Nice way to ruin your colleagues
Labels are the weapons you use.
One of the more insidious games played in offices is called 'damning with faint praise'. What you do is destroy the other person's chances of advancing by being nice, as you plunge the professional dagger into their back. Why it is successful is because it is easy to do and because the world is very gullible and invariably goes with the flow. Labels are the weapons you use.
The idea is to be the good guy even as you do the dirty, so that the person into whose back you have just shoved a knife thinks you are his friend and well-wisher. It requires a certain panache and deviousness that only comes from being a genuinely heartless person or engaging in a lot of practice till its becomes second nature.
Workaholic: Almost a condemnation; as if, by keeping long hours, the individual is letting the side down by showing up his peers. What could he possibly be doing, except sucking up to the bosses and making the rest of us look bad? You keep calling someone a workaholic, you are creating the image of an idiot who needs to spend twice the time to do half the work. Workaholics on staff get left behind because everyone gangs up against them. And they only figure it out when they get the white envelope saying goodbye - and often, not even then.
Meticulous. That's like saying he's a complete, 24-carat pain in the neck who cannot see the wood for the trees and only exists to make life miserable for others in the office with his passion for the nitty-gritty. He'll be sidetracked, bet on it.
Whiz kids: Usually younger than the mean age, they come recommended by VIPs. It is automatic to gang up against them and conspire to undermine their new ideas with exuberant malice. Many an incandescent idea has been extinguished by the blow from this in-house agreement to maintain the status quo. So, if you find yourself being called a whiz kid, watch it, they have your number and it could soon be up.
Up and coming: Best way to slow down his progress. Indicates his train has not yet reached the station.
Has the potential: Lateral promotion is mandated. Kick him upstairs and let him and his potential simmer in solitary.
If only he had a little more gravitas: Means nothing, but you have nailed him.
Needs to improve his leadership skills: Second fiddle forever.
Keep an eye on him: Yes, sure, why not sack him today.
Flexible: The person sways with the wind and cannot be relied upon in a crunch. Completely spineless would mean much the same.
Career-minded: What we are really saying is that they're dangerous. Don't trust that lot, all they are interested in is getting ahead by hook or by crook. No way there is even a chance that they just want to do well and, to do well, they bring a certain diligence to their work. We resent their dedication and will make them pay for it.
Ambitious: One would imagine we all are, but those that fall on the way like battle-weary troops and give up hate those whose staying power is longer. So, they turn ambition into a dirty word, as if you were not a team player and were strongly into betrayal because you were marching to your own drumbeat and would happily crush those who came in your way. Ambitious chappie, watch him, he could spell trouble.
Go on, check out which category you have been put in and prepare your defence.