How to Deal With Office Assholes

Every office has assholes who spoil everything for everyone. They annoy us. They upset us. They drive everyone crazy. It takes a certain personality, a certain talent to do what the rest of us view as appalling, disrespectful or plain crazy, and get away with it. The good news is that we don’t have to put up with these office assholes. The bad news is that it is not easy to confront them. In my career I have dealt with a few types of office jerks. Feel free to add one of your own in the comments below. The Loud Mouth This type of office jerk has prolonged and extremely loud conversations on the phone. Most of the time these conversations are about politics, religion, dates, women, men, about anything really but work. The Loud Mouth disregards coworkers, work deadlines, coworkers political views, religious believes and privacy issues. Everyone is on edge and ready to punch each other in a throat when the Loud Mouth finally hangs up. What you can do: talk to the Loud Mouth and ask them to stop being a jerk. If this doesn’t work you can try to declare your own war, and take some actions against the Loud Mouth. Ever tried talking on your cell phone in the Loud’s Mouth cubicle while the asshole is on the phone, proclaiming allegiance to Scientology? Yeah, me neither. Most of the time no matter what you do, the Loud Mouth might not listen to you. Therefore, I recommend talking to your boss. The Interrupter This type is a bully. I hated bullies in high school. I hate bullies in the office. The Interrupter cuts you off in every meeting, talks over you, disregards your opinion, shows no respect. The worst is that it all happens in front of other people. The Interrupter makes you feel embarrassed, humiliated and disrespected. You start having self-doubts, thus your performance suffers. You lose your focus. What you can do: there is no other way around it but to stand up for yourself. You don’t have to take this shit from anyone. Well, maybe your boss (and still it depends on circumstances.) However, do not be rude to the Interrupter. Stay cool and professional. Tell the offender directly “I am not done talking. Let me finish.” Say it firmly, clearly and loudly (but please don’t scream.) You know what worked for me in the past? Extending my arm, palm up to the offender’s face and saying, “Let. Me. Finish.” The Office Wanderer This is the type that annoys me the most. The Office Wanderer hangs out in your cubicle at the most inconvenient times, telling you weekend stories, staring at your computer, scanning the papers on your desk. The worst part is that no matter what you do or say, nothing seems to work on the Office Wanderer who keeps coming back. What you can do: the more straight forward you are going to be, the better it will work. In the past I would say that I did not have time to chat. I would ask if there was something the Office Wanderer was looking for on my desk. I would turn my back on the uninvited cubicle guest, and would explain that I was working on an approaching deadline. If the Office Wanderer insisted on staying and talking, I would jokingly say that it seemed to me they had a lot of time on their hands. I am a...

Ask Your Boss: My Boss Called Me A Moron, and I Want to Quit. For the Third Time....

Hi, I have worked for a controversial retail company for 4 years. I moved up the ranks through this time and eventually made it to the highest rank in my district. I have put in my resignation notice two times before in the future, the most recent time was about a year and a half ago. Both times I was begged to stay and offered raises, being in my early twenties at the time I stayed even though my heart was telling me to move on.  This past summer I had an audit at one of the locations I managed and a woman I work with, whom I would have considered a friend at the time, totally threw me under the bus for issues that were happening that I was already working on a solution for. My boss, the one that had begged me to stay in the past, went along with all of her claims and things got nasty and unprofessional, he even called me a moron.  I felt totally emotionally destroyed after this happened, I cried for days, I could not believe this former “friend” would do this to me and I could not believe how cruel these people were acting. All of my years of hard work were just disregarded. My self confidence was really hurt and I didn’t know what to do for a while. How do I resign from this company now? I have resigned so many times in the past and I feel as though I will not be taken seriously, I am ready to move on. Your boss called you a moron, huh? No matter how frustrated I have ever felt, no matter what words were rushing through my brain, I have never called any of my employees names (not that I did not want to). First, it is very unprofessional. Second, it is horribly demeaning. Third, it shows that you are a moron yourself. Fourth, it is putting you, as a boss, in a very vulnerable position. By the way, you should consider filing verbal abuse or a bullying complaint with HR. In other words, you should consider filing a grievance against your boss. What an asshole! I bet you are ready to quit. Who wouldn’t be in your position? I don’t see an issue with your previous two resignations. I, personally, know how difficult it is to recover after a big blow up in the office. I would not busy myself with concerns if your manager is taking you seriously or not. He called you a moron, remember? Who the hell cares at this point if he thinks you are trying to get yourself another raise? Two questions concern me in your situation: Do you have another job lined-up? If the answer is “no,” it brings me to my second question Are you financially ready to walk out the door and never look back? It seems to me that emotionally and mentally you are not just ready to quit, you can hardly wait. But what about your finances? The job market is not great, and it might take a long time to find another job. Do you have enough money saved so that you can sustain (and for a long time) your lifestyle while looking for a job? You might need to consider staying for a while with your current employer. Just simply suck it up. I never recommend quitting for the sake of walking out the office, proudly facing...

