December 10, 2022

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

Latest news from tech-feeds around the world.

Futurism: Are you a jerk at work? 5 ways to rein it in

Are you a jerk at work? Psychology professor Tessa West offers a game plan for interacting more productively with fellow employees—and for spotting your own misbehavior.

The workplace has undoubtedly transformed since March of 2020, when the pandemic sent millions away from offices and to their homes to work remotely, either part-time or full-time—a circumstance that has continued into 2022.

And the upheaval in our work life may have made us even more attuned to a sore spot that’s been there all along: the presence of challenging coworkers. When we’re stressed, we’re more likely to get on each other’s nerves.

“Most of us have worked with someone who had an outsized effect on our emotional well-being,” writes Tessa West, a social psychologist at New York University, in her book Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them (Portfolio, 2022). The office “playbook” draws from decades of research in outlining ways to make us less “beholden to soul-sucking jerks at work and the chaos they inflict on your life.”

“It’s about looking out for warning signs, understanding why someone behaves the way they do, and learning how to open the lines of communication so you can solve the problem quickly and with as little stress as possible,” continues West, whose book draws from scholarship as well as her own experiences, including a high school job in a video rental store.

While West’s book centers on difficult coworkers, and offers character sketches of specific types of work jerks (dramatized, to music, in the video above), it also raises another, more inward-looking question: Am I “A Jerk at Work”?

“For the most part, there aren’t good people and bad people at work,” West observes. “Most of us have a little ‘work demon’ lurking within us—that less-than-ideal version of ourselves that, given the right circumstances, can come out and wreak havoc on our workplace relationships.”

With this in mind, West outlines rules below to help us spot, and curb, our own potentially jerk-like behavior in the workplace—while also diminishing the same in our colleagues:

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