Characters from ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ We All Work With
If you think your office has drama…
Who doesn’t love a little bit of drama in life, whether we choose to admit it or not? Sure, we mostly hope that said drama is something for which we get to play the role of ‘observer’, not ‘participant’, but a little drama never hurt anyone. It keeps things interesting provided it does not take over home or work life. At work, we do our best to minimize drama, keep people cool and calm, work through interpersonal conflicts, and focus on business as much as possible. But, people are people, and the drama that can permeate a home, or a circle of friends, can just as easily seep into the workplace. And if your colleagues are anything like the ladies of the O.C., strap yourself in, because drama is sure to be a standing agenda item on your daily events calendar. Go make yourself a cocktail, go sit poolside with your feet in the water, and we’ll take a look at how closely many of the colleagues we work with match up with our favorite housewives from Orange County.
The “Gina” Bold Newbie
In every business, there are people who come and people who leave, whether to new jobs or retirement or for a variety of reasons. Thus, bringing in new people is a constant for all businesses. In the O.C., the ladies welcomed Gina Kirschenheiter who came in with a fresh face, a lot of energy, ready to mix in with her new friends. No matter where you go it seems there is a right of passage for all of us, when we dare to join a new, established group of close-knit people. Proceeding with caution is a must, and coming in too strongly, too assertively is sure to get you humbled many times over, and usually for little to no reason. Much like Gina experienced, our newbie has had to earn their stripes, keep their head down and learn the dynamics to better onboard and mix in with the incumbents. It will take a while, but the savvy newbie, our Gina, will certainly get there with good work, an honest approach, and remaining calm and friendly even as some continue to take their shots.
The “Shannon” Drama Magnet
As we said, we believe everyone likes even a little bit of drama, and most of us work alongside those who like it more than others. Then there is that special category of colleague who seems to seek it out, always manage to find it, and plunge into it like the waves on an OC Beach with both feet whenever they get the chance. Say hello to your colleague, the Shannon. She is the ultimate drama magnet who seems to attract workplace conflicts like a moth to a flame. If there is no drama going on, and truly nothing happening that should have anyone’s feathers ruffled, the Shannon will uncover, or create something, and not necessarily in an intentionally hurtful way. It is just what makes her tick. If you left your coffee pod in the office Keurig as the Shannon stops in for a refill, or forgot to fill the paper tray after the last copy you made cleaned it out, just hope it’s not Shannon trying to print off a bunch of copies next. These otherwise common office happenings are not perceived as such in the work world of the Shannon. She will assume these transgressions are a sign of disrespect, or that there may be a conspiracy against her. You always feel for the Shannon, as you see such a kind soul with a big heart, but whose self-confidence is too low to stop herself from sweating the small stuff, as she seems to see most things as ‘big stuff’. But you come to understand that you can’t control how other people think or act, and are thus wise to try to pick up after yourself as much as possible, or you may find that there is a mountain range sprouting in an office once made up only of molehills.
The “Kelly ” Outspoken Firecracker
Every workplace you find yourself, you will have a mix of the churchmouse, the more reserved, and the less reserved, and boisterous, if not loud, team members. We need outspoken people or sometimes the things we value as employees are not always prioritized. And when you’ve got that outspoken colleague who also has the pep in her step, the true ‘Firecracker’, you have the Kelly Dodd. The Kelly is never afraid of speaking her mind, getting into serious debate, and will freely toss out the boldest of opinions. Thankfully, the Kelly makes good points, is not a pot-stirrer, but someone who says what she believes and will let everyone know. And while you may think she’s using a megaphone at times…she’s not…
The “Tamra” Gossip Columnist
Everyone loves a juicy piece of gossip whether they admit it or not. Not everyone likes to start the gossip, or share the gossip of course. But hearing it? Yeah, most people are down for that. And those who love all facets, and are willing to play any role in the gossip machine, we call the Tamra. Most of your colleagues know that no information is safe, and will certainly be passed to the next several people as accurately as a game of ‘Telephone’ played by those with memory loss. Yet, the Tamra is beloved because she is outgoing, lots of fun, and can tell a great story, which will usually include the latest intel on anyone and everyone. And just as importantly, her intel is usually accurate. She doesn’t make things up out of thin air, although you encourage her to sometimes do a better job of fact-checking. But time and time again people freely come to her to share what they have heard, or know, which is proof that even with the gossipy reputation, Tamra is someone people want to confide in. That’s a level of gossip mastery that few can pull off. There are few you love working alongside more than the Tamra. Her love of the juicy tidbits that float in the ether that she pulls down to share is generally harmless, but incredibly entertaining for an otherwise hum-drum office setting.
The “Heather” – The Real Queen
Reflecting on the office dynamics we have experienced nearly everywhere we go, we find our Alphas, and most everyone else. Some Alphas we have worked with through the years take that mantle by force, and some earn it over time. There is also those who seem not to want it, care about it, and never seek it out. Yet they are quietly anointed as the Alpha by everyone. That is your colleague, Heather DuBrow- The Real OQ, ‘Office Queen’. The Heather carries herself with grace, class, exuding kindness, compassion and incredible loyalty to her family and to trusted friends. You have seen the smarter co-workers follow her example and look to emulate some of what makes the Heather your Alpha. Others try and take their shots, hoping to take her down a few pegs in an effort to ascend to the throne. It’s unlikely. The only way the Heather will be supplanted is when she opts out by moving on or retiring – and neither appears anywhere on the horizon. Having had a few career stops through the years, you know the value of having a quality person quietly ruling the roost, and who need no title to do so. The Heather is a valuable commodity in the workplace, so count yourself lucky when you have her.
A workplace is no different than any other location or environment in that it is not the setting that brings the glamour, it is the people. When you have a diverse mix of colleagues like the Real Housewives of Orange County, you will have all of the glamour you could ever want. It can be pretty cool to go through meetings, launch products, join product teams, or talk to clients when you are surrounded by a bit of glitz, gossip, drama, and no shortage of people looking to fill each role. It is what makes life, and certainly work, more interesting. You will have to put up with a bit more melodrama working with this crew, but it is all part of what will surely be a career stop you will reflect on as a Wild, Fun, and at times Bumpy, ride.