Reading the No Asshole Rule So You Don’t Have To: Evading the Asshole
So you’re stuck with an asshole in the workplace. The best advice for dealing with a workplace asshole is to quit and work elsewhere. For advice on that, check out Post Academic’s tips for getting another job while you’re working for an asshole. If you really are stuck, Bob Sutton’s “The No Asshole Rule” has superb advice for coping:
Stay emotionally detached. Yeah, like that’s easy when someone is calling you names and humiliating you in front of others. However, setting up a wall between your job and your personality is a crucial skill. That way, when you go home, you’re still you, and the asshole can’t take that. Also, by staying detached, you’re less likely to give the asshole the reaction that she wants, which means she is more likely to leave you alone.
Stop working so hard. Do the base amount that you have to do, but don’t go the extra mile until the asshole shows you some respect. Sutton writes, “When your job feels like a prolonged personal insult, focus on just going through the motions, on caring as little as possible about the jerks around you, and think about something more pleasant as often as you can–just get through each day until something changes at your job or something better comes along.”
More after the jump! Caricature of Boss Croker by John S. Pughe from Puck, 1901. Image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Avoid prolonged interactions, like meetings. For academics, this is fairly easy since they have fewer meetings where everyone gets together. For hamsters, it can be tough, but you can change your routine and even your breaks so you never find yourself alone with the asshole.
Keep the spotlight off yourself. You may be tempted to battle hard against the asshole, but if the asshole has more power and others are afraid of her, you may lose. Sutton recommends that, if you’re going to fight, aim for “small wins” that the asshole might not notice. The “small wins” will help you feel better while you’re looking for another job.
Given this advice, no wonder the presence of assholes reduces workplace productivity. Truth is, fear doesn’t make people more productive. It makes them act more productive, and acting is completely different from generating results.
In two days, watch out for tips on how to prevent assholes from getting into your workplace and how to extract them if they weasel their way in …