Obit a corrum
quam enda quas
exped quam enda
facculie et porum
quam aut dolupic.
Also, meet with toxic people as rarely
as possible. Try to find ways to reduce the
frequency and intensity. One example from
the book is a doctoral student who would
get all these nasty emails from her advisor.
Instead of answering everything right away,
she’d wait a couple weeks and send a single
measured email in response to the whole
batch. Find ways to slow the rhythm.
What if you have to sit near the sleaze?
There are mind tricks to protect your soul
— ways for the situation to be less upsetting
to you even though you can’t change it. My
favorite is a guy at Stanford who pretends that
he’s a doctor who studies “a-hole-ism.” When
he sees these people in meetings, he pretends
that it’s a privilege to be able to see such
a rare specimen. It’s a sort of detachment —
pretending you’re a doctor, just observing.
What’s the tactic of last resort? The last
one is fighting back. You should do this only
with proper precautions and with a lot of
thought. Your chance of winning go up when
you understand the power structure
and dynamics, document the bullying, and
What if the cad is just clueless, not mean?
Pulling them aside and having a conversation
with them can be quite powerful.
How do you avoid jerks from the start?
What’s the best way to hire an employee? Give
the individual a job sample test. Or in the
modern gig economy, do a project or t wo with
the prospect and see if it’s going to work.
And when interviewing for a job, watch
for how a potential boss treats you and
other people. There was a manufacturing
manager candidate who, during his interview
and company tour, noticed as they walked
through the floor that everybody was avoiding
the boss. They were silent and acted afraid
of him. And then, during the interview,
the potential boss wouldn’t listen and kept
interrupting. So that’s a reasonable diagnostic
sign. Also, talk to people who work there,
especially for the immediate boss and work
group that you’re going to go into.
What creates jerks? On average, the more
well-educated and the wealthier and more
prestigious people are, the worse they are. Δ
Robert I. Sutton is a professor of
organizational behavior (by courtesy)
at Stanford GSB.
LOOK OU T FOR BULLIES Use “mind tricks” to protect your soul from toxic coworkers.
the more well-
and the wealthier
people are, the
worse they are.”
“Take this job and shove it,” but if you burn
bridges, all sorts of bad things happen.
What if you can’t leave or transfer?
If you can’t escape the situation, treat the
jerk as a toxic substance that you avoid
as much as possible. Research shows
if you’re more than about 100 feet away
from somebody you work with, they
might as well be in another country.
If you’re within 25 feet of a toxic person,
the chances that you will also become
toxic go up — and the chances that you’re
going to get fired go up as well.