Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Working for a Jerk

I don't think any of my co-workers read my blog, but in case any of them do, I want to make clear that the "jerk" referred to in this entry's title does not apply to the people who are officially my bosses. And if the person who I am referring to does happen to read this entry, I'm sure he won't recognize himself as the target. So if you think it's you, it's probably not. If it is you, I know you don't care about my opinion anyway.

I recently started working with someone who others had warned me about. Nobody had anything nice to say about him. He was variously described as a "dick," a "prick," and an "asshole," usually prefixed with a colorful adjective or two. Nobody used the term "jerk," but I'll use that one since it is rated G.

I pride myself with being able to get along with anyone, by being helpful and never taking things personally. I can always find some sort of common ground. I wanted to keep an open mind and get things rolling on the right foot. I figured he couldn't be all bad, and even if he was, he'd try to play nice with me just because that's the smart thing to do.

So when on Day One, he made a snide comment with the subtle implication that I was lazy and not focusing on my job, I let it slide. I was sure he didn't really mean it that way.

But now on Day Three, he has directly insulted me in an e-mail. And he CC'ed a few other people, I guess because he wanted others to know how he felt about me. OK, now it's clear where we stand.

This guy holds a position of authority, so I'll continue to do as he asks. But I know I can't make this guy happy, so I'm not inclined to try. I'll obey his orders, and continue to do what I think is in the best interests of the company, but I'm not going to be doing him any favors or giving him the benefit of the doubt when we disagree. I'll act like an adult, but I won't be working weekends to help him earn his bonus.

It's unfortunate, because this is going to be a difficult project for him, and today he lost the only enthusiastic ally he might have had.

I just came across your blog since it was the next blog after mine according to Blogger.
Its sad to see jerks being bosses but its admirable to see your response to his behavior. I am sure this experience will be the one you learnt the most when you look back.
I saw your posting on Google, its something I can't relate to since I don't have a job at present. Kudos to your attitude
I would not be able to let something like that slide. To publically insult you is not acceptable and I would let him know that by CC'ing everyone he did.

I'm not really sure of your employment situation, and how far you can take things, if this asshole is in a position to fire you etc. So I can't really offer any advice... perhaps talk to his boss.

Good luck.
A couple of the other recipients of that e-mail have privately commented "What an asshole, huh?"

He's not in a position to fire me, but I'm not in a position where talking to his boss would make any difference.

I'm not worried about any damage to my reputation caused by this guy. I'd just like work to be less unpleasant.
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