Ask Your Boss: Does A Cover Letter Matter?...

How do you feel about cover letters? I always try to do three brief paragraphs – not too long but still customized to the job. Do you ever read those? When we do recruiting, I give a lot of weight to cover letters…but I don’t know if they really matter to people doing the hiring. I have to admit that I do not give a lot of weight to a cover letter when selecting a candidate for an interview. Most of the time I do not even request a cover letter to accompany an application. Honestly, I don’t have time to read through tons of cover letters, and later plough through tons of resumes. I do scan cover letters just to see if you can write and write well. My opinion about a cover letter might be the exception. Others might view your cover letter as one of the most important parts of your job application. Therefore, let me strongly suggest to not underestimate the power of a cover letter because I told you that I don’t have time to read them. It is just one boss’s opinion and personal preference. I strongly suggest to include a cover letter with a job application unless there is a statement that indicates “no cover letters.” A cover letter is a necessity and an integral part of the job application package. Therefore, if you do need to attach a cover letter to your job application: Please make sure it is tailored to a particular job. I cannot complain enough about cover letters that talk about a job that has nothing to do with the job we posted. Individualize your cover in a away that shows me your understanding of the position. Otherwise, you are doing yourself a huge disfavor. I might toss your cover letter and your resume in my outburst of frustration. Please make sure that your cover letter is not another summarization of your resume. Think about your cover letter as your first chance to make an impression. Your resume is your second chance. You don’t want to repeat the same things over and over again. Or do you? Please tell me a story in your cover letter. I love compelling personal stories. The difference between your resume and your cover letter is very simple. A resume lists your skills and experience that supports your skills. The cover letter tells your story. Please do not tell me that you are the best of the best and I won’t find anyone better than you. Statements like this piss me off. First, it is not a true statement. It is a lie. I hate lies. Second, it is also an exaggeration. I hate exaggerations. Third, I smell your ego from miles and miles away. Big ego equals cockiness which usually equals obnoxious personality. There is only room for one cocky obnoxious personality – me. And I am the one doing the hiring. Please tell me why you think the job is a good fit for you. This is where you tell me something that your resume does not communicate. It should be a very specific statement to the job you are applying. Pick one skill that is not mentioned in your resume but that is pertinent to the position. Describe it, give me an example, tell me a story. Remember, a cover letter won’t do you any harm. Just make sure you spend some time on it, tailor it, personalize it and...

How to Infiltrate The Good Ol’ Boys Club...

