No Jerks Allowed

Jerk Story – The Loud Talker

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Reader Submission by Matt

I used to share a cube wall with the loudest woman on the planet.  I’m not exaggerating.  In her role, she had to be on the phone most of the day and I don’t know if she was hard of hearing or what, but she practically shouted all day long.  You could hear her from clear across the office above everyone else.  And her laugh…she may as well have been using a bull horn.  It made it nearly impossible for me to talk on the phone with customers and so I frequently would have to take important calls from our conference room, just so people could hear me.

One day the boss moved this super impatient, sarcastic guy into the cube next to her and I had to chuckle to myself knowing this should make for some entertainment.  He lasted 2 whole days.  After ending a call where he himself was shouting to be heard over her cackling, he slammed down his phone, stood up in his cube and shouted at her to “shut her gaping pie hole so the rest of us could hear ourselves think.” Granted, this was pretty jerky behavior too, and it landed him squarely in HR’s office with a write up, but it got his point across and she was much quieter going forward.

Attention office jerks: Back off!

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Source: Pacific Standard
Attention office jerks: Back off!
By Max Ufberg
We’ve all known the type: that manic, frustrated genius, whose creativity seems contingent on an even greater ability for being an absolute ass. In the office, they are the ones thinking outside the box—and they’ll berate and belittle you for failing to understand their genius. We allow these individuals to be … well, jerks, because they are, after all, the workplace spark-plug. Capable of coming up with that next big idea, they can create the next great thing. We tolerate the jerkiness, because it’s accompanied by genius, which always benefits the workplace.Maybe it’s time we stopped.In a recently published study in the Journal of Business and Psychology, professors Samuel Hunter, of Pennsylvania State University, and Lily Cushenbery, of Stony Brook University, determined that these creative bullies can actually harm their companies—by hurting their co-workers’ feelings.

“It never made sense to me or Lily Cushenbery why being a jerk would be linked to actually coming up with original ideas,” Hunter says. “Instead, it made sense that being a bit pushy may help in getting your ideas heard and used by others.”

Being a jerk is good for pushing an idea, but not necessarily for creating a good one.To test their theory, Hunter and Cushenbery applied a process view of creativity, looking not just at idea generation but also at idea testing, evaluation, and the ability to convince peers of an idea’s usefulness. In their first experiment, 201 students, having first taken a personality quiz, were asked to develop their own unique marketing plan for an online university. Afterwards, they were placed into groups of three and told to do the same thing. This, Hunter explains, allowed them to see how each individual’s idea was utilized within a group setting.The results of this first test show that indeed the “jerk-ish” quality—indicated by lower levels of the agreeableness trait on the personality test—does result in idea utilization. The jerk quality is not, however, an indicator for innovative thinking. Being a jerk is good for pushing an idea, but not necessarily for creating a good one.

To determine whether this jerk quality was useful in all social contexts, Hunter and Cushenbery ran a second test—online—with 291 individual participants. Here, subjects were told to come up with a solution to a problem and propose it to two other members of a small chat room. The catch: Those two other chatters were actually actors following a script, either offering support for the participant’s idea, or being more confrontational. The results from this second test showed again that the jerk trait helps push through an idea in a more hostile environment, but proves to be harmful to creative thinking in milder settings.

So jerks aren’t necessarily all bad—if, that is, you’re in an office full of other bozos. In this case, Hunter says, “make sure there are ‘jerks’ on hand to push their ideas forward.”

5 Ways To Spot an Office Jerk

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Source:  brianrollo.com
5 Ways To Spot an Office Jerk
By Brian RolloThis story is about villains.Sure, there are plenty of good folks who want to get through their workday without having to deal with craziness and paranoia; individuals who try to be part of a functional team. However, this story is about the people who want the exact opposite. The ones who bring chaos and dysfunction to the workplace in an effort to destroy teamwork.

Those otherwise known as Office Jerks.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a remarkable feature about identifying the “Jerk at Work”. The article focuses on the importance of self-awareness and how a lack of it will consequently destroy teamwork.

The point is valid; I’ve worked with plenty of people who were unable to deliver on great intentions because they were unconsciously alienating themselves. A lack of self-awareness kept them from realizing the damage that they were doing to themselves and those around them.

