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11 Signs You’re the Workplace Unicorn

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Recently, someone from another department thanked a colleague and me for completing a project that I had very little part in. My colleague was responsible for the majority of the workload, and my role was to simply send the items he had prepared to the printer, a five-minute task. “Let me say how much I appreciate both of you for taking this on!” she wrote. My colleague, having done most of the work, responded, “It’s our pleasure! Kelsey is the fabulous printing guru, I’m just generating those codes (which I’m almost done with).” I actually laughed out loud. Clearly my colleague is just a fantastic, upbeat person, but there was no reason he had to give me credit where none was due.

[Related: How to Deal with Disorganized Coworkers]

When I thought more about that small gesture, I became even more amazed at how rare that is in the workplace. You encounter so many people who not only don’t give credit where it’s due (even when it is earned), but who will out-and-out take credit they don’t deserve. If you have a coworker like mine, congratulations, because you have hit the coworker lottery. If you are that exceptionally considerate soul, thanks for making the office a little more pleasant for the rest of us. And if none of these behaviors sound familiar to you, may I suggest adopting a few yourself?

1. You give your colleagues credit when citing accomplishments that were 95 percent your own.

2. You are genuinely appreciative of constructive criticism, and take it as an opportunity to learn—rather than a personal attack to dwell on for the next six months.

[Related: 5 Questions to Ask When You’re Looking for Feedback]

3. You actually anticipate (beyond the blatantly obvious) the needs of not only your boss, but fellow colleagues.

4. You know the coffee orders of not only everyone on your team, but everyone in your immediate proximity. (And obviously birthdays #childsplay.)

5. You inquire about projects you have very little to do with, asking how they are coming and if you can help in any way.

6. On networking outings, you spend a significant portion of your time talking about what a great team you have.

[Related: 5 Awesome Comebacks When Your Boss Takes Credit for Your Work]

7. You know the names of everyone’s significant other and children, and ask things like, “Is Caleb still enjoying that swing set you built last summer?”

8. You go out of your way to provide a gluten-free option whenever you bring in baked goods for the team, which is probably often.

9. You don’t whine. (Probably the rarest item of them all.)

10. But you do wine. You are always the one who sets up calendar invites for boozy Friday lunches, happy hours, and even weekend brunches.

11. Coworkers often come to you in a tizzy asking, “What should we get Lisa for Christmas??”

Trust me, your colleagues respect and appreciate you more than they even realize. Thank you.

Photo: Hero Images/ Getty Images


Coworkers Career Advice
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Join the conversation:

I really like half of these...
1-3, 6 & 9... They are good "coworker" or "team mate" behaviors... but the rest seem a lot more like "friend" behaviors and a personal preference. I personally prefer a delineation between my social life and my work life. I think if I were in a management position I would feel differently about a couple of the items, 4 and maybe 10. Perhaps my perspective is as an introverted person; being in a work environment that socially personal would be very uncomfortable.

#2. People don't realize how important constructive criticism is; it is essential to improving, becoming and maintaining a good work ethic.

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