Illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt

Field Guide to Office Bullies

  1. Tormentor Types

    Tormentor Types

    Kathi Elster, co-author of Mean Girls at Work, and Patricia Barnes, author of Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace, offer a taxonomy of the worst people in any company.

    The Ice Princess

    “The meanest of the mean,” says Elster. She ignores you in meetings because she can. She’s “unable to see another person’s point of view.” She sees others as a threat and will do anything for superiority.

    Illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt
  2. The Bathroom Gossip

    The Bathroom Gossip

    The lad who wants to turn public opinion against you. But watch out—he’s been “freed from the confines of toilet stalls,” says Barnes. He’s on Facebook, too.

    Illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt
  3. The Alpha Mean Girl

    The Alpha Mean Girl

    The leader of brutal pack-attack bullying. While she seems vicious, “she is just trying to cover up her own inadequacies,” says Elster.

    Illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt
  4. The Psychopath

    The Psychopath

    The completely deranged bully who is the way he is because of his neurology. He’s “biologically predisposed” to make your life miserable, says Barnes.

    Illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt
  5. The Needy Co-Worker

    The Needy Co-Worker

    An unusual bully in that her helplessness and oppressive niceness actually make you mean in response. She acts clueless, and as a result, says Elster, “you snap at her.”

    Illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt
  6. The Don

    The Don

    The power-hungry man who somehow missed his true calling—mafia boss. “He is always right, he demands loyalty at all times,” Elster says.

    Illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt