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Career Advice

The Avengers You Meet In Every Job (And How To Prevent Civil War)

By Daniel Olivan on April 4, 2016

The one downside to superheroes is that they come with super-problems. If you've watched any of the Avengers or Captain America movies, or read the comic books, you'll know what I mean.

So imagine if you had to work with the Avengers: highly-skilled and competent people, but with super-quirks that can potentially super-annoy you. Don't fret. This guide will help you identify which Avenger you're dealing with, and how to make sure the office won't go down in flames:
Iron Man
[caption id="attachment_8444" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]Screenrant Iron Man (Source: ScreenRant)[/caption]

You know an Iron Man (or Woman) when you see him. Everyday, he comes into the office wearing really expensive brands. He's always sure to have the newest iPhone model every time Apple comes out with a new one (which is practically every year). Everybody knows when he's in the room, because you can smell the $$$ (not the pesos, mind you) whenever he's around.

He can take the form of an obnoxious fresh grad hire-slash-rich kid who still gets a baon that rivals your monthly salary. She could also be the fashionista manager who makes sure that everyone knows that diamonds are a girl's best friend. And did you notice how many hot boy/girlfriends he/she has? In the words of every single and lonely Filipino and Filipina out there: "Saan ang hustisya?!"

Whatever face this person may take, what annoys you the most about the Iron Men and Women is that no matter how much you hate them, you can't deny the fact that they're smart and brilliant people. They have an excellent answer to every question, and just when you think they're about to give up, they pull through and save the day, even if they can be a little bossy.

[caption id="attachment_8442" align="aligncenter" width="516"]Iron Man Landing You also know deep inside, you'll never be as cool as he is. (Source: Tumblr)[/caption]

What we mere mortals can do: 

They may not be as nice as you want them to be (or just nice would already be okay for you), but you shouldn't let that bother you professionally. Iron Men may seem like they're all about the ladies (or men) and partying, but they know how to get the job done when it's needed. If you show them that you can be as assertive and serious in work as they really are, you'll be shawarma buddies in no time.

When it's time to draw the line:

Are they starting to harass or bully you? Are they starting to slack off too much during work hours, thinking they can do whatever they want? They may be smart but they need to pull their own weight, too.
Captain America
[caption id="attachment_8447" align="aligncenter" width="980"]Esquire Captain America (Source: Esquire)[/caption]

Captain Americas (Captain Pilipinas?) are the complete opposite of Iron People. They're super nice, responsible, and not to mention super helpful whenever you ask them for help. They always dress and look nice without need to spend thousands of pesos on a necktie.

You could easily imagine bringing Captain America home to your parents, tell them you're getting married, and your parents being 100% supportive of your spontaneous decision despite having only met your spouse-to-be that very moment. (There are rumors in the office that Captain America has abs, but you're too embarrassed to ask him yourself.)

But this kind of coworker can be way too serious about their work. Whenever you invite a Captain America out for drinks before Friday, he will decline because "it's a work day tomorrow." And on Fridays, if you actually get him to go out with you and your friends, he never drinks more than one bottle and goes home 30 minutes into the evening.

You can't really complain, though, because it's not like they're underperforming. In fact, Captain Americas are people you respect for their work ethic...but that's pretty much it.

[caption id="attachment_8450" align="aligncenter" width="321"]Captain America Abs At least the abs are real. (Source: Tumblr)[/caption]

What we mere mortals can do: 

People are different. Maybe Captain America just likes to get to know people in a different way. How about coffee? Or dinner (without alcohol)? Or maybe he/she just wants to keep work life separated from his daily life. If so, it's better to respect that.

When it's time to draw the line:

When you share a joke with them, they react negatively and don't even acknowledge your attempt at friendship. When you ask them about their life outside work, they answer back violently because they feel you're prying. This is way too much work-life separation.
Black Widow
[caption id="attachment_8451" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]Black Widow Mic (Source: Mic)[/caption]

The Black Widow (or Black Widower) is a specialist in her field. You've never really met her. You only hear it from other coworkers, but apparently she's so good at what she does that no matter what kind of crisis the company is having, she will be there to help solve it.

It just so happens that your department is undergoing changes in strategy and management. She was chosen by the company to oversee the transition. Finally, you tell yourself, you actually see the Black Widow in person.

And she's everything everyone says she is. She's always thinking about how to solve problems, and solves them at a rate of (probably) one per minute. She never takes no for an answer, and whenever someone tells her that "It can't be done," she will make sure to make the point that 1) it can be done, and 2) go do it. Now.

It's all exciting and cool until she starts focusing on you — you've become a problem that needs to be solved. If she hasn't assassina — I mean, fired you already, then she's going to chase after your every move until you get it right. She does this while doing the same to 200 other employees, and the Black Widow is not even breaking a sweat.

[caption id="attachment_8454" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Black Widow Spin Tumblr You don't know what she did but she got the job done. So that's...good? (Source: Tumblr)[/caption]

What we mere mortals can do: 

Black Widows/Widowers are experts in their field, and not just because they say so. You can see the results of what they're doing. You might not like how they run things at first, but you have to trust in their knowledge.

