That's right - they're big enough Jerks that they get the capital J.
You work with these people. Hand-selected, by someone who was not you, at a time you are not aware of, in a place which could have been far, far away. These are Jerks. Your eight-hour-a-day family. As you are an adult, you are forced to spend the majority of your waking hours every day interacting with them, or constructively avoiding them. But avoiding Jerks in a tactful way can be difficult to do when you are literally all up in each other’s business.
So here are a couple of tips for dealing with your challenging co-workers.
1. Don’t answer their emails right away. Yes, this is true for emails of any type. You want to train the people that you do not like and get them used to the idea that you are not responsive. Just like Pavlov’s dog. This will force them to consider other options besides you, if they need something right away. This creates a bit of space and perhaps much needed sanity from your J.
2. Stand up for yourself. If the J happens to be an evil one - put your ‘sharp elbows on’ and choose strategic moments to defend yourself. Js smell weakness so put it all out there. Remember, emails have trails so verbal defense is always better.
3. Evil Jerks can also sometimes be vindictive Jerks or Jerks that have exceptionally good record-keeping skills. If this Jerk is bombarding you with abusive messages, document it, and archive those suckers.
4. Jerks can sometimes be bullies. This means that they may actually be cowards on the inside. Test the waters with the Jerk and don’t accept behavior that is not appropriate.
5. Remember that you have a life outside of work. Invest in that to get your energy for Jerk fighting.
6. Remind yourself that work can sometimes be like a marathon. Sometimes the best strategy is to outlast or out-maneuver your Jerk - just like in Survivor.
7. Get friends at work that make you laugh. Build a circle of trust. Once the circle is built, confide in one person who is not the Jerk’s friend. You may end up bonding and cheering each other up over jabs from the nasty one.
What jerk management strategies do you have? Comment in the space below.