How To: Identify Grifters at Your Agency

The heightened level of incoming instant messages I’ve received in the past month have only one explanation. Everyone’s pissed at work. Interestingly enough, this rise in frustration is not due to any sort of harassment or abuse in the workplace, but rather in regards to the boom in the acquisition and hiring of this new breed of employee. Catch my grift?

grifter (grfter) Slang – n.

1. Someone who makes money dishonestly, as in a swindle.

2. A swindler or a dishonest gambler.

In new-agency speak, this term directly refers to people who (for some reason) seem to get by with one (or a combination of) zero brain, zero experience and zero understanding of anything slightly related to the field they actually work in. So depending on where you work, you will most likely have to interface with a few of these grift-types. And since we all know that it’s not nice to gossip about people, the ability to spot and avoid having to work with a grifter will lessen the urge to vomit words.


Here are some common grifter traits:


1. After lurking around the internet, you discover that on their LinkedIn profile, that they’ve only ever been a waitress and a word-of-mouth-marketer.

2. They’re featured on this website.

3. Their wireframes consist of one page-type: Modal Window View.

4. They refer to themselves as a ‘Facebook Developer’.

5. They’re a project manager who doesn’t know what an assumption is.

6. They’re an art director who has never been a designer, senior designer, or jr. art director.

7. Nobody gives a shit when they’re gone. Nothing critical is ever dependent upon their presence.

8. They can’t take a client phone call without someone else being present in the room to answer all the questions.

9. Their solution to everything is hiring someone who knows HTML-5

10. They believe everything on their Radian 6 dashboard.

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So, if you’re a recruiter or resource manager reading this right now, I highly caution you when making your hiring decisions. If you’re someone so lucky to be working with a grifter, do everything in your power to get the hell off that project. If you happen to posses one of these traits, you should quit because everyone hates you. na na na na na naaaaaaa

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