When it's time to draw the line:

Just because Black Widows/Widowers are experts doesn't give them the right to be condescending. Nor does it give them the right to be full-time micromanagers. If you find yourself and your team under the dictatorship of a Black Widow, that's when superhero becomes super-villain.
[caption id="attachment_8456" align="aligncenter" width="1035"]Hulk Rolling Stone (Source: Rolling Stone)[/caption]

On your first day, the Hulk was the guy who took the time to have lunch with you. He was the guy who told you how awesome it is that you're joining their team. He was the guy who volunteered to be your office buddy and was happy to answer any question you had about work. He seemed to be the nicest guy in the universe.

Until you pissed him off.

You don't know what it was that you did. Was it because you were 10 minutes late in submitting a report he asked for? Or maybe it was your friendly but perhaps hurtful comment about his sweater vest being "baduy." You really don't know.

All you know is he's typed at least 30 swear words in the first three sentences of his email reply to you. (You even learned a few new ones because of that.) The Hulk is a few feet away, but you can hear him grumbling some not-so-nice things, and he's not exactly being gentle with the way he's banging and throwing things around his desk. You walk up to him, and ask him, "Are you okay?" And before you could finish your sentence, shouts back "DON'T TALK TO ME WHILE I'M ANGRY."

And so you don't. The next day, he goes over to your desk with an awkward smile on his face. He apologizes to you. He was just having a bad day at work, and he promises you can still approach him any time you want to. It's happened before, your coworkers say, but you shouldn't worry. You're (kind of) relieved, but start to become more careful with what you do around him.

[caption id="attachment_8457" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Hulk Smash Loki Warning: This could be you. (Source: ReactionGifs)[/caption]

What we mere mortals can do:

The good Hulks know they have short tempers, and they will make an effort to keep themselves in check. Ask coworkers, or even Hulks themselves, what triggers their anger, or what helps them calm down. Use that information to help keep your working relationship with Hulks as smooth as it was on the first few days.

When it's time to draw the line:

If you start losing count of the number of times they've gone on a rampage, and then apologized, and then just go do it again, that is a bloody red flag. That's definitely something you should report to HR immediately.
[caption id="attachment_8460" align="aligncenter" width="1875"]Hawkeye We Got This Covered (Source: We Got This Covered)[/caption]

Hawkeye is that coworker that really doesn't do anything special like the other Avengers. He's not a superpowered like Iron Man or the Hulk, and he's not a known specialist like the Black Widow. In fact, when you think of Hawkeye, the only thing you think of is "oh, you mean the bow and arrow guy."

But what Hawkeyes lack in super-expertise, they make up for with resourcefulness. In whatever situation you throw them into, they will find a way to work with it. They may not be the smartest people in the bunch, but they will find street-smart solutions to every problem they face.

Still, besides being someone you can count on anytime, there's not much else to them. Sometimes, people forget Hawkeyes exist whenever the company is looking for project managers or leads. And it frustrates you that no one picks your Hawkeye buddy.

What frustrates you even more is that Hawkeye doesn't want to take it. Hawkeye says other people are more fit to handle the front lines. He/she will just be in the trenches, providing the best support possible to anyone who needs it.

[caption id="attachment_8461" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Hawkeye Nailed It He can do your job without even looking. He's that good. (Source: Tumblr)[/caption]

What we mere mortals can do:

You may think that your Hawkeye coworkers can be much better than they think they are, but that's not for you to decide. Perhaps they know their limits and are smart and considerate enough to keep a low profile. Or they're just waiting for the right opportunity, the right trick arrow, to come around before they take that big shot.

When it's time to draw the line:

A Hawkeye that takes it too far is a person who doesn't want to do anything because he/she thinks he/she "isn't good enough." Take it one step further, and that person will start to not do anything at all until he/she feels like it.
[caption id="attachment_8462" align="aligncenter" width="1500"]Thor Comic Book Brain (Source: Comic Book Brain)[/caption]

If you think Captain America is out of place in your office, then Thor feels like a visitor from another dimension. He talks in a different way, and sometimes even a completely different language. You get along, kind of, mostly because he's nice, but you can't shake off the feeling that he's from a completely different world.

In your office, he's the transfer from another national branch, or the new expat hire in your office. He could also be just another regular Filipino guy, but he's just really, really weird that you can't seem to connect with him. Or her. (Or it?) Despite all this, both of you still work well together, and aside from the occasional awkward moments, he seems to be a great guy.

It's not always smooth sailing, though. Being an outsider, Thors find it difficult to express themselves properly in workplace where everyone else gets along easily. Sometimes, they resort to brute force (figuratively) to get their point across. And honestly, sometimes you don't really get him either.

[caption id="attachment_8463" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Brooding Thor "No one understands me. Literally." (Source: Tumblr)[/caption]

What we mere mortals can do:

Be patient, and pay Thors the attention they deserve. You already have a communication barrier, and dismissing their ideas or ignoring their suggestions will not make things better. Make sure that even though they started out as outsiders in the company, they will not leave their job feeling the same.

When it's time to draw the line:

"That's not what we do, where I come from," they'll say, and proceed to be stubborn. Thors who can't accept, and won't accept, that they also have to adapt to their new environment will never fit in. You can try all you can to make them feel more at home, but they need to make the effort as well.

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