Lose the Jerks

I recently got this e-mail from a good friend:

“Hi Vik. I need a bit of advice. I have this co-worker who is a total jerk. He keeps bad-mouthing me and generally gets in the way of my productivity. I’ve made some efforts to fix the situation; after all we’re supposed to be helping each other, but nothing works. What should I do?”

I like to think that most people are nice and generally mean well. But every once in a while, you get someone in your life who is a real jerk, someone that you just can’t deal with. This could be a boss, a co-worker, or an acquaintance. Most people reason that this is part of life – they just have to put up with certain people.

My approach is different: Lose the Jerks

Seriously. Jerks get in the way. They drain your energy and make you less productive. The more you invest in making failed relationships work, the more time you’ll waste….and the less money you’ll make.

I’m not saying to cut people out of your life just because you have a bad first impression. Everyone is different – some people might take time to open up or act friendly. But always be looking for patterns; if things are getting out of hand, make an effort to fix the problem. If that doesn’t work, then try to figure out ways to reduce your interaction with that person.

What if my boss is a jerk? What do I do then?

Ok, I know that you can’t just “lose” your boss. But if you’ve already made a strong effort to improve the situation, you need to look for alternatives. Don’t be afraid to explore transfers or other work opportunities if you have to. These little experiments may end up paying off big time.

A few years back, one of my friends was working as a computer scientist for a major corporation. Her immediate boss was really tough to deal with and consistently decreased the productivity of everyone in her group. As a result, she was unable to grow. Many companies were hiring in her field, but the problem was she had gotten comfortable and didn’t really want to deal with the issue.

She ended up spending three long years stagnating at the company before finally leaving for another opportunity. With a little effort, she could’ve lost the jerk and moved on…but for whatever reason, she held back. Today she says it’s one of her bigger regrets.

A word of caution: Going out of your way to “lose the jerks” is a last resort – only use it everything else has failed and you still can’t deal with the problem. Don’t rush into an emotional decision; take time to figure out if “losing the jerk” really is the best choice. And if it is, go for it. Don’t let emotions stand in the way. You should never be afraid to do what is best for you.

How do you deal with the jerks in your life? Please share in the comments

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