You know that guy who craps all over every crazy idea that your group might generate with the eternal refrain, “it’s been done”? There’s a name for that guy: The Idea Killer. And your colleague who is basically grinding with your back when he peers over your shoulder at the computer? That’s a Shoulderbeast.
These are just two of many “Workwankers,” created by freelance creatives and co-founders of digital production shop Mizaplas, Peter Cortez and Joe Sayaman, to describe the less-than-personable personnel who populate ad firms. (See Chief Accent Officer: the expat who believes his sexy Aussie/English/Bulgarian accent is a sign of high intelligence.) But let’s face it: you can find these creatures in pretty much every profession. And if you know of any Workwankers at your office who deserve to be named and shamed, you can use the site to “Call out a Wanker.” An anonymous email will go to your nemesis.
Sayaman and Cortez say they created the site for fun, but it struck a nerve with the friends they shared it with. “We’re both freelancers and really believe that to prevent from going crazy, you need to keep yourself busy with stuff you love to do,” says Sayaman. “I’m a copywriter by trade, and haven’t really illustrated anything since I was a kid, so it was fun to have a go at it again. Peter saw it as a chance to really play with design and type without any constraints. However, the more we shared the idea with our ad friends, everyone was like, ‘I know every single one of these people,’ and they would want to riff on it. We realized that a lot of people in advertising/design feel this way, but it’s weirdly unspoken or we ‘talk shit.’ We saw it as an opportunity to bring some of these frustrations to the surface and not in a mean-spirited way. We wanted the illustrations to be charming, but still have a bite. So it’s almost like a wink to our industry that ‘hey, we know you wankers are out there, you know who you are, so quit being one! We’ll all enjoy our jobs much more.'”
And the team is perfectly willing to cop to some workwankery themselves. “We feel that like the Kinsey Scale of Hetero/Homosexuality, everyone in advertising is on the Workwanker Spectrum. Some are 1s, others are 10s. I’m probably guilty of being 3- or 4-degree Shoulderbeast to Peter sometimes. At some gigs, Peter will happily admit that he’s a 7- or 8-degree Pair-of-Hands. Also, maybe we were both Award Gremlins for the cookbook and travel guide apps we recently built.”
Identify your office mate, and maybe yourself, in the Workwanker gallery above.