It happens that I work in a field that attracts men, and (for whatever reason) intimidates women. When I got my first big promotion I was ecstatic. I felt that big times are coming my way. I felt I could move mountains and fly to the moon. Then I found myself in a room full of men. I was the only woman in meetings. I have to admit that in the beginning I was intimidated being the only woman in the room. Later, I started to get annoyed. I got frustrated with the way I was treated by my male counterparts. I noticed that most of the time my opinion was dismissed or overlooked. My voice wasn’t heard. If by some miracle my opinion was heard, my words were taken with a huge dose of skepticism. And sarcasm. And obvious doubt. After some time the good ol’ boys’ consistent dismissal started to get to me. I wondered if I ever would be not just noticed, but heard and respected. One day I had enough and made a plan to infiltrate the good ol’ boys club for three reasons: I wanted to prove to myself that I deserved the promotion I got; I wanted to show that I can do my job; I wanted to be respected. To be honest, I did not want to belong to the good ol’ boys club. I am not big on any affiliations. However, I decided that I did not want to send emails and get responses that addressed my boss and ignored me. I did not need to look into these men’s faces and see “you are a woman, what do you know” dismissive smiles. I simply wanted to be able to express my opinion, and get a meaningful response. Therefore I came up with Six Steps To Infiltration I accepted the notion that there will be no major change in the good ol’ boys club. I was not the one to bring that change. I needed to adapt. I started to wear more professional clothes. Men mostly wear suits, right? Initially, I dressed somewhat business casual, then I started to wear suits too. I wanted to come across as professional as I could be. I tried to learn as much as I could about my new responsibilities. I put in a lot of hours, and a lot of effort to make sure I was staying on top of things. The more I learned, the more confidence I gained. I took initiative and invited myself into situations I would never be invited otherwise. I volunteered to research. I volunteered to prepare spreadsheets. I took more responsibilities. This allowed me to get noticed. I trained myself (almost forcibly) to speak up. It was very intimidating at first. But I learned from my experience that if I did not voice my opinion (that was as valuable as anyone’s else), I would never be heard. I figured out that respect should be earned. It was very difficult to earn respect of the good ol’ boys club but it was possible. What is the most valuable asset that earns the most respect? Knowledge. The more you know, the more respect you earn. Have I successfully infiltrated the good ol’ boys club? Not yet! It is still a work-in-progress, and it, probably, will remain a work-in-progress for a long time. However things are getting better. Slowly....

Ask Your Boss: Why Does A Boss Care if I am Late Ten Minutes...

Why does a boss care about someone being 10 mins late to work but doesn’t notice when that person works through her lunch to meet a deadline? Just from the way you formulated this question, I can see that you are frustrated with your boss. However, I see not one but two issues at hand: You are coming late to work. You do not feel appreciated. Let’s not put these two issues in one bundle. They have nothing to do with each other. I am going to tackle one issue at a time. Tardiness The reasons I, as a boss, care when someone is late ten minutes: You are constantly late. Tardiness is your problem. Your shift starts at a certain time and, probably, for a good reason: You provide customer service. Lines of people outside the door, waiting for you to show up, tend to get angry. You need to open the office. Customers and employees crowd the parking lot outside, waiting for you to open the door. You have to start answering the phone at a certain time. No one wants to listen to a non-stop ringing phone, especially on Monday morning. You have other duties and responsibilities that need to be performed at a certain time. Whatever those duties are, you need to start performing them on time. Your late arrival puts a burden on others to cover for you. Yes, ten minutes can be more important than you think. Your co-workers get upset with you for being late. If they can be at work on time, why can’t you? They feel that you are getting preferential treatment. Your tardiness might be ruining the teamwork for apparent reasons I mentioned above. The reasons I, as a boss, do not care when someone is late ten minutes: It happens on a very seldom occasion and with a legitimate excuse. Your work schedule is flexible. No one depends on you to be in the office at the certain time. You are an exempt employee (you are not paid based on your hours but rather your job), and you make sure that your job is getting done no matter what time you come in or leave. Not knowing your situation, I will say this: put in some effort to be at work on time. If your boss won’t notice it, others will. It pays off in the long run. Not Appreciated at Work You work through your lunch, you stay long hours, and you never hear a word of appreciation, or a simple “thank you.” Before you jump the gun and storm into your boss’s office to have a conversation, there are certain things you need to consider. Things to Consider: Evaluate your office environment. Does your boss treat everyone the same way? In other words, is your situation unique or is it a part of an overall management style? Take a hard look at yourself. Do you show appreciation for others? Are you a team player? Do you show appreciation for your boss? Are you making your accomplishments known? Not in a loud and obnoxious way, but in a smart and subtle way. Does your boss know what you do? You might be surprised by the response. Do you let your manager know on a regular basis what projects you are working on? Assess your attitude. Even if you do a great job but your attitude is negative, you are grumpy and unsatisfied most of the time, it...