aside from a few heated run ins, I've never been forced to interact much with her but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that she provides an infinite stream of excruciating entertainment amidst the mundane confines of office life. In such a small environment, her actions are nothing more than an annoyance - a tornado terrorising a small Hebridean island. Place her in a larger arena and I dread to think the kind of damage that a girl like J could inflict. I often shiver whilst pondering the impact should she be suddenly thrown into politics.

Despite the fact that I struggle to comprehend how an enigma like J is able to function and survive whilst being forced to interact with others, part of me cannot help but feel somewhat jealous of her. Being able to bulldoze through life with a blatant disregard of protocol, not caring what others may think must be so refreshing.

Though we still undergo our daily routine of flashing each other a smile in the stairwell or exchanging the occasional good morning, I often think about J and wonder whether she knows that I'm on to her.

More to the point - I wonder if I'm the only one?


Ms. Moon said...

This is one of the best-written descriptions of a narcissist I've ever read.
She must just brighten the hell out of your day. Every day.
Oh god. I pity you.

Steve Reed said...

I loved "a tornado terrorising a small Hebridean island." Ha!

Are you able to ask her about the sunglasses? I mean, if they're yours and she's wearing them, she could hardly argue with you!

rockygrace said...

Ah, the toxic co-worker. She may know that you're on to her - she just doesn't care.

liv said...

That was scary. She's scary.

But you sure can write - well done!

Bad Pants said...

I will reuse "Like a foghorn through helium" next time I'm in my corporate applies to half-a-dozen people I can think of, and it's just perfect.

This is brilliantly well written, I'm really enjoying your posts.

Nessa Roo said...

You know every person who read this was thinking of somebody they know. There used to be a girl where I work who had a similar personality.
Very well written.