But, office jerks are often fully aware of the trouble they cause. Some of them just like to wreak havoc. How can you spot them before they claim you as their next prey? Here are five things to look for:

1. A BullyOffice jerks never miss a chance to push someone else around. They wait for an opportunity to pounce and then criticize their victims both publicly and loudly. Heaven help the new hire who has to deal with this kind of office jerk. The new employee may soon be an ex-employee.
2. GossipThis office jerk thrives on whispers and hidden innuendos. They create a culture of mistrust and sideways glances. Want to hear a secret? Don’t tell these office jerks anything you don’t want the whole company to know. In fact, this type of person is probably also a…
3. Liar, LiarOffice jerks enjoy a casual relationship with the truth. They may be honest when it’s convenient, but they will start spinning tall tales as soon as they think it will benefit them (or harm someone else). Speaking of which…
4. Bus-ThrowersDon’t get too close to these office jerks. They will make sure that anyone other than themselves takes the blame for their frequent failures. Why? Because they are…
5. InsecureAt heart, office jerks worry that they aren’t good enough on their own merits. They try to lower the bar by dragging down the reputations of those who are unfortunate enough to cross their path.So what are the rest of us to do? It’s important to note that the office jerk can only exist in an environment where their behavior goes unchecked.

It takes solid management skills and a strong backbone to directly confront an office jerk. But ask yourself this question: Would you rather have the bad guy destroying your team or someone else’s?

Jerk Story – The Lunch Thief

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Reader Submission by Julie

I seriously cannot believe this actually happened in an office where everyone is, in theory at least, an adult. We’re a smaller group – 20 or so – so when food started going randomly missing shortly after a new hire, it wasn’t too difficult to identify the culprit. Of course, we waited until there was enough evidence before making an accusation but one day it would be someone’s homemade pasta salad, a few days later it was someone’s bag of chips leftover from a catered lunch, and then the next week it might be someone’s entire frozen meal. With our size and low turnover, we’re also a pretty tight knit group so if it was a matter of finances or anything else, we would have helped out. But theft is theft and definitely not a part of the culture we were trying to maintain.

This person’s poor manager had to sit them down and ask them outright if they had been taking things from the lunches of others without asking. Shockingly, they admitted to it, and really didn’t seem too apologetic about it. They claimed to think that the refrigerators were communal and everyone just shared food. (Seriously?!?) The manager was quick to reply that sharing implied having asked permission first, and having brought something to contribute. Things settled down after that, but it definitely left a mark on this person’s relationship with the rest of the office, and they ended up leaving the company a short time later. Probably for the best.

Polar Plunge to Support Special Olympics

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Connectria employees participated in a Polar Plunge to support the Special Olympics of Missouri. The snowy weather and 33 degree water didn’t seem to phase this bunch. Firefighters had to break the ice for the plungers to take the frigid dip. The fundraising event included about 1,000 people and raised nearly $135,000. The Special Olympics of Missouri will use the funds to provide year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Local news station KSDK covered the event. Watch the video clip and see if you can spot the No Jerks Allowed t-shirt!

polar-plunge1 polar-plunge-crop polar-plunge3

7 Ways To Deal With The Office Jerk

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Source:  Fast Company
7 Ways To Deal With The Office Jerk
By Harvey Deutschendorf

Regardless of how fortunate you are to be working with a great group of supportive, caring coworkers, there always seems to be at least one person that makes your work life less than ideal.

While this coworker can be condescending and belittling to the people beneath him, he pretends to be the ideal team player whenever his direct supervisor is around. The bully makes sure his superiors know, in great detail, everything he does, regardless of how trivial and meaningless. And not only does he take credit for whatever he does, but this jerk will gladly take credit for your work or the work of your colleagues, too.

Like venomous snakes, regardless of our good intentions, we will never be able to form close, trusting relationships with these kinds of people. Instead, we have to find a way to manage the situation, not the person. We cannot make someone do something; we can only manage ourselves.

Rather than suffer emotional anguish and at some point lose our emotional control with them, making ourselves look bad, we must use our emotional intelligence to recognize and understand our emotions and the emotions of others when dealing with these types of people.

To handle the office jerk, include the following strategies in your plan of action:

1. Remain polite but only give them the information that is absolutely necessary as determined by your superiors.

2. Screen all information that you give them. Never give out anything that can be used against you.

3. If you feel angry and want to lash out at the person, take a few deep breaths, count to 10, or remove yourself from the situation until you have had a chance to calm down and gather your thoughts.

4. In meetings and in front of your supervisors, praise other coworkers for good work they have done. You must be sincere about this. In doing this, you appear to be a good team player and supportive of your coworkers. This may irritate your nemesis. However, as much as this may bother them, complaining will only make them look small and a poor team player.

5. Cultivate good working relationships with other members on your team and your supervisors. You will need their support. Likely you aren’t the only one who feels this way about this person, and positive relations with others will distract you and balance out negative feelings you have towards the one coworker.

6. If your nemesis becomes angry and verbally lashes out, remain calm and in control of your emotions. Do whatever you have to, but do not get caught up in their emotions. You will end up looking good and your nemesis will look foolish.

7. Record any bullying or harassment from them as soon as possible after the incident happens. Let your supervisor know that you have done this.

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