This is the second profile installment of a seven-part series. The subsequent pieces will introduce the profile of a workplace bully, the tactics they employ and your superpower to help overcome workplace conflict. These profiles are inspired by Meredith Fuller's "Working with Bitches."
The superhero motif is used in the series because workers can serve as the heroes of their own stories. A good building block to create workplace dignity is to first develop your own powers for defense, advocacy and empowerment. As employees and activists, tapping into unique power and taking on an alter ego when necessary can help you advocate, build power and fight the forces of evil encountered in the workplace.
The Energy Vampire
Behavior: The Energy Vampire survives on energy rather than blood but be careful that they don’t sink their teeth in. The Energy Vampire is synonymous with the Drama Queen; they are overly sensitive to perceived rejection, enjoy discussing emotionally charged subjects at work and demand you to invest your energy in them. If something goes wrong, they’re the first to complain about it and expect the rest of the team to support them. The Energy Vampire oversteps personal boundaries and does so without regard for the toll it takes on others.
Superpower: Sucking Out Energy! The Energy Vampire lives off of the emotional pull they get from their coworkers and resents the ones who don’t play along. They’ll never invest that energy back into work relationships, so as a result, relationships become one-sided. Their energy suck can leave coworkers feeling powerless, uncomfortable and vulnerable. Moreover, the Energy Vampire will blow small infractions out the water--if something goes wrong, they’re the first to complain about it and expect the rest of the team to support them.
Your Super Superpower: Keeping Your Distance! The Energy Vampire can’t suck your energy and time if you keep a safe distance. This may manifest itself in turning down social engagements or being politely too busy with work to invest in their emotional upheavals. Fuller recommends that you don’t trust the Energy Vampire with confidentiality or allow them to change your view of coworkers. Keeping your distance means staying safe when working with an Energy Vampire.