There Are 4 Types Of People Who Work At Every Job — And Two Of Them Give Their Co-Workers The Major ‘Ick’

Avoid the ick and choose your work friends wisely.

four coworkers talking Kateryna Onyshchuk / Shutterstock

Cliques exist almost everywhere, from moms on the playground to co-workers in a corporate office.

Sally is an early career expert who helps young workers make the transition from college to the corporate sphere. She offers insider tips that cover a wide range of topics, including interview tips and what to do once you land your first job.

She shared her perspective on the different types of people that exist in the workplace, explaining her belief that everyone falls into 4 categories.


There are 4 types of people at every job, and two of them give their co-workers major ‘ick’:

1. Suck-ups

One archetype that seems to cross all work realms is the suck-up. These people function as the yes-men of the office, praising upper management’s every move as a way to gain favor.


woman smiling while talking with co-worker SeventyFour / Canva Pro

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At best, they’re insecure people-pleasers who want to do right by their boss. At worst, they’re manipulative and insincere, using sugar-coated kindness to step over others and get ahead.

In a 2017 study conducted by psychology professor Sarah Langford, suck-ups were given a more formal title: “Insincere ingratiators.” Their behavior can be categorized as inauthentic and self-serving, attributes that often make people uncomfortable. 


Harmless suck-ups are easy to brush aside, yet it’s best to avoid the more vicious suck-ups in order to maintain your inner peace.

2. Go-getters

These are the employees who actually get their jobs done. They come to work for the sole purpose of working and collecting a paycheck.

They steer clear from any complex office politics. They have drive and a strong moral compass, making them a solid choice for a workplace bestie.

Sally shared a “hot take” that “the rarest person in a corporate job is an honest person.”

@yourfirstcorporatejob My opinion: You need feedback to get better, especially in the corporate world. So, find yourself an HONEST person who will give you that raw feedback. It may not be what you want to hear but it’ll make you better. Which is what we all want, right? Leave a comment if you agree or disagree.#career#corporate #firstjob #careeradvice #9to5 ♬ original sound - Sally | Early Career Expert

“Find yourself an honest person, someone who can actually give you the real stuff because that’s the only way you’re gonna grow,” she said.


Connecting with your “ride or die” co-worker, the one you can rely on to give direct, honest feedback, is a crucial power move and an all-around smart social decision.

two female coworkers talking BGStock72 / Shutterstock

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3. Thieves

Thieves are people who steal ideas and credit from their co-workers, and they should be avoided at all costs.


If you’re thrown into a project with a thief, do your best to document your contributions and speak up for yourself at meetings.

Thieves are the ultimate workplace villain. They exist in many forms: The toxic boss who uses their team’s work to get ahead without taking anyone else along or the co-worker who coasts by without expending any effort.

At their core, a person who takes credit for someone else’s work is a dishonest person who only looks out for themselves.

Sally shared a “controversial statement” about receiving recognition for projects, saying, “If you don’t get the credit, don’t do it.”

“This is especially true if you’re working in a corporate job. The credit is what you can write in a performance review and that performance review could get you promoted, which gives you more money,” she explained.


Credit for a job well done “is also how your boss can brag about you so that you can stand out from others.”

“Focus your attention on work that you can get credit for,” Sally advised.

Her perspective sheds light on exactly how poisonous a thief can be. By taking credit for work that other people do, they’re robbing their co-workers of future opportunities, all to serve themselves first. 

4. Talkers

Employees who are “All talk” give lip service to the important things they do without actually doing them.

They are slightly less toxic than thieves, yet they tend not to pull their weight when it comes to getting work done. They know how to play the game, climb the corporate ladder, and position themselves for success without actually putting in the work.


man looking over woman's shoulder at work Vitaly Gariev / Unsplash

Sally advised putting the people you meet at your job into 'one of these four buckets and think about who you like and who gives you the corporate ick.'

She shared that the two personality types that give her the "ick" are thieves and talkers, yet she noted that your corporate ick might be different from hers.

Her classifications highlight the importance of choosing a support network with care and staying away from people who give the corporate ick.


Listening to your intuition, especially when it comes to trusting people in a competitive work environment, is always good advice. Checking in with your gut goes hand-in-hand with being true to yourself and your values, even as you strive for success. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.