It’s a fact of life that even assholes and idiots are employable, which means that unfortunately some may worm their way into your workplace. Here are some broad and likely offensive generalizations to help you recognize and avoid this breed of human, ensuring you keep interoffice politics to a minimum and avoid a manslaughter charge.
1. Subtle Misogynist
This breed of office jerk is difficult to recognize at first, since you’ll likely think he’s your friend. He seems nice initially, with a ready smile and a willingness to give you advice on projects as you figure out your place in the company. Maybe he even offers tips on how to better yourself professionally, and it all seems chill.
This advice very quickly becomes unsolicited, however, and in your first presentation where you get passionate about your subject matter, he’ll tell you with a placating chuckle to ‘calm down.’ The placating chuckles turn into patronizing chuckles, and you’ll find it increasingly difficult to finish a sentence in his presence since he is constantly cutting you off. The final straw will be when he incorrectly corrects your work one day and then makes no apology or acknowledgment of it later. You notice that it never happens with his male colleagues, and it all clicks into place.
Avoid the Subtle Misogynist. Absolutely no good can come of tussling with him, since ‘being a dickwad’ is hard to quantify. Instead, focus on your work and steadily outrank him, until he is forced to stand behind and stare furiously as you click down the hall to your new corner office in your lady-skirt and girl-shoes.
2. Stealth Tooter
This person might actually be a pretty cool guy or girl, but he or she can clear a room with their flatulence and that is a pretty jerk move. Maybe they eat egg salad in the break room every day, or maybe they haven’t discovered Lactaid yet. Either way, they strike without sound, rhyme, or reason, and it makes them impossible to pinpoint or avoid.
When you do sort out who’s behind the gas attacks, make sure your desk is positioned at least one room’s length away from theirs lest you too be drenched in stench.
3. Adult Brat
This one is often easy to identify since she is constantly spouting garbage adages like ‘I am super honest/blunt, so beware’ and ‘if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.’ What she really means in saying this is ‘I am a heinous bitch who will not apologize for my unfailing rudeness, since I genuinely don’t realize I’m in the wrong. Also, would you like to buy some Scentsy?’
It is best to avoid the Adult Brat since literally nothing you can say will ever have any impact on her. She is almost enviably non-self-aware and is particularly skilled at twisting herself into a position of victimhood in any given situation. If forced to interact with the Adult Brat, trash your self-respect and befriend her against your better judgment. She may be insane but she has likely spent countless hours ass-kissing your boss and you might as well ride that wave.
… But don’t buy any Scentsy.
4. The Chronic Spoiler
If you’re anything like my friend Els, you’re likely reduced to a furious puddle at even the tracest suggestion of anything resembling a spoiler. This is bad news if you work with a Chronic Spoiler. Luckily this type of jerk is super identifiable since he starts every lunchtime conversation off with a loud, ringing, ‘DID YOU GUYS SEE LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE OF-?’
Your only recourse with a Chronic Spoiler is distance. Either that, or you learn to live in a world where you know before you’re ready that Jon Snow has become an ice dragon or whatever.
4. The Oversharer
The Oversharer likely means well, but that doesn’t save you from having to hear all of her family drama, semi-racist musings, and cringeworthy weekend activities. You didn’t ask the oversharer about her complete medical history, but you’re going to get it anyway because you foolishly took the seat next to her. You don’t want to know the score to her teenager’s weekend soccer tournament, but you’re going to hear all about it and the ensuing tiff she had with the coach afterward because fuck you, that’s why.
A good way of handling the Oversharer is smiling blandly and nodding as she speaks while mentally escaping to your happy place – maybe an oasis of sorts, or maybe just the first job you had waiting tables where all of your coworkers were always a little bit stoned and everyone got along swimmingly. It’s not recommended to point out to the Oversharer that she is oversharing, since she’s likely friends with the Adult Brat and if they team up against you you’ll never have another moment’s peace at the office. On the bright side, you’ll never have to hear about Scentsy again.
5. Your Kids
Likely my biggest workplace nemeses, my kids are the real, perpetual thorn in my side when it comes to workplace jerks. Granted, I work at home, and my kids likely won’t be too much of an aggravation at your workplace, so you should count your lucky stars.
Never before have I had an officemate with the gall to come into my office, shit his pants, and then scream directly in my face until I clean it up for him. No other coworker would shamelessly sidle up into my lap and then paw at my boobs until I agreed to play a game of hop-scotch, or demand that I eschew my deadline in favor of making ants on a log.
No, my kids are the real workplace jerks of my job, and they will not be avoided. I would take a Stealth Tooter over them any day.