Stories from my Past: The high cost of being a jerk

jerk comic

I worked at a company once that was ok, but had a coworker who was a complete jerk. He liked to make fun of everyone in a cruel way. I had spoken with him once and he was even more of a jerk, and so I then spoke with my supervisor who said “It isn’t my problem.”

'I'm afraid you're a jerk, Mr. Weatherby.'I was a consultant in that company and decided that if addressing the problem with them didn’t work, then my only choice was to leave the company. I told my consulting company that due to the work environment being hostile that I would no longer like to work there and I was going to move on. When the consulting company heard it they were very disappointed because they said that everyone liked me there, and they would have spoken with the person who was a problem. I explained how I went to my supervisor and what he said, so it was clear that the welfare of the workers was not a consideration.

Years later some of the people from that company connected with me on LinkedIn and were very warm and friendly. It is always that you will have jerks in a company, but when they and management don’t respond to a respectful and adult conversation then you might find yourself needing to move on. Why am I sharing this now? I had to deal with a vendor today who was a jerk in not supporting the program they sold, and it reminded me of him. I loved how the vendor who we paid for the program said to me “Boy you sure are causing us problems.” Giving him money and asking for a program to work is causing problems. If that was my money, I would look tomorrow for a new company to pay and get real support from. If your customers are your “problems” you have a backward view of customer support.

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People who have good self-esteem and are skilled are not going to stand for disrespect. There is no reason for it, and there are too many companies that will treat someone with respect. If you lose employees and they are your best, perhaps you need to address the jerks in your office.