Are You a Jerk at Work? Or the Victim of One?

Photo credit

Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation in collaboration with Behind the Scenes Charity will host a free webinar about bullying, intimidation, and harassment in the workplace on March 20 and 28 and April 10.  We hope to see you there!

With everything going on in the world, perhaps now is the perfect time to learn how we react to good and bad situations. Are you a panicker or a problem-solver? Assertive or passive-aggressive? Are you hot-headed or cool-headed? Do you call out injustice when you see it? Or are you part of the problem?

While events happening thousands of miles and multiple timezones away might be out of our control, we can self-reflect on the things going on in our own lives. 

Like how we react to workplace bullying, intimidation, and harassment.

Again, do you call out injustice when you see it, even if it’s happening to you? Or are you part of the problem? 

Reflecting on Our ‘Work Selves’

Workplaces can be high-pressure environments at times, especially in the world of the film industry. Deadlines. Commitments. An irate boss — a nuisance co-worker. But different people deal with these pressures in different ways. Perhaps you’ve been short with a colleague because you were having a bad day. Or perhaps you’ve taken credit for someone else’s achievement. 

Or maybe, sometimes, you’re just a jerk. 

That’s OK. Stuff happens. You can become a better version of your work self. (We’ll explain how later.) 

Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of a jerk’s attentions. Maybe a colleague was short with you or took credit for something incredible you did. 

That’s OK, too. You can call out that behavior and become a better version of your work self.  

What Type of Person Are You?

We recently found an amazing article about spotting a jerk in the workplace. Much to our surprise, there are seven types of ‘jerk’ to look out for:

  1. The ‘kiss-up/kick-downer’ is someone determined to climb the career ladder, even if it means stepping on other peoples’ toes. This type of workplace jerk, unsurprisingly, reserves their good manners for co-workers with more authority than them.
  2. The ‘credit-stealer’ is someone who would easily betray someone’s trust if it benefits them. These work jerks take credit for other peoples’ achievements and pass off good ideas as their own. 
  3. ‘Bulldozers’ are jerks who intimidate everyone else because they make such a fuss. These jerks might come across as ‘leaders’, but they are often bullies who terrorize others to get what they want. 
  4. ‘Free riders’ are those who do little around the workplace but always seem to get credit from the boss. They might take on low-effort duties that make them look like they are working harder than they really are. 
  5. The ‘micromanager’ is a jerk type that constantly emails co-workers and gets caught up in the smallest details. They like to delegate duties and become involved in other peoples’ business. 
  6. The ‘neglectful boss’ is a manager who ignores or disregards their employees, then worries about their actions, and then tries to control others to ease their anxiety. Working with a neglectful boss can be tricky because you never know what mood they will be in. 
  7. Finally, ‘gaslighters’ are employees who deceive others on a massive scale. They typically isolate their co-workers.

Do any of these work jerks sound familiar? Perhaps you work with one, or two, or more of them. Or maybe you recognize yourself in one of these descriptions. Whatever type of person you are, you can change things.

How to Change Your Work Self 

If you have been targeted, terrorized, or even threatened by a work jerk, it’s never too late to speak up. Depending on the severity of the situation, you can speak with a co-worker you trust or go to HR. By raising your concerns, someone can improve your work situation. 

If you’ve bossed around, intimidated, or even snapped at someone at work for no real reason, it’s never too late to change. Workplaces teach us to all be competitive in one way or another, whether that’s meeting a deadline or getting a promotion. Often that competitive element can make us say or do things we might regret, like berating a co-worker when they screwed up. Competition can be good at times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be collaborative. And competition is never an excuse to steal someone’s ideas or make them feel uncomfortable. 

Final Word

Nobody’s perfect. People mess up. But reflecting on ourselves at work can help us do the right thing in the future. Whether you’re the jerk or been on the receiving end of one, take the appropriate steps to address bad situations. 

Don’t forget our free webinar about bullying, intimidation, and harassment in the workplace. We’d love to see you there!