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How Not To Be A Jerk In The Office

Everyone has worked with “That Guy”. You know the one. The guy who draws out meetings by being contrarian on every subject despite the fact that the majority of the participants in the meeting are in agreement on the task at hand. Or the the guy who uses “humor” to belittle a co-worker or even the screamer who keeps their voice turned up to 11 to get what they want.

If you aren’t familiar with “That Guy”, you might just be him or her. And if you are, I have news for you: No one likes you. Consider this your intervention. There are many tips for avoiding being a jerk in the office. Here are a few others:

  1. Your jokes aren’t funny to everyone. What is hilarious to you is harassment to someone else. Here are some suggestions from to avoid losing friends and alienating people.

  2. No one will trust your decision-making skills. The Harvard Business Review has an interesting article as to the reasons why. Among them: Jerks think their opinion is the only one that matters and as such they aren’t open to considering other alternatives and huberistic jerks often make poor decisions because they are blind to their limitations.

  3. If you’re the boss, don’t ignore the pertinent details of a particular task until the last possible moment and then ring alarm bells expecting immediate results from your staff after you’ve dropped the ball.

  4. Don’t get roaring drunk at company events and do embarrassing stuff.

  5. Respect personal space.

  6. Don’t be overly aggressive.

  7. Do not publicly humiliate your co-workers.

  8. Don’t be an “e-gangster”. Don’t send antagonistic emails to your co-workers. You are just creating a record of your jerkitude for your long-suffering co-worker to use against you when plotting your demise.

  9. Do not over share. No one wants to hear the play by play of your last colonoscopy. I mean no one.

  10. Don’t be a bully. Belittling, humiliating and generally making life unbearable for your co-workers can have unintended consequences. As an example, the potential for one of your abused colleagues to snap and cause an “incident” starring you in the office. Don’t be made an example of.

Hopefully this intervention has made you see the error of your ways. If not, then a jerk you remain and you assume the risk. For those of you suffering under the tyranny of a jerk there is no limit to the amount of information available to help you cope. For starters you can go here, here and here. Good luck and Godspeed.

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