Who Would Win an Oscar® at Your Workplace?

This Sunday is the annual Academy Awards® ceremony, and since we can’t afford a ticket to get into the Dolby Theater in downtown Hollywood for the actual show, we’ll celebrate on our blog here. However, we’re going to change things up and give out our workplace Oscars® to the unique personalities we all work with, good and bad. We based our nominees on this year’s list of Best Picture hopefuls.  May we have the envelope, please:


Arrival — No, not the story about aliens from another world coming to Earth just to chat with the lovely Amy Adams (I mean, who wouldn’t do that, right???).  Nope, Arrival in your office is about that veteran office manager who never, ever comes to work late even if it snows four feet during the night. Tornado … flood … hurricane warning? Pssssh, that’s no problem for her. She’ll still be the one that unlocks the office building doors every morning in a neatly-pressed outfit with heels and pearls. How does she do it? Magic?  More like evil magic, probably. Beating her into the office becomes a part of your bucket list, but you know deep down inside that even if you left your house at four in the morning, her car would be in the parking lot as you pulled in and there’d be a single light on in her fourth-floor office.


Fences — On the one hand, Fences a tale of a bitter African-American garbage man back in 1950’s Pittsburgh who tries to raise his family while coming to terms with the failings of his life. In addition, Fences could bring a second Oscar® for both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis because they are THAT good in the movie.

At work, Fences is the 12-foot wall you want to put around your desk now that they’ve moved Chatty Cathy to the cubicle next to yours. Chatty Cathy is physically unable to shut up for more than 20 minutes before her head pops over your wall with more boring stories about her life, her dinner last night, her cat’s digestive issues … or whatever. The sheer volume of your time she wastes makes you wish you had access to Denzel’s first Best Actor Oscar-winning character, dirty and murderous cop, Alonzo, in Training Day.


Hacksaw Ridge — Based on the true story of US Army medic, Desmond Doss, who refused to carry a gun like every other soldier and talked his way out of a court martial. Not only did he go to battle without ever killing anyone, he became the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

The Desmond Doss in your office isn’t saving entire platoons of wounded soldiers by dragging them back to safety. No, your Doss is that guy that goes to every single meeting, takes extra-long lunches, networks with everybody on the planet, and sits on ten different committees at work. He also has time to post to social media twenty to thirty times during the day. Unfortunately, the only thing he doesn’t do is any duty contained in his job description.

Despite all of this, Doss might be your boss’s favorite employee because he’s just so darn personable. Unfortunately, you and the rest of your department have to pick up the slack for his lack of job-related activities which should make you mad, but doesn’t because he makes you laugh … a lot.

Hell or High Water — “We will get this done come Hell or high water, people!” This over-committed co-worker constantly gives 150 percent on every project, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Well, except when you work with them and their commitment only draws attention to the fact that you tend to give 75 percent effort most of the time and 90 percent when your deadline is tomorrow. But hey, you believe employees should be measured on output and results rather than input and hours worked, right? And your boss should too, right? Sadly you know that, as happens in the movie, your co-worker will end up like Chris Pine’s character who saves the day and gets away with all the bank robberies, while you end up like Ben Foster …dead in the desert.


Hidden Figures — A true story of three African-American female mathematicians who played a vital role at NASA during the early years of the space program in the 1950’s. Yet, their accomplishments were basically kept secret due to a lethal combination of racism and sexism. In the office, your hidden figure is that introvert that enjoys staying out of the spotlight, but might be one of the most important parts of the team. They are the unsung heroes of the office. Celebrate the quiet dominance of the office introvert!

La La Land — Let’s see … beautiful people that break into song and dance at the drop of a hat and may or may not be able to tell the difference between reality and daydreams?  Hmmmmmm … oh wait … it’s the SALES AND MARKETING DEPARTMENT!


Lion — While you may not have any five-year old Indian orphans running around your office getting adopted by Aussie Oscar® winner, Nicole Kidman, you definitely have a lion (or two) running around the office. Otherwise known as The Cool Guy (or Girl), they’re the fun person who breaks all the rules and is a really bad influence on you. They drink at lunch, talk back to senior management and show up late. They come off as not caring, but are so cool they seem like the office equivalent of the rebel hero/heroine in a 1980’s high school movie. And yet, for all this, their career doesn’t seem to suffer.


Manchester by the Sea This is a tale all about family, both the good and the really, really, really heartbreakingly bad.  In your office, it’s the person who benefits from being the boss’s kid. Everyone knows that if it wasn’t for mom or dad, Junior would be asking you if you wanted fries with your burger instead of asking if you could get that report to him tomorrow. (Even though that report isn’t due until next month, Sparky!)

Junior’s connections at the country club will keep his career trajectory on the upswing even if his skills and talent say otherwise. Keep in mind that when mom or dad retire, chances are he will follow suit and start training for his career in professional skiing … at age 48. Hey, all those vacations in Aspen must have done some good, right?


Moonlight — The moon comes out when it’s dark and nothing is darker in the workplace than the classic Negative Nancy, Queen of All That Is Someone Else’s Fault. If complaining could drive your company’s profits, Nancy would be a terrific asset. Unfortunately, being a cranky-pants doesn’t do anybody any good. And, that means nobody wants to hang out with Nancy.

On those occasions when you have department lunches at local restaurants, it’s like the world’s largest game of musical chairs to avoid getting stuck next to her. And heaven forbid it’s you, no matter what you order, she knows someone that ate that same dish and ended up in the hospital for a week with gastroenteritis.

Nancy will complain about any subject at any time and her general dissatisfaction about a number of issues is what makes her act the way she does. Negative people in the office usually fall under one or more of the following labels: bored, disgruntled, busy, or unhappy with their work.

So, what do you think? Are there any workplace personalities you work with that should be here? If you’d like help in dealing with some of these less desirable personalities, check out our management and communication seminars for help.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, your social  media blogger (me) saw all the Best Picture nominees and would have cast his ballot for Manchester By The Sea by a razor-thin margin over Hell or High Water. Enjoy the show!

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