Dealing with the ‘Brown Noser’ at work

Telling all about tale-tellers

In almost every organisation that I’ve ever worked for, I inevitably find myself prey to a tale-teller, a sucker, an a**-licker, whom I can never get along with from the word go. This brings me to realise that no organisation can function without one. In fact, I think employers/managers make it their primary aim to insert one of these so called species into the working team to make our lives a living hell. This specimen has one main objective — to convey the little secrets of us poor workers to the boss, who will inevitably use this degrading info to deny us our little joys.

Today I had to deal with this particular obnoxious co-worker who undoubtedly squealed something about me to the people up-top (i.e. the bosses) and lo and behold — whaddya know? I faced a reprimand! I had to swallow my anger and pride — courtesy that prattling, nosy, interfering, tale-teller and had no choice but to go about my business with a smile on my face. After all, the paycheck matters!

I was stewing within, trying to keep my words and emotions in check when in office, while internally deliberating on how much pleasure I would get if I could just punch him in the nose and break it! Whew, just writing that down made me feel better.

When I got home that day, my fiery temper had cooled off somewhat and suddenly I realised that there might actually be a way I can throw punches at this guy without ever lifting my fist — i.e by writing!’s the wisdom of the saying, “Never make writers your enemies. They can put you in a book and kill you!” So although I am not an author of a book, I certainly write, and hence I call myself a writer. And thanks to Medium, I can publish my writing as well.

So I did a little research on the suck-ups at work and to my surprise I found that they are called ‘Brown Nosers’.

brown noser (plural brown nosers)

(idiomatic) One who brownnoses (flatters or humors somebody in an obsequious manner for personal gain); one who sucks up; a bootlicker, ass-kisser, sycophant.

Ahhh. Fits the bill perfectly. From now, I will refer to this species or the dregs of the human race as ‘BN’.

Digging up further, I looked up the etymology of the word, and guess what I found…

Etymology of Brown Noser: A metaphorical image: when kissing the buttocks of another person, one’s nose is liable to be covered in brown feces.

Imagine my delight when I conjure up a picture of BN based on the etymology of the word! However much I would like you to have a dekko at that scene, it can only be in my head, so let’s leave it at that.

But, the point I’m trying to make here is, dealing with people like BN can be a nightmare, especially during these troubling times when we are all working from home and our endurance towards others is at its lowest.

I will enlist here the characteristics of a typical BN species (which are accentuated during the existing ‘work from home’ situation) with an aim to help you deal with or steer clear of anyone who starts showing symptoms of this particular malady.

  1. He considers the work from home situation a boon.
  2. He has been gifted uninterrupted ear-space from the people up-top and a tale-telling telephone call is all it takes to make the lives of the rest of humanity a living hell.
  3. He regales the authorities with long forgotten, little mistakes of his peers hoping to improve his image. (Just like if you are fat, you hobnob with people who are fatter, so you seem thin in comparison).
  4. He delights in the fact that others are getting a bum’s rush based on his tell-telling.
  5. He twists the truth to make it sound like he’s the one who works the hardest and the best, while the rest are just here to pass the time of day.

I can still fathom that this sub-species of human knows nothing better than being a BN, but where does that leave the people up-top? What does listening and acting upon the fabrication created by the the BN make them? Alas, the English dictionary could not give me an answer to this. But I do have a hypothesis for your consideration: INSECURITY.

You see, the people up-top are insecure. Don’t believe me? Just look at all the dictators or tyrannical rulers from history. They turned out to be more afraid of their subjects than their subjects were of them. “It is”, like Jeeves the butler in the P G Wodehouse novel would say, “based on the psychology of the individual.”

So, follow me closely here, the psychology of the people-up top reveals that they are insecure about one or more of the following:

  1. What would I do if the under-privileged paupers sweating down below start a revolution?
  2. What would I tell my superiors/ clients if all of them decided to leg it together?
  3. What will happen if they defy me?
  4. How will I wield control over these downtrodden lot if I don’t have underhanded information up my sleeve?

Like all wars based on insecurity, the people up-top realise that they need a spy who will blend seamlessly in with the enemies and supply them with a continuous thread of derogatory information, so that the situation remains in control or status quo.

But neither the people up-top nor the BN realise that the folks slogging away are fully aware of the situation. They are just waiting for the right moment to strike up a revolution, and you can bet your bottom dollar, they will. The resulting explosion will be great, the repercussions greater still.

But till then, the downtrodden prefer to be that way, overlooking the snide remarks from those up-above and the BNs smirk, as they are preyed on slowly, day after day.

This essay is a character sketch of just 3 types of human species residing at each work place — the people up-top, the poor worker and the dregs of the human race i.e the BN.

Check which species you fit into. Maybe the time has come to